Providenciales, 05 Feb 2015 – In an unparalleled ceremony which has the entire nation buzzing, the former speaker of the House of Assembly for the Turks and Caicos from 1991-1993 will be laid to rest following a State Funeral set to begin promptly at 10am this morning at the Down Town Ball Park.
It has been a long journey home for Dr. Rosie, who died on January 10th, 2015 at Doctor’s Hospital in The Bahamas due to complications from a series of heart attacks. Close friends told us she was singing Gospel songs just days before; that Dr. Rosita who had been hospitalized for quite some time was, as they put it, ‘ready’. Today we will see just how ready family and friends are to say goodbye to the Matriarch of the Butterfield Clan.
A regal send off from The Bahamas, a Parliamentary sized welcomed in Grand Turk, three days of lying in state between the Capital and Providenciales, a memorial service last night and today an historic happening; the country’s first modern day State Funeral where it appears no holds have been barred.
When Magnetic Media visited the site late yesterday, we learned there is seating capacity for likely 5,000 people; around half of them will be under tents or on the actual field, the remainder will take the stands. There are areas designated as special for the Nurses Association; Dr. Rosita was a career nurse delivering some 103 babies and earning scores of awards over the years for her prowess in the medical field. There is a special section for high ranking Civil Servants and for Civic Organizations and Invited Guests.
Dr. Rosita’s grandson, CEO of Royelle Communications, Courtney Robinson gave us a site tour and explained there are tents for media interviews, early arriving guests including the elderly and very comfortable seating for the family which will fill the tent, set up at the heart of the service.
Current and Former Members of Parliament have designated spots and seating will be managed by a team of ushers and protocol officers. The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force will escort the body of Hon. Dr. Rosita Butterfield from Faith Tabernacle Center this morning; taking it to the Ball Park for the State Funeral. Yesterday, we caught them in practice where we learned as many as 70 members of the Force are likely to participate in the procession to and fro.
Today, all Public Sector workers have the day off; this means among other things, government schools are closed.
Officiating the Service will be Rev. Emanuel Rigby, Rev. Julia Williams and Bishop VG Clarke. Organist is Craig Archibold; with singing and music by the reunited Turks and Caicos Mass Choir and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Band; and Corey’s Funeral Chapel is directing the State Funeral.
The Governor, HE Peter Beckingham and Leader of the Opposition, Sharlene Robinson will both read scripture. The Obituary of the late Dr. Rosita Butterfield, a founding member of the now governing Progressive National Party will be read by current party leader and Premier, Hon Dr Rufus Ewing. A Reflection on the Life and Times of the CEO of Butterfield Gold Group of Companies will come from Speaker of the House, Hon Robert Hall with the Eulogy by Bishop VG Clarke and Prayer for the Family by Father Bernard Been.
The interment Service will take place at the grounds of Faith Tabernacle, where a brand new Butterfield Mausoleum is expected to be completed. The work on the mausoleum was commissioned by Dr. Rosie’s husband: Hon. Dr. Albray Butterfield Sr. about ten days ago.
At the site there will be the National Anthem, Fanfare of Trumpets, Gun Salute and Flag Ceremony. Rev. Emanuel Rigby will commit her body with the final hymn being: “I will meet you in the Morning”.
Hon. Dr. Rosita Butterfield leaves behind her husband, four children, 16 grandchildren, three great grandchildren, a sister and brother and scores of nieces and nephews, close friends and loved ones. She is a pioneer in Parliament as the first woman elected to serve for her home settlement of Kew in North Caicos.
Dr. Rosie, as she is affectionately called has sworn in Governors, welcomed royalty with an address to HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; hosted country leaders including the late Sir Lynden Pindling of The Bahamas and was in 1992 bestowed the honor of Member of the British Empire, MBE, by Queen Elizabeth II.
This lady has preached God’s word, taught school curricula, chaired board meetings, paid off debt, supplied scholarships and added to the infrastructure of communities. As with any life, she has fostered true friendships and made some people quite mad with her decisions over time.
With her passing, a lot of wide ranging emotions and feelings and opinions have emerged; and MM has found an overarching view of Rosie Beatrice Missick Butterfield from Kew, North Caicos is that she was and is a nation builder, worthy of a grand farewell.… perhaps, even the status of a National Hero.
Dr. Rosita Beatrice Missick Butterfield, MBE was 78 years old when she died.
