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RBDF holds 40 Year Observance of bombing of HMBS Flamingo



Lieutenant Commander Whitfield Neely stands at attention as he pays tribute to the men of HMBS Flamingo during a ceremony of remembrance on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. Lieutenant Commander Neely is the the last remaining current serving member of the HMBS Flamingo.

#Coral Harbour Base, Nassau, The Bahamas – 10 MAY ‘20 (RBDF): In a somber gathering at the Defence Force Base this morning, four marines killed in action 40 years ago were remembered during a wreath laying ceremony in commemoration of the bombing and sinking of HMBS Flamingo on May 10, 1980.

Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames pays tribute to the men of HMBS Flamingo during the ceremony of remembrance on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. He is shown placing a wreath near the water’s edge.

The significance of the day soaked through like the rainstorms that ensued as it happened. In attendance were Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Marco Rolle, Acting Commander Defence Force, Captain Raymond king and his Senior Command. In keeping with the COVID-19 Emergency Orders, one representative from each of the four families were represented. 

Lieutenant Commander Whitfield Neely, the lone current serving member represented the surviving crew members. Wreaths were placed at the HMBS Flamingo Memorial Park Monument and also near the water’s edge in remembrance of all those who were part of the tragedy that rocked the nation.

Minister of National Security, the Honourable Marvin Dames pays tribute to the men of HMBS Flamingo during the ceremony of remembrance on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. Also shown giving salutes are Acting Commander Defence Force, Captain Raymond king and Commander Michael Simmons, Captain Coral Harbour.

 On Saturday May 10 at approximately 5:00 p.m., HMBS Flamingo apprehended two Cuban fishing vessels for illegally fishing in Bahamian waters off cay Santo Domingo in the southern Bahamas. Without provocation or warning, two Cuban MIG fighters bombed HMBS Flamingo, killing four marines and wounding several others.

Mrs. Smith, the mother of Marine Seaman Austin Smith pays tribute during the ceremony of remembrance for HMBS Flamingo on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour.

The Defence Force craft eventually sunk in ocean waters 35 miles south of Ragged Island, and 15 out of the 19 crewmembers survived the ordeal by escaping to Ragged Island aboard one of the captured craft they had arrested.

Missing in action and presumed dead were Able Seaman Fenrick Sturrup, and Marine Seamen Austin Smith, David Tucker and Edward Williams. Senior Commander Amos Rolle, Chief Petty Officer Oscar Miller, Petty Officer Leopold Kirby and Marine Seaman Wilfred Sands have since passed, and will forever be remembered.

The Royal Bahamas Defence remains steadfast in its unwavering commitment, sacrifice and service toward the development of the Bahamas.

A family member of Marine Seaman Fenrick Sturrup heads to water’s edge for a wreath laying ceremony during a ceremony of remembrance for HMBS Flamingo on Sunday May 10, 2020 at HMBS Coral Harbour. Also shown is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Mr. Marco Rolle.

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Bahamas News

Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU 



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.

This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister  of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.

This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper,  was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”

The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.

Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General  of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”

Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working  to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.

Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.

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Defence Headquarters 28 SEP ’23: HMBS P-45 under the command of Chief Petty Officer Acadia Smith detained a group of Cuban migrants in Cistern Cay, Exuma on September 27, 2023, due to information received from a Good Samaritan vessel in the area that handed them over to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

Members of HMBS P-45 retrieved twenty-eight (28) Cuban nationals and transported them to HMBS Coral Harbour in New Providence.  All individuals appeared to be in good health and will undergo further processing and assessment by Immigration officials.

The Royal Bahamas Defence Force remains dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in guarding our heritage and appreciates the sharing of information and intelligence provided by the boating community to affect migrants and other unlawful interdictions at sea.

(For additional information, contact the RBDF Public Relations Department or visit our official website at Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and explore our engaging content on our YouTube channel).


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CTO mourns the passing of former chairman Obediah Wilchcombe



#BARBADOS (September 26, 2023) – The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) deeply mourns the loss of distinguished Bahamian leader and former chairman of the inter-regional body, Obediah Wilchcombe.

At the time of his passing, Mr. Wilchcombe was serving as Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting and Leader of Government Business in the House of Assembly of the Bahamas.

“We extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Minister Wilchcombe’s family, as well as the government and people of the Bahamas. He was a true champion for the people of the Bahamas and the wider Caribbean region,” remarked Kenneth Bryan, CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism and Ports of the Cayman Islands.

Chairman Bryan recalled Minister Wilchcombe held the position of CTO Chairman twice (2002-2004 and 2016-2017) while serving as Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas, and contributed significantly to the advancement of sustainable tourism development in the Caribbean.

Chairman Bryan noted that the CTO plans to honor the life and legacy of “this eminent Bahamian leader” at the organization’s upcoming business meetings and the State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Turks and Caicos next month.

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