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The Future Of Bahamas UAE Relations

Prime Minister Philip Davis sits down with our Jerome Sawyer as he wraps up an official visit to the United Arab Emirates.

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Prime Minister Philip Davis is headed back home tonight from an official visit to the United Arab Emirates.

 



His three-day trip included official visits with heads of state, participation in Bahamas National Day at the World Expo, and the hope of some investments and economic opportunities from the Arab state.

It’s been an opposition talking point for the past few days, and to some extent into the public domain – the question of the cost and size of this delegation to Dubai.

Prime Minister Philip Davis was candid when asked. The government confirmed a million dollar price tag.

The organizing group raised another $500,000 through corporate sponsorship with a donation of a rent-free building from the UAE government which houses the pavilion.
Yet, a quick glance at some of the other exhibits at this year’s world expo, and The Bahamas does not begin to compare in size and extravagance to the other nations.

At the height of Bahamas National Day celebrations a memorandum of understanding was signed with the UAE for technical assistance training.. With some specific provisions for women.

The government is also hoping to sign a similar agreement with Emirates Airlines for possible air service to the region.

Yet, after years of a visa waiver between the two countries, there is no diplomatic presence. Bahamas Ambassador to the UAE Tony Joudi raised this question in a one on one interview. We raised it with the prime minister.

His response: “We are minded to do so…We’ll continue to see how we could forward a more meaningful relationship for The Bahamas and that would include the establishment of a permanent mission in this region.”

And while the prime minister and the majority of the delegation heads back home, World Expo 2020 continues here in Dubai for the next few months. As do operations at the Bahamas pavilion.

The focus given to this trip – whether for its cultural displays, size of the delegation or the potential for investment and training – has put a tremendous spotlight on this part of the world for us. How the government handles that will be the long-term benchmark of whether this was truly a success for The Bahamas.

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