Providenciales, 08 Oct 2014 – Culture is the soul of a nation; the finest expression of humanity and a record of a people’s evolution and advancement. From Salt Ponds, to the Conch Farm; from “going-in-the-field” to billion dollars luxury resorts; from the peaceful donkeys in Grand Turk to the Private Jets in Providenciales; from potato bread to Lobster in reduction sauce; Pepper Joy to Bambara Rum, as a people our cultural story demonstrates a culture in evolution and advancement and that my fellow countrymen is our Heritage.
This is what has and will distinguish us from every other nation in the world. It is our unique marker, our signature across history and it is what follows us into the world even as it brings the world to us. And so, I call on you, as your Queen, with pride and affection for all that we are throughout our National Heritage Month, on October 13th; National Heritage Day and beyond, to embrace it.
Let me tell you why our heritage means so much to me, and why in this wide, vast world, as we let our imaginations soar across our borders; we must keep our minds rooted firmly in our own historical truth:
There are many ways to enter what is beautiful about us, what is humane and what gives us grace, but for me it is the music. We seem to breathe and live by a certain rhythm and melody. I feel it when I do not hear it. But as soon as I hear that Rake n’ Scrape, I feel like a bundle of smiles, and I see the humour, the practicality, the simplicity and the sense of dignity that is in our national character. You see, Rake n’ Scrape to me means a people who have little, but are content to make beauty even with the little they possess. There is something magical, warm and honourable about that.
That is our heritage.
Who can fail to see and feel something special about our people? We are all Sister and Brother. At every turn we are Cousin… “cuz” so and so. Speaking to us about family is like speaking about the elements of chemistry: we say: “She is my grandmother’s aunt’s husband’s second daughter, but she is my third cousin”. We are “Titter” this and “Babba” that. It is charming and funny, but underneath it reflects and confirms a tradition of respect amongst us, amongst generations of brothers and sisters that is dying in other places around the world. And yet, when the world comes to our shores, we welcome then into this culture of family.
This too is our heritage.
I love the land, our land – Beautiful by Nature, (Bountiful by Skill), as God intended and the angels obliged. And while I love the fresh mornings, or the Sweet Salinas at Salt Cay, the old world charm and gentility of Grand Turk, and as I am seduced by ambition by Provo’s luxurious race into the future, and made tender by North Caicos’ tending of the soil or Middle Caicos’ calm, where time seems still, and of course, the historical “swag’ of the “Big South”, it is the Flamingoes for me: They seem ancient and delicate. I love the fact that their colour comes from the interaction between what they eat and what the sea provides… because the sea is how we survived.
This is also our blessed heritage.
In some countries they have monuments and we have our little share. But ours is a remembered culture and a heritage to be acknowledged, remembered and celebrated. I am your honoured Queen and unlike other Queens, I am empowered by you only to issue decrees of love. Let us love what we are through what we have been as the path to what we must become. Let us live with the grace of our national story… and let us gain from and give to our heritage all that gives love, and so gives life to life.
Miss Universe Turks and Caicos 2014