Former president of the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce Dr. Doswell C Coakley was presented with Instruments of Appointment as the country’s newest Senator during ceremonies at Government House on Monday (January 29, 2007).

Dr. Coakley, who will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of lawyer Damien Gomez, is the Progressive Liberal Party’s candidate for the High Rock (Grand Bahama) constituency.

Members of parliament, Senators, senior government officials, family members and a contingent from Grand Bahama filled the Government House ballroom to support him.

Dr. Coakley, a Justice of the Peace, comes with a wealth of experience in the public and private sectors. From a police officer, he attained the post of Director of Immigration in 1994.

As a diplomat, he “served with distinction” as the Bahamas’ Council General in New York, noted Prime Minister Christie in introducing him. Currently, he is the deputy chairman of the National Insurance Board.

A well-known member of the Rotary Club of Lucaya, Dr. Coakley has been made a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International; was awarded the Silver Jubilee Medallion; and was recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce.

“Having regard to the depth and diversity of Dr. Coakley’s public and private sector involvement,” said Prime Minister Christie, “his proven track record of loyal and patriotic service to our country, his outstanding academic achievement, and his determination to contribute further to the development of our nation on the political front lines, it should come as no surprise that I have decided to place him in the Senate.

“I am confident that his experience there will help prepare him for what I am convinced will be a long and outstanding career ahead of him in the House of Assembly, should the good people of High Rock favour him with their patronage.

“He is an extremely capable and committed individual who has done much to contribute to our ongoing efforts to transform the Bahamas into a land of economic prosperity and social justice for all.”

Dr. Coakley reflected on his journey from the rugged terrain of Crooked Island in the south to Grand Bahama in the north, with stops in major international cities and universities along the way.

“I stand as living proof that if one is willing to work hard and stay focus, anything is possible,” he said.

In sending out a plea for the people of Grand Bahama, Dr. Coakley called for “direct government intervention.”

“The people on that island need all the help they can get,” he said. “They are drowning under the social and economic pressures of an uncaring environment.

“The cost of electricity, food and licenses are out of control thereby making Bahamian entrepreneurs a dying breed.

“There is a significant lack of tourists and other opportunities, especially when compared with Nassau.

“Grand Bahama needs direct government intervention if we are to take the island towards its full potential.”

Grand Bahamians welcomed his appointment, he said, “if for no reason other than that they feel the need for on-the-ground proactive political leadership.

“Grand Bahama now has a full complement of political representation at all levels and they expect results.”