Peverel ward councillor Carson Albury took the chain of office at the Adur Civic Centre, taking over from outgoing chairman Fred Lewis.
Mr Albury, originally from the Caribbean country, said it ‘made my day’ to have His Excellency Eldred Bethel in attendance to see him sworn in.
Paying tribute to Mr Lewis’s year, he said: “In my opinion, Fred has been an excellent chairman. He has represented admirably.
“I for one am so grateful for the year and the experiences it has given me. Fred, you can relax now and put your feet up but I am going to miss you.”
Mr Albury attended many events last year as vice chairman, as Mr Lewis’s wife was unable to accompany him.
The duo built up a close friendship, with Mr Albury amazed at the outgoing chairman’s ability to think up speeches off the cuff.
He said: “The first event we went to was at Sir Robert Woodard Academy. On the way I asked Fred, ‘what is your speech’?
“Fred said ‘what speech’? That was the way the year started and it carried on for the rest of the year. But having said that, Fred was excellent at making things up on the spot and he makes it look easy.”
Mr Lewis was presented with a special badge to commemorate his term of office.
He said he had enjoyed his year and was looking forward to getting back to the committees.
His fellow Widewater councillor, Ann Bridges, will join Mr Albury this year as vice chairman.
Mr Albury can trace his family back to the mid-1600s when they left England for the Bahamas.
He has significant experience in banking and worked for numerous high-profile financial brands.
When the Bahamas became independent from Britain in 1973, he was a reservist in the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
His wife, Carol, who he met in 1975, is also a district councillor.
Mr Albury highlighted how Worthing’s mayor this year was Canadian born, giving both councils a colonial feel.
His charities will be Electric Storm Youth and Friends of Sussex Hospices.
He said: “I intend to promote Adur and all the things Adur has to offer to the best of my ability.”
Youth charity Electric Storm Youth were presented with a cheque for £800 from Mr Lewis at the meeting of full council on Thursday.