My dear friends,
It is the dream of every Bhutanese to serve our beloved nation, a nation we all love dearly, a nation we are proud of. This enduring spirit and love for our nation unites all Bhutanese. Our benevolent monarchs, the life force of our nation, who have ensured that not a single citizen is left behind in the process of nation building, inspire this spirit.
We have been the beneficiaries of the magnanimity of our Monarchs and their selfless service ever since Bhutan became a Monarchy in 1907. And as if that was not enough, our Kings gifted us democracy, relinquishing their power to empower the people to self-determine and elect their own government.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was formed answering the sacred call of democracy and from the day PDP was formed, we took it upon ourselves to serve with honesty, humility and dedication. And in the 2013 parliamentary elections, the people of Bhutan entrusted the overwhelming mandate and responsibility to form the government to the PDP. It was the greatest honor for the PDP. And from the day we assumed office, we committed ourselves to building an honest democracy because it is the only way we can do justice to the noble aspirations of our Golden Throne who gifted us democracy and trusted the people of Bhutan to take it forward.
We have taken this responsibility as an opportunity to serve the Tsa Wa Sum. Never once have we taken this mandate for granted. Never once have we taken this responsibility lightly. The guidance of His Majesty The King and the love and support of our people instilled in us the confidence to work towards our collective goals.
And today, I can confidently say that we have further consolidated and strengthened our national security and sovereignty. We enjoyed peace, unity and harmony. The PDP government rolled out the biggest ever plan budget and facilitated the largest ever grant Bhutan ever received. We have revived our economy, which is now stable. We expanded road networks in the country. We electrified 99.9% of households across the country. We improved agriculture production enhancing our food self-sufficiency levels. And our concerted efforts have reduced poverty rate to single digit for the first time ever. Small enterprises and businesses got a new leash of life with introduction of special interest loans and access to cheaper capital.
In short, our nation prospered. We grew stronger as a nation in the past five years. Today, we are more optimistic and confident to face the future. But this is not the success of the PDP government alone. It is the collective success of every citizen. It is the success of our diligent civil servants. It is the success of our vibrant corporate sector employees. It is the success of our dynamic private sector. It is the success of our hardworking farmers who toil the land to make a living. It is the success of our clergy who dedicate their lives in prayers for the nation and the whole of humanity. It is the success of our dedicated armed forces, who stand guard at night so that we can have a sound sleep. It is a collective success of every Bhutanese citizen.
And I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every citizen of Bhutan for your enduring support and solidarity, for your hard work and for believing in us, and for correcting us whenever we went wrong. I earnestly believe that our people have demonstrated the finest qualities of Bhutanese citizenship and the true spirit of democracy.
In the past five years, my greatest honor has been to interact with you – my fellow citizens. I met teachers in our schools. I met our farmers in the fields. I met our zealous youth and students. I met our highlanders, living beyond the snowlines in harsh conditions. I met people in the plains living in the border areas. I interacted with our business community and people working in the private sector. It has been a privilege for me to meet Bhutanese people from all walks of life. I have shared with them His Majesty’s vision for our nation and I have listened to their stories, of struggle, hardships and accomplishments.
These interactions with the people of Bhutan have been priceless. In every group of people I have met, I have seen and experienced first hand the rich diversity of our culture, their abiding love for our nation, the unfailing qualities of tha dham tsi and ley gyuen drey and the proud spirit of being Bhutanese. All these interactions have made me a better person. I have learnt that we can only grow when ordinary people are involved to achieve a common good, a greater good.
PDP’s five-year term has come to an end. But our journey has only begun. It has to continue. And it must continue in the right direction, in the direction of the future we all want and aspire for.
Today, the foundations have been laid for our nation to soar towards the sky. The opportunities are boundless. And the sky is the limit. But we must also agree that there is still a long way to go. All of us must work harder to ensure that our children’s future is secured. We must all walk the extra mile to ensure that we leave behind a more secure and confident nation for our children. Towards that, all of us must single-mindedly work to ensure and sustain peace, unity, stability, and harmony in the country, for we rise together as a nation, and we fall together. We are in this together.
The 2018 elections are at the doorstep and I beseech every Bhutanese to actively participate in the democratic process. Our democracy will thrive and flourish only when all of us participate in electing the government. I beseech every one of you to Go Out and Vote, support the candidates and parties you believe will best serve our King, Country and People. Thus is a most sacred responsibility!
Kardinche & Tashi Delek!
The writer wrote this as the outgoing Prime Minister of Bhutan on 9 August, 2018. It was originally posted on the official facebook page of Dasho Tshering Tobgay.