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45 Year since JAGS became Chief; his Unity Speech begs the question: How far have we come on the things which matter most?

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#TurksandCaicos, May 27, 2021 – James Alexander George Smith McCartney is the founding father of democratic, representative governance in the Turks and Caicos Islands and for that feat, achieved in the late 1970’s, JAGS has been crowned ‘National Hero’.

This year marks 45-years since Grand Turk-born, James became the first Chief Minister of the country.  James was only 31-years old at the time of his ascent to the role and continues to be one of the youngest democratically elected leaders in the world.

In 1980, after serving as Chief Minister for a mere four years, the Turks and Caicos Islands lost JAGS; he died in a mysterious plane crash over New Jersey, history explains.  The enormity of the loss was felt regionally; his body was never recovered.

If the Rt. Most Excellent JAGS McCartney were with us today, he would be 76-years old.  A husband, a father, grand-father, friend and iconic political leader who was the founder of the People’s Democratic Movement.

Forty-five years later and he is still being remembered; rightly so.  There is still no one who has measured up to his towering political legacy and on Monday, May 31 – JAGS Day – Rt Most Excellent McCartney will be saluted by the nation he loved best. 

His Unity Speech, delivered in 1979 is among his most treasured remarks. 

“Some people tend to think that it is an impossible job bringing all our Islands together because of the separation by water and distance, but we must come together if only for survival. Divided we are weak, united, Turks and Caicos could become one of the greatest young nation in this hemisphere for good in the world,” said the first Chief Minister in an apparent attempt to bridge any lingering divide.

In the speech, it is clear JAGS was acquainted with the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic often used to derail goals and dilute energies; he spoke unapologetically.

“If anything binds us, it is the fact that if nothing else, we are Turks and Caicos Islanders and have a common interest, because we have distinct qualities; so if the need for political union is agreed by us then the will to create it is born, and where is a will, there is a way. Where there is disunity on the political activities of a nation, that nation is left at the mercy of powerful, foreign commercial interests which seek to exploit the situation by pouring vast sums of money into the various factions to ensure conflicts among them and therefore secure their positions in the society, where they could wield their might and guarantee control over that nation; because the truth is, while the people are fighting one another, the real enemies, the controllers from outside, are picking up the pieces, so therefore we the people are losing the nation as being pushed backward.”

Forty-five years since the Turks and Caicos, then home to 7,015 people, was admonished to end the squabbling and forge an impenetrable foundation upon which to build a unique nation.  The question often emerges:  ‘Has anything changed?’

In his Unity Speech, JAGS offers that this dis-unity would be the undoing of the great goals for Turks and Caicos Islands.  The Chief was said he was captaining a ship optimistically determined to outwit the strategists and overcome the obstacles.

“My party and Government are completely devoted to the achievement of political, economic and social advancement of this country and we will not stop until this attained. This is not an idle dream, it is not impossible, I see it, I feel it, it is real, indeed I am living in it already.”

Fast-forward four decades to 2021, with the globally powerful striving of the Black Lives Matter movement still looming large as a driver to end social injustices and inequalities; the sound of JAGS’ voice and the melody of JAGS’ heart beats stronger than ever.

“A few years back a lot of people in our Islands referred to this great movement as “Black Power” well, I would not agree more because to me Black Power is a part of the world rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor of the exploited against the exploiter. It is a vanguard movement of Black People, and it is characterized by four fifths of the world’s population which has been systematically damned into a state of un-development by colonialism and Neo-colonialism. Black Power is the sum total of economic, cultural and political power which the Black man must have in order to achieve his survival in a highly developed technical society and the world savaged by imperialism,  Colonialism, Neo-colonialism and Fascism.”

This speech, given 42 years ago proves that JAGS was a man exposed to deep insights and unafraid to say out loud, what in his hay day was damming and dangerous.  This speech, given 42-years ago demonstrates that the Rt. Most Excellent JAGS McCartney was a HERO without question.  He took on titans, charged into danger, fueled by an unshakable love for people and fully confident that they were worth the fighting for, worth the dying for.

