His Excellency the Governor’s official residence in the capital Grand Turk was named Waterloo after the famous battle fought in 1815.
The anniversary was marked by a reception hosted by the Governor at the house on the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen’s official birthday.
“Waterloo is an important, historic and living piece of the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands,” said Governor Peter Beckingham.
“At a time when there is a growing appreciation of TCI culture for residents and visitors alike, Waterloo must be recognised as one of the most significant buildings in the Caribbean, given its age, and its key role at the heart of the Islands’ political development.
“The Islands are very fortunate that this historic building has been so well cared for, and has survived fires, termites, remodelling work and hurricanes in 1866, 1926, 1945 and 2008.”
In recognition of the anniversary, Governor Beckingham has published a commemorative booklet about the property, including a forward by local historian Dr Carlton Mills who said, “The significant role that this property has played in the Turks and Caicos since 1815 must be captured and shared as an important part of the Islands’ heritage and legacy.”
Historical, cultural and political highlights of Waterloo include:
The Waterloo residence was built in 1815, and named after the Napoleonic battle of June 18, 1815. It was built in the style of a Bermudan home, with just one wing and, in the style of the time, an open air kitchen.
In 1857 the local owner of Waterloo, James Misick, sold the property to the British Government for £1,046. The British had been looking for a more secluded property for their ‘King’s Agent’ or Crown representative in the TCI, known as the President.
In 1874, on the request of the people of TCI, the Islands became a dependency of Jamaica. With this change in constitutional status Britain was no longer represented by a President but by a Commissioner, who reported to the Governor-General in Jamaica, and lived in Waterloo.
By the 1940s the Commissioner, Edwin Arrowsmith, found the house in poor repair; finding it, “covered with old cloth backed paper which was dilapidated and housed multitudes of cockroaches”. He begun some modernisation, which was continued by a number of his successors.
After Jamaica became independent in 1963, the TCI became a Dependency of the United Kingdom, and responsibility fell to the Governor General of the Bahamas, who nominated Administrators to represent British interests, who continued to live in Waterloo.
Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra have all visited Waterloo.
In 1973 after Bahamian independence, the TCI chose to retain its British Dependent status and the Islands welcomed its first Governor.
In 1975 members of the Junkanoo Club marched on Waterloo to demand social, economic and political reform. They held a sleep out on the lawn and remained there until their demands were met. Their protest secured a new Constitution and the start of TCI Ministerial Government in 1976. The first Chief Minister was the Right Honourable James Alexander George Smith, or ‘JAGS’, McCartney.
Renovations and improvements to Waterloo were commissioned in 1993, to restore as far as possible the original features, including the windows and the property’s unusual guttering.
In 1999 a nine-hole golf course was created in the grounds, and despite damage in the 2008 hurricane, it is still used by local players who encounter tough greens and unusual fairways!
Today Waterloo is the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in the UK Overseas Territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands, His Excellency the Governor. The house is regularly used for meetings with the Premier, the official opposition, overseas investors, church leaders and community groups, and school children regularly tour the building and property.
Barbados bestows Humanitarian Award on PAHO director Dr. Carissa Etienne
By Shanieka Smith
#Barbados, November 25, 2022 – The newest recipient of Barbados’ Humanitarian Award is outgoing Pan American Health Organization Director, Dr Carissa Etienne. The government of Barbados grants this award to frontline workers who were instrumental during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Upon receiving the award, Dr. Etienne expressed her gratitude for the recognition, noting, however, that she was more grateful for the opportunity to have served on the island. She also praised Prime Minister, Mia Mottley for her diligence in leading the country and regional involvement during the pandemic.
Humanitarian medals were also given to Frontline workers who risked their own safety to ensure the needs of the public were met. Those who held supporting roles on the frontline received humanitarian lapel pins, and those who made generous donations were given humanitarian plaques.
Dr. Etienne highlighted one major lesson from the pandemic, “we are only safe when the weakest among us is also safe”.
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.
He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.
While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.
“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”
He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue. The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.
“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”
Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”
“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.
He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.
“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”
Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.
Former Bahamian Cabinet minister defends record amid ongoing police investigation
By Shanieka Smith
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – Former Youth, Sports and Culture Minister, Lanisha Rolle is reportedly currently under investigation due to several allegations that came up during her tenure; she however knows nothing of this alleged criminal investigation.
After the minister resigned – unceremoniously – in February 2021 with little explanation, the ministry was locked down by the Prime Minister for an audit of the National Sports Authority, which fell under her ministry.
Auditor General Terrance Bastin revealed that unauthorised contracts had been issued, some of which were later forwarded to the NSA for payment. Three cheques to contractors were also found, which were paid to individuals and then collected by a senior ministry official.
Despite the allegations, Rolle said she upheld cabinet standards and good governance during her tenure. She added that a minister is not always aware of “everything in a ministry at any given time.”
Rolle said she has not yet been approached by the RBPF regarding the audit findings. Having served as a member of the Police Force for 11 years herself, Rolle told a crush of media on Wednesday (November 23) that she continues to trust that they will follow the legal process and in due time, the truth of her innocence will be revealed.
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