Open Letter to Governor Dakin
Dear H.E. Governor Dakin,
The time has come for us as a nation to stand as a unified front on matters regarding our beautiful country, the Turks & Caicos Islands. Our country, as it stands, is in a state of turmoil and I am afraid that if we do not act now, all will be lost. As such, I write on behalf of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, who are feeling neglected by this Government, the Commissioner of Police, and, regrettably, yourself.
Your Excellency, while crime prevention is a shared responsibility, it is expected that the relevant authorities and persons placed in key positions for crime prevention would have the strongest impact. However, I am sure that you are aware that the citizens have lost complete faith in our police force and continue to live in fear in what is supposed to be a peaceful and safe Turks and Caicos Islands. This only causes one to wonder, what can and should be done to regain control?
The People’s Democratic Movement has, on a number of occasions, stated our position on this crime matter, even offering a number of solutions to combat crime, for instance, the parties’ 12 point crime plan approach. The sad reality is that crime will always exist in any country, but as leaders we must ensure that the right deterrents are in place to reduce the risk.
I am no expert in the field of combating crime, but I do know that by taking the basic preventative measures, such as those that have been mentioned by my party and many citizens alike, we will see a swift reduction in crime.
Nevertheless, I call on you, Your Excellency, to stand on your role in national Security, as we all have come to the realization that the current approach isn’t working. Your Excellency, we are nearing a state of emergency. As you are responsible for national security of which crime is included, we need you to make those bold decisions, even if this means requesting the assistance of the military. I hereby also offer these measures that should be implemented in the interim:
- Construct new Police stations in each community on the island of Providenciales, with a minimum of two patrol units stationed within those communities, with daily patrols and adequate staff.
Investment of 30-50 new patrol units.
Investment of a mobile police station that can be visible in other areas at various times throughout each day. We need more police officers on the streets, who can be accessible by our citizens.
Your Excellency, I say again, the current approach is failing. We need experts who will come to work and not use the opportunity to vacation. Let’s also invest in hiring some of the best experts who can assist with solving these crimes and bringing closure to the families who have lost love ones. The fact of the matter remains – there are too many unsolved cases in this country! The people of this beautiful country are not asking for much, we just want those in positions to do what they are being paid to do.
We cannot have our people living in fear, Your Excellency. I believe we need stricter penalties in place, such as the approach Jamaica recently took with a mandatory 15 years in person if caught with an illegal firearm. In addition, we can consider cancelling all bail applications for serious crimes offences. These are the kind of approaches that just may reduce or have one second guessing their decision before committing criminal acts.
In closing, I ask that you provide the people of Turks and Caicos with some reassurance, not in the form of words in a speech but swift and effective action. Your Excellency, please also note, that if these matters aren’t addressed prior to your departure as Governor, then you would have also failed the great people of Turks and Caicos Islands.
I thank you for your time and I do hope that this letter resonates with you and encourages change.
People’s Democratic Movement
BFN urges Bahamians to pay attention to hunger ‘crisis’
Great Commission Ministries thanks network for nearly a decade of support
#TheBahamas, September 26, 2022 – Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) director, Mario Carey, is making an urgent plea to the public to pay attention to the hunger crisis that many face in The Bahamas.
Carey made the comments as he and BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious paid a visit to Great Commission Ministries, one of nearly 100 feeding centres that BFN regularly supports and a beneficiary of the network for nearly 10 years.
“It’s sad and shocking to see the extent of this issue in The Bahamas,” said Carey.
“This is a crisis that isn’t being adequately addressed. How is it that in The Bahamas so many people go hungry every day and it’s such a struggle to feed them?”
The plea came just days ahead of the BFN’s inaugural golf tournament, ‘Tee Off for Hunger’ which BFN hopes will raise funds to provide more than 50,000 meals in the fight against hunger.
In recent months, BFN has been providing more than 70,000 meals per month to the most vulnerable in The Bahamas. And Palacious said the hunger problem in the country continues to be a dire one.
Palacious said the demand BFN is facing has remained steadily high, particularly as Bahamians continue to struggle with an increasing cost of living and continued high unemployment.
“It’s concerning to see the extent of the need in our country,” said Palacious.