He saw the future, was ahead of his time when he recommended that the way out of the ‘isms’ was through the empowerment of the predominantly black people who made up the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“In other words Black Power epitomizes a new stage of the yearning and aspiration of the Black man and tells the world what it means.  That is exactly what we as Turks and Caicos Islands people take it to mean.”

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Bahamas News

Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis pledges to govern in the interests of all Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 19, 2021 – During his ceremonial swearing-in today as the nation’s fifth Prime Minister, Hon. Philip Davis pledged to govern in the interests of all Bahamians and to consult widely with the Bahamian people.

The best way to make progress as a nation is to bring people together, said Prime Minister Davis, who was presented with his instruments of Office in ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre, on Saturday 18 September 2021.

Prime Minister Davis was officially sworn in as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on Friday 17 September 2021 at the Office of the Governor General.

“We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, so that it’s not one rule for one set of people, and another for another set of people,” said the Prime Minister.

“There is much work to be done; but I know that by working together we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us.”

Prime Minister Davis said that while there are big challenges ahead for The Bahamas, his team has the right vision and policies to take the country forward.

The Prime Minister said the new administration is coming into office at a time when the Bahamian people are hurting as never before.

The country faces many crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy in decline and deeply concerning challenges in education, said Prime Minister Davis.

If everyone works together towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are possible for The Bahamas and its people, said the Prime Minister.

But no government can do great things on its own, Prime Minister Davis added.

“I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people,” said the Prime Minister.
“We are going to listen, we are going to consult widely and we are going to bring people together.”

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18 September 2021
Office of the Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Contact: opmcommunications@bahamas.gov.bs
Website: opm.gov.bs

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Caribbean News

North Caicos man beheaded in what could be TCIs most bizarre murder case yet

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#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2021 – Explosive talk show host Courtney Misick lost his brother last weekend in a bizarre killing which raised alarm and left residents flabbergasted at the extreme violence, which pointed to a heinous killer being at large in North Caicos.

While police have now made two arrests; giving one suspect bail and holding another on suspicion in the gruesome killing, the pastor, farmer and former election candidate publically questioned the time it took for investigators to arrive at the scene.

He said, in a string of Facebook posts, that it was some six hours before police got there.

Royal TCI Police confirmed the body of the male found in a home in Kew North Caicos; that they got the call at 5:45pm.

“The Police can confirm that the body of a man was found inside a house in Kew, North Caicos and that the body was decapitated. Although formal identification procedures have not yet taken place, the body is believed to be that of 57-year-old old Isaac Missick. The Police are in contact with the next of kin at this difficult time,” informed a Thursday press release.

Rev Misick, at 11:30pm on Saturday posted that investigators from Provo had finally arrived; another team got in on Sunday morning.

Family was disappointed with North Caicos police manpower “wasting hours guarding the crime scene” instead of “looking for Mack-B’s killer.”

Isaac “Mack-B” Missick was beheaded and worst of all, his head could not be found at the scene of the crime.  People were dumbfounded by the monstrous nature of the killing and the family was activated to mount their own hunt for the body part.

There was no success, however, for the family and friends of Mack-B.  Relatives spent the day on Wednesday in Kew battling heat, the blazing sun and swarming mosquitoes in an effort to find the head.

Mack-B’s sister, niece, cousins and eldest son travelled to North from Providenciales determined to give it a try, said Orville Selver, a cousin of the deceased who also described the scope of the search: West of the victim’s house, in the bush from Hall town, to Henfield town, near the house of Mack Bs mother, who died in May this year; on Forbes road and near all the old wells.

The search party which began at 9am fanned out in two groups;” some went on the north side and others went the south side into the deep woods,” he said.

Meanwhile police were questioning two suspects in the case, now ruled a murder.  It is the TCI’s sixth homicide for 2021.

