Categorized | National News

Johnson Takes Oath of Office

Newly minted Governor General CA Smith administered the oath of office to the new Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration Elsworth Johnson.

Mr. Johnson was elevated to the position following the resignation of former Cabinet minister Brent Symonette.

Following his brief swearing in at Government House, Mr. Johnson thanked God, asking for his wisdom, knowledge and understanding to serve the best way he can.

He also thanked Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis for putting confidence in him.

Fresh in his new position, Mr. Johnson said at this stage, he is partnering with all the bodies he’s now working with.

“For financial services, I took the opportunity to have a brief conversation with some of the industry partners,” Mr. Johnson said. 

“We are at the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution and the intention is to partner with the industry partners to build an industry that’s comparable to the world.

“In terms of immigration, we’re dealing with human life, persons immigrating to and from The Bahamas. 

“The purpose is to continue the work that was started by Mr. Symonette to fully digitize the Immigration Department. 

“I would like to commend those officers who have been working tirelessly to protect the boarders of The Bahamas, but it goes further than that. 

“We have to properly organize the Department of Immigration so that we can provide reasonable, fair service to the persons who find themselves coming to that institution.”      

The U.S. Human Rights and trafficking in persons reports recently highlighted concerns about allegations of corruption at the Department of Immigration.

When asked how he intends to tackle this, Mr. Johnson told reporters, “The Immigration Department is going to work under the spirit of the rule of law and equality before the law to ensure that everybody is treated fairly. 

“Treating people fairly means that we have to continue to create a system that responds in a timely manner and to continue to create a system that is fair and just for all.  

“So if we start to speak about fairness, justice for the law and the rule of law, then there is no place for corruption.” 

In a statement from St. Lucia, Prime Minister Minnis expressed confidence in Mr. Johnson.

“I am confident that Mr. Johnson will work diligently to help to secure and promote our financial services sector,” Dr. Minnis said.

“He will also be responsible for helping to promote trade and industry as the government continues to secure greater Bahamian and international investments in our economy, including throughout the Family Islands.” 

Acting Prime Minister Peter Turnquest also expressed confidence in Mr. Johnson.

“With respect to the portfolio that Minister Johnson has assumed, this is the very significant portfolio in the government in that it represents 15 percent of our direct GDP as well as a significantly greater percentage of our overall economic contribution,” the Acting Prime Minster said.  

“So, the responsibility that’s placed upon him is certainly significant, but we have no doubt that he is prepared to take on that challenge and to rise to the demands of the job.”   

Written by Jones Bahamas

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