“And at the Bahamas Feeding Network, we do all we can to provide assistance, but the demand is great and ceaseless. We deeply appreciate and ask for the continued support of the business community and the public at large to be able to carry on our work in these difficult times.”
Bishop Walter Hanchell, founder and president of Great Commission Ministries, said the organization has been seeing a sustained increase in people seeking help with the basic necessities in recent months.
Great Commission Ministries provides hot meals to roughly 500 people each day, in addition to distributing meals to the sick and shut-in, as well as the provision of grocery packages to struggling families.
Hanchell, who has been helping to feed Bahamians for over three decades, said the past few months have been challenging, as more and more new faces show up seeking assistance. Although the organization receives monetary and in-kind support, the need frequently outweighs the supply.
“Every day you see it,” said Hanchell. “And we are seeing more middle-class people who are now struggling. We help as many as we can, but of course we have limited resources.”
Carey said Hanchell’s observations point clearly to a worsening problem.
The Bahamas Feeding Network spends over $120,000 on its monthly efforts. And Palacious said a generous patron who covers the network’s monthly rent helps to ensure that just a small percentage of donations goes towards administration costs.
Carey said now is the time for everyone to take the issue of hunger in The Bahamas seriously.
“This is beatable,” he said. “We can beat this if people buy into it and everyone makes a contribution.”
Hanchell echoed his sentiments, noting that homelessness is another serious issue that he is working to combat, with plans underway to construct a 100-bed shelter next year.
“We are going to be asking a lot of corporate Bahamas, and the government and private citizens to make that happen,” he said.
Hanchell added, “In November we celebrate 35 years of nonstop ministry and we thank God for the Bahamas Feeding Network and all that they have done to support us over the years. They have been a tremendous blessing.
“It’s not been an easy road but the Lord has been with us.”
Photo Caption: Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) representatives visit long-time beneficiary Great Commission Ministries. L-R: Great Commission Ministries Elder Mina Hanchell, Great Commission Ministries President Bishop Walter Hanchell, BFN Executive Director Archdeacon James Palacious, BFN Director Mario Carey, Aventus Ventures CEO Kevin Hobbs, Great Commission Ministries Operations Manager Maxine Bethel
CHTA President calls for “Dynamic Tax” to address high cost of air travel
#CaymanIslands, September 26, 2022 – The President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is recommending a tiered “dynamic taxation system” as a novel and potential solution to address ongoing concerns about the high cost of air travel within and to and from the region.
Calling for a flexible approach to levying airline taxes, CHTA’s President Nicola Madden-Greig said one of the major constraints facing Caribbean travel is the heavy burden of taxation, and governments could well consider successful revenue management tactics employed within the tourism and aviation sector.
Understanding that the full removal of taxes may be challenging, the CHTA president suggested a tax policy that is responsive to international travel demand seasonality. “For example, governments can affix a higher airline ticket tax in the peak winter season and lower taxes in the summer when demand is weak,” she said, adding that giving consumers better prices to drive visitation during the slow season could boost tourism, commerce and intra-regional VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) travel.
Speaking recently at IATA Caribbean Aviation Day in Grand Cayman, the successful Jamaican hotelier said the economics of such a variable policy may in fact result in a net gain in tax revenue to Caribbean governments. “As travel becomes more affordable and we stimulate more travel, this will result in more local spending, and consequently an increase in local tax collections,” she said, underscoring there will be an overall net benefit to the consumer thanks to lower ticket prices.
“I think it’s a concept that should be explored,” said Madden-Greig, who argued that a well-developed strategy could address diverse perspectives on taxation. “There’s a way to do it that allows for flexibility so you still have taxation on the front end, but when you need to drive demand, you can reduce those taxes and make up the difference on the tail end,” she said. The taxation details however must be transparent, she warned.
Madden-Greig, the Jamaica-based Group Director of Marketing & Sales at The Courtleigh Hospitality Group, said she hopes to explore the “dynamic taxation strategy” at the upcoming Caribbean Travel Forum, taking place at CHTA’s Caribbean Travel Marketplace in San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3 to 5, 2022.
“This could definitely answer the call for reduction in taxes, but not a reduction necessarily all year-round,” the CHTA president explained, suggesting that policy makers could consider alternate tax regimes for regional and international flights in order to drive multi-destination and intra-regional travel.
She admitted that research is required on the technological options to implement the system: “It may not be an immediate solution, but it’s a solution we can work towards.”
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