“Today, the Police made an application to the court to seek an extension to the time Officers can keep the arrested man in custody. The court case was adjourned until September 23rd, 2021, during which time the man will be held in police custody. The man arrested on Suspicion of Murder on Sunday, September 12th, 2021, has been released on police bail pending further investigation.”

It will most likely go down as the most gruesome killing in Turks and Caicos history; the beheading of this beloved North Caicos construction worker on Friday or Saturday at his home in Kew.

Our interview of his brother, Rev Missick, unearthed that Mack-B said he had to go home, he did so but never returned to work on Friday September 10.  Upon being missed by some relatives, his cousin set out to check on him and the discovery was gut-wrenching.

Said to be a gory scene as the man, lay on the ground with no head.  While relatives believed the head was at the scene, they later learned that it was missing.

From Police: “This is a very distressing and complex murder that will take time to investigate. However, many specialist Officers are involved in this case, and they are doing everything possible to fully understand the events leading up to this horrific attack. North Caicos is a very close community, and the Police seek their assistance in providing vital information to progress the investigation.”

Isaac Missick, leaves behind a wife and two sons.

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Bahamas News

PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Minnis Thanks Bahamians for the Last Four Years

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#TheBahamas, September 18, 2021 – Free National Movement (FNM) Party Leader, Hubert A. Minnis thanked Bahamians for the last four years in tonight’s concession speech:

“Tonight I spoke with Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis and offered my congratulations to him and his party on their victory at the polls.  I offered him my best wishes as his Government now faces the continued fight against COVID-19, and the restoration of our economy.

I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for Free National Movement candidates.  I also congratulate the FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly.  I am in that number, and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time.

I will lead the Free National Movement into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.  The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition.  The people decide who serves as government.  Our party presented its vision for the future to Bahamians from the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, all the way to the southern islands of MICAL.

The people determined that they preferred the Progressive Liberal Party.  My party and I accept that result.  We are proud of our record the past four-plus years.

During our term we faced the most difficult times in Bahamian history.  In September 2019, Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama were struck by the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.  Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest storms recorded on our planet.  It caused generational destruction to our northern islands.  Six months later, we were in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout each crisis my Government worked hard to assist the Bahamian people.  On the northern islands we have had to rebuild roads, water systems, schools, docks, bridges and other critical infrastructure.

In the pandemic, we provided tens of millions of dollars per month in food and unemployment benefits to citizens, along with tax credits to businesses.  We fought hard to secure more than half a million doses of three of the best vaccines in the world.

The FNM has a proud legacy.  We have governed The Bahamas over four terms.  Our philosophy is to use the resources of government to provide opportunity to those who have historically been without.  That is why we invested in free preschool, providing early education to thousands of children. That is why we invested in free tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas and BTVI.

That is why we created the Over-the-Hill initiative to benefit people in grassroots communities with tax concessions and development assistance.  That is why we invested record amounts in Family Island infrastructure.  That is why we created the Small Business Development Centre, extending millions of dollars to help Bahamians realize their dreams.

Our belief in the Bahamian people was also evidenced in the manifesto we ran on in this election.  We pledged a Universal School Meals Program, expanded access to afterschool programs, $250 million to Bahamian small businesses over five years, expanded access to Crown Land, support for the arts and agriculture and fisheries, along with many more policies for the people.

We did not win this time.   But I say to the next generation of FNMs that you should stay firm to this party’s founding ideals.  Always put the people first, and be honest in government.

The people have asked us to be the opposition.  We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability.  We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the Government’s plans are in the best interests of the people.

I thank my wife Patricia and my family for supporting me during this term, and throughout my life.  I also thank the officers, members and supporters of the Free National Movement for their assistance and encouragement during my time as leader.

And to the Bahamian people, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you for my time being your Prime Minister.  You are a strong, hardworking and resilient people.  Hurricane Dorian did not break you. The pandemic has not broken you.

You trust in the God who has brought us this far.  Trust that He will bring us further to brighter times.  Again, thank you. And may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

 

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