Remarks by the Hon. Darren a. Henfield, MP, at
the Celebration of the 2018 Spring Festival of the People’s Republic of China
British Colonial Hilton Hotel, Nassau, The Bahamas, 8th February, 2018
Excellency Dame Marguerite Pindling, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas,
Hon. Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance,
Excellency HUANG Qinguo, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, and Madam ZHENG Chuncao,
Honourable Cabinet Ministers,
Honourable Members of the Judiciary,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Senior Public Service Officials,
Members and Friends of the Chinese Community of The Bahamas,
Special Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Excellency, I am honoured to be here with the Prime Minister and Cabinet Colleagues this evening to celebrate such a meaningful occasion.
The Spring Festival is a very important celebration on the Chinese calendar and is traditionally marked by happy gatherings, close family interactions, vibrant parades and colourful celebrations among Chinese communities all over the world. Here in The Bahamas, it is no different.
Today, we gather to celebrate the beginning of the Chinese New Year. 2018 is the year of the (Brown Earth) Dog, which denotes “loyalty and friendship”. I wish you, Ambassador, and the entire Chinese Community in The Bahamas a wonderful evening and all the best for this coming Chinese New Year.
Last year, The Bahamas and China commemorated a significant milestone, as both countries celebrated the Twentieth (20th) Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations. Since 1997, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has made invaluable contributions to the development of The Bahamas. We have continued to enjoy a harmonious friendship deepened by co-operation in areas such as tourism, healthcare, financial services, trade, agriculture and education.
The Government and people of The Bahamas appreciate and welcome China’s continued support with respect to mutually supported candidacies, cultural exchanges, cross-training, visa-free travel, and business investments. We also look forward to the finalisation of the Civil Air Services Agreement, which will further help to stimulate economic growth.
Excellency, The appointment of His Excellency Sterling Quant as The Bahamas Ambassador to China in December past reaffirmed our commitment to the cordial relations between The Bahamas and China. Just this past Monday, The Bahamas Embassy in Beijing hosted a “Sino-Bahamas Financial Co-operation Seminar”, where some twenty-three (23) senior banking officials were in attendance. Exchanges of this nature help to deepen and solidify our mutually beneficial relationship.
Let me also take this opportunity to thank Counsellor WANG Qingjun, in his absence, for his contributions, and to welcome the new Counsellor, Mr YIN Haigang. We in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs look forward to your continued support and day-to-day efforts in guiding the work between the Embassy and the Ministry.
Excellency, Each year, scores of Bahamians benefit from educational and technical opportunities offered by your Government. These scholarship opportunities expose our citizens to your unique culture and equip them with the necessary skills to contribute positively to the national development of The Bahamas upon their return. I thank you for such opportunities which continue to bring our two countries closer.
Finally, I wish to reiterate the commitment of the Government of The Bahamas, in evidence with the presence of Prime Minister Minnis here this evening, to strengthening and promoting Sino-Bahamian relations through on-going direct dialogue between our Nations and our peoples.
I invite all of you to join me in a toast to our friends from China.
As we raise our glasses in a toast, please allow me, Excellency, on behalf of the Government and people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to wish you and your wife, the staff of your Embassy, the Chinese Community in The Bahamas, and the Government and people of the People’s Republic of China the best wishes for Happiness and Prosperity for the New Year.