Ladies and Gentlemen, Party Officials, Friends, Family Members, Good Evening. Let me begin by saying thank you to all of you who are present here tonight. Many of you have been here from the very beginning, others joined the journey along the way…And what a journey it has been.
They say Invention and Innovation are born out of necessity. Once a question is asked or problem presents itself, the mind begins to ponder a solution. When the DNA was formed, our beloved Bahamaland was at a crossroads. Economic conditions were beginning to worsen, we were losing more and more of our young people to violence on our streets and the government of the day seemed intent on ignoring the will of the people. Against this backdrop the idea of the Democratic National Alliance was born. For those of us who helped found this wonderful party, the DNA was, and I believe STILL IS part of the solution to creating a better life for generations of unborn Bahamians.
The Democratic National Alliance was founded on the principles of social justice, equality, accountability and the democratic Rule of Law. The men and women who have sat around the table since the very start, have displayed a commitment to helping Bahamians play a more active role in the political, cultural, and economic development of our country. Over the last two election cycles, the DNA has continued to attract like-minded individuals who have brought with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise which are at the heart of any good governance structure.
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the other guys try to discount the DNA. In 2011, “they” said it was impossible for a new political organization to gain any traction but we proved them wrong. Following our loss at the polls “they” said we would fold up, they expected us to be relegated to the annals of history, a footnote in our country’s political story; but we proved them wrong. In fact, never, in the history of our great country has a third party made such a long-lasting impact on the political landscape. Though formed less than a year out from the 2012 general elections, the DNA ran a full slate of candidates made up of dynamic, talented and brave men and women who were able to garner 8 percent of the votes. Though we were defeated at the polls, we made political history in the Bahamas. After the 2012 elections, we remained in the trenches, committed as ever to the tenets upon which the DNA was founded. During the 2017 election cycle, we worked to keep the government accountable, offering criticisms where necessary and encouragement when required. I am perhaps most proud of the work that we did in terms of pushing the DNA’s policy positions. From our White paper on revamping the public service, to our Clean Power Project to the Right to Information Act, all of which were released ahead of the May 10th vote; the DNA has worked to present the kind of ideas which will ultimately bring our country into the 21st century.
Ladies, and Gentlemen, we have come a long way. The road has not been easy and we didn’t always get it right. There were some missteps, some bigger than others, but as I step down from the role of leader, I can say without question that the lessons, which I have learned as part of this process, will serve me well into the future. The DNA has taught me that change, real change, can only happen when regular people like you, and me, get involved, roll up our sleeves and put our shoulders to the wheel. I have learned that together, despite our differences we can work to build the kind of Bahamas we want to leave for our children.
Perhaps the most important lesson this journey has taught me however, has been humility. While some people may have a hard time believing that, I can safely say that NOTHING is more humbling than being told NO…not once, but twice. Some have suggested that I am abandoning the party, that I am throwing a tantrum, but NOTHING could be further from the truth. To be clear, I am taking a back seat. I remain willing and ready to help the party wherever and whenever I can. My stepping aside as leader is not about giving up or throwing in the towel, instead, it is about clearing a path for others so that other bright minds within our ranks have an opportunity to shine and so that our organization can move forward with new and fresh ideas.
The late Dr. Myles Munroe spoke often about knowing when to pass the baton. In one of his most popular sermons he said and I quote: “your assignment has a shelf life, you should know when to transfer”. For me that moment is now. As I step down from the leadership role, I do so with the knowledge that the DNA is in good hands. I do so, knowing that none of the successes we have achieved as a party would have even been possible without the hard work and dedication of hundreds of people like all of you. Your support, your criticisms, your encouragement kept me motivated and kept me focused. You helped make me a better leader, and a better man and for that I am eternally grateful.
I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to each, and every candidate who has ever run on the DNA’s ticket. Thank you for believing in the vision of this party, and thank you for lending your talents to the growth of this organization and by extension our beautiful country.
To the men and women who made up the various constituency branches and various party alliances, thank you for trusting my leadership and working tirelessly to keep the DNA machinery running.
To our Chairman, Mr. Andrew Wilson, our CEO, thank you for your calm guidance, wisdom and encouragement. You coined, pardon the pun, the statement that the PLP and the FNM are two sides of the same coin. No truer words have been spoken.
To the Mother of the Party, Marsha Thompson, our Deputy Chairperson, thank you for your strength and prayers. The journey continues.
To Vivia, the SG, Secretary General, thank you for running this party and for being my biggest critic. No doubt we would not be where we are if it were not for your contribution, hard work and dedication and, of course, rowing!
To my right hand, Jermaine, Mr. Sergeant at Arms, you got it done! You made it happen! You guided and protected. Thank you buddy!
To my deputy, and the new INTERIM LEADER of the DNA, Mr. Christopher Mortimer, thank you for being my running mate on this crazy journey. You have been instrumental in helping to lead and guide this party. Your commitment is unwavering! You have been an amazing friend during this process and I wish you nothing but success as you take the helm.
To my family, my beautiful wife Lisa, my wonderful children, my sister and brother-in-Law, my parents and to my brother Kurt, who was one of the founders of this party and who passed away 4 years ago tonight, I am who I am because of all of you and I thank you. I thank you for believing in me when others lost faith. I thank you for forgiving my mistakes, for defending me and for loving me in spite of my shortcomings. You have all made this journey more rewarding than I could have hoped.
DNA’s today I pass the baton but I will continue to fuel the Lighthouse as we chart a course toward a better life for all of us! The journey continues!
May God Bless each and every one of you.
May God Bless the DNA
May God Bless the Commonwealth of the Bahamas!