Bahamas Prime Minister Ingraham talks about the growing relationship with China

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert A. Ingraham said the high level visit of His Excellency Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China to The Bahamas is “symbolic of the growing relationship” between the two countries.

“It is significant that Chairman Wu chose to visit our small country during a mission that has taken him to Cuba where he met with President (Raul) Castro, and will take him on to Washington D.C. where he will meet with US President (Barack) Obama,” Prime Minister Ingraham said at a dinner he hosted for Chairman Wu at Atlantis on Friday, September 4.

The Prime Minister said Bahamians are convinced there is much they can learn from China, one of the oldest cultures in the world and now a leading world power.

“We are fortified in our conviction that we made the right choice when, 12 years ago, we committed to a One China policy,” Prime Minister Ingraham added. “Our national interests are well served by our relationship with the People’s Republic of China.”

He said The Bahamas is very pleased with the support it received from China in international affairs.

Prime Minister Ingraham noted that The Bahamas recently had to call on the People’s Republic of China, who acceded to requests to escort Bahamian registered ships safely through pirate infested international waterways.

“And we are similarly appreciative for the stand which China and others took at the recent meetings of the G-20 on the question of the future of international financial centres,” he said.

The Prime Minister recalled that in February, 2009, the two countries concluded several agreements setting the stage for the further development of their relationship.

“The fruits of these efforts are already evident in increased functional cooperation between our two countries.

“Today, Your Excellency participated in the conclusion of bilateral agreements between our two governments, one dealing with a 20-year concessionary loan of 400 million RMB for the construction of the new four (4) lane highway leading from the Lynden Pindling International Airport to the College of The Bahamas, and another, a 50 million RMB Grant in respect of the Stadium,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Ingraham said he is satisfied with the progress being made on the National Stadium, and that Chairman Wu would participate in the laying of the cornerstone for the new stadium, a gift to the people of The Bahamas from the people of China.

His Excellency Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of The People’s Republic of China sits with Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham at the head table during the Official Dinner hosted by the Prime Minister in honour of Chairman Wu at Atlantis on Friday, September 4. Sitting in the middle is Interpreter, He Rulong.
(BIS photo/Peter Ramsay)

He said The Bahamas is anticipating the intended investment by the Export-Import Bank of China in the development of the Baha Mar property on Cable Beach.

“You, together with representatives of my Government, today witnessed the signing of an agreement between the Export-Import Bank of China and the principals of Baha Mar in connection with that company’s planned redevelopment and expansion of its Cable Beach Resort properties – a critical and necessary development for The Bahamas,” Prime Minister Ingraham said.

He added: “In The Bahamas, tourism matters. It is the essential part of our economy and the extent to which the Cable Beach strip can be redeveloped and enhanced will be of great benefit to the people of The Bahamas.”

The Prime Minister reiterated how pleased Bahamians have been by the decision of the Chinese private sector to invest in The Bahamas, particularly in Grand Bahama.

Chairman Wu said he believes the outcome of his visit could be summarised in three points: the deepening of mutual political trust; the promotion of economic cooperation and trade on a practical level; and the enhancement of the inter-Parliamentary Exchanges between the two countries.

“We sincerely hope that the Bahamian people will always be able to achieve new and even more loftier achievements in the future,” he said.

Chairman Wu explained that he had “cordial and friendly discussions” with the Governor General His Excellency Arthur D. Hanna, Prime Minister Ingraham, Senate President the Hon. Lynn Holowesko and Speaker of the House of Assembly the Hon. Alvin Smith.

He said the delegation from the People’s Republic of China has realised the anticipated goal of its visit despite the brief stay and hectic programme.

The dinner guests were treated to a Bahamian cultural show, music by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Pop Band and a Junkanoo rush-out.

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