On September 16th 2021, PHILIP EDWARD DAVIS lead the Progressive Liberal Party of The Bahamas to landslide election victory, overturning a 35-4 seat majority held by the former governing party, to win an historic 32 seats out of 39 in The Bahamian House Of Assembly.
Having secured his victory under the theme of ‘A New Day’ for The Bahamas, at his swearing-in speech on September 18th 2021, Prime Minister Davis said: “Deep in my heart I know that with God, ‘all things are possible’. If we work together, towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are indeed possible for our country and our people. But no government can do great things on its own. I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people. We are going to listen. We are going to consult widely. And we are going to bring people together. That is the best way to make progress as a nation.”
He currently serves as the Fifth Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The eldest of eight children whose mother was a domestic worker, and father a fireman, it is from his father that Davis inherited the nickname ‘Brave’, by which he is widely known throughout The Bahamas and around the world. Davis spent his early childhood living with his grandparents on Cat Island, (famous also as the birthplace of Sir Sidney Poitier) where he attended The Old Bight All Age School. He moved to New Providence to attend high school at the Eastern Junior & Senior Schools, and St. John’s College.
Having grown up in a poor family, from the age of 7yrs-old Davis worked on a number of odd jobs in order to make ends meet. After graduating high school, he became a construction worker until he landed a job at Barclays Bank. This was remarkable in the 1960s, as professional jobs in The Bahamas were still reserved for members of the ruling white mercantile class. Because of this, it quickly became clear that Davis’ career opportunities in banking would be extremely limited. He followed the advice of one of his supervisors who encouraged him to pursue a career in the law. An initial opportunity to become an articled clerk fell through, but later that year, Davis became a clerk at Wallace-Whitfield & Barnwell, and went on to complete his legal studies in 3 years. Philip ‘Brave’ Davis was called to the Bahamas Bar in 1975.
A leading litigation lawyer, especially in the field of corporate law, Davis has an impressive record in the Courts of Appeal, with more appearances before the UK Privy Council than any other Bahamian lawyer. A former Member of the Council of Legal Education for CARICOM, Davis has made an unprecedented contribution to legal education in the Caribbean. As well as serving as a magistrate, Davis has trained a significant number of lawyers currently serving at the Bahamas Bar. He was a key member of the ‘Barnett Commission’, which developed far-reaching proposals for restructuring legal education in the region. Because of their findings, the Eugene Dupuch Law School in The Bahamas was launched as the landmark teaching institution it has become today. In the human rights arena, Davis has partnered with many leading lawyers around the Commonwealth in challenging capital punishment, and vigorously defending litigants against miscarriages of justice, many times on a pro bono basis.
He was also the guiding force behind the only legal journal ever published in The Bahamas. Mr. Davis twice served as Vice-President of the Bar Council before becoming President of the Bahamas Bar Association in 1995. Since 2002, he has been Managing Partner of the law firm which bears his name: Davis & Co. In 2015, Philip ‘Brave’ Davis was appointed as Queen’s Counsel, the highest possible honour which can be conferred on those practicing law in the English legal system anywhere in the world. This accolade came in recognition of his highly successful legal practice, along with his contribution to legal education.
Philip ‘Brave’ Davis became involved in politics at a young age, volunteering as a campaign helper on behalf of the Progressive Liberal Party in the 1967 general election. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador in a 1992 by-election. Although he lost his seat in 1997, he regained it in 2002 and has held onto it since, a record which now confers on him the acclaimed title of ‘Father Of The House’. During his first term in parliament, Mr. Davis chaired the National Insurance Board for a number of years, which is why he is able to speak so authoritatively on the economic affairs of the country.
During his tenure, he introduced a number of fundamental reforms, which put the National Insurance Board in the position it is today. His reforms made it possible for thousands of Bahamians to receive financial support during the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2009, Davis was elected Deputy Leader of The Progressive Liberal Party. After the party’s resounding win at the 2012 general election, he was appointed The Bahamas’ Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Public Works and Urban Development.
The Ministry of Works has been dubbed a ‘super-ministry, in that his portfolio covered everything relating to the physical infrastructure of The Bahamas, as well as oversight of Bahamasair, the national airline, The Bahamas Electricity Corporation, and The Bahamas Water & Sewerage Corporation. It is in part because of his stellar performance as a Minister that Davis’ reputation soared as the man who could get things done! Davis held posts these up until 2017, when the PLP was defeated in the polls. Soon after he was elected Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party.
Davis is an extremely keen sportsman. He is especially interested in baseball, softball, swimming and athletics. He served as Vice-President of the Bahamas Swim Federation from 1986 to 1990, and was President of the ‘Sea Bees Swim Club’ from 1980 to 1990. In 1970 Mr. Davis became a Member of ‘Toastmasters Club 1600’, a non-profit organisation established to develop leadership skills through listening, thinking and speaking. He served as its President in 1979, and as Division Governor of Toastmasters for The Bahamas in 1989.
Davis is married to Ann-Marie Davis. His six children have inherited their father’s passion for sports, hard work and patriotism, one of them even having represented The Bahamas at the CARIFTA Games.