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TCI: Remarks at TCI Regiment Passing Out Parade

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#TurksandCaicos, August 4, 2021 – HIS EXCELLENCY NIGEL DAKIN, GOVERNOR OF THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS on 31 JULY 2021

” This is your moment.”

BEING A MARINE:

You have just joined a new profession, you have just started a new vocation. To be precise you are now Marines. You are not Royal Marines and you are not US Marines. You are the first Marines of the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment!

The seas around these islands have dominated TCI’s economy and culture for centuries. We are the epitome of an Island race. Our supply lines, our self generated food sources, our trading relationships, our old industry of salt and our new industry of tourism are all born out of our remarkable maritime environment.

As an archipelago our waters divide us, and connect us, in equal measure. The threats we face come at us from the sea, be they be natural as warm Caribbean waters fuel hurricanes, or be they man made, as people, drug and gun smugglers profit from others misery.

Your ancestors, and those who come after you, because this Regiment will be standing in a 100 years, would and will be proud – that this Regiment is formed by those determined to soldier and support their people on land and on sea. Superlatives can often be overused but in this case, both on a personal level for you, and on a national level for us all, this is an extraordinary day and it is a historic moment.

At the personal level you will now always see yourself as part of a Regimental family and see yourself linked to the profession of soldiering. In years to come, long after you have left the Regiment, you will think like a Marine and bear yourself as a Marine and while you will have many memories, this moment – when you became a Marine, and a full member of your Regiment – will be one of the most memorable.

You share now in a culture, a way of thinking and a way of doing things that marks you out. This is something that will continue to grow and develop over time. This culture now links you to every other man or woman in military uniform down through the ages. Society expect those who soldier to do things that normal men and women are not expected to do and you will, I suspect today, rejoice in that expectation.

The reality is that you will find the expectations placed on you, by yourself and by society, will occasionally weigh heavily. You will move towards known or suspected danger when any normal human response would be to move away. You will be there, when others are not. You will be on time, when others are late. You will be working in the bush at night when others are asleep in their bed. You will stay when others have gone. When others are tired, or hungry or extremely cold, or unbearably hot, or about to give up because matters seem hopeless, you will manage to experience all those conditions and emotions but you will bring hope, and you will bring energy, and you will bring strength, and you will bring courage, and you will set the example for others to rally behind.

There will be times when you are frightened. For example the power of nature here in the Caribbean – in all its wrath – almost dwarfs human imagination. But you will know that courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to overcome fear, and you will quickly understand that moral courage that can be honed every day is just as prized and important as physical courage which will come to you, when needed, because it has been prepared for.

You will not do this because you are super-human. You are not. But you are now part of something bigger than yourself, you are doing something that is greater than yourself, and you will have skill and capability and – increasingly – experience, that others do not have. You will know the team is stronger than the individual not through words but practice, you know that if you train hard you will fight easy, you know that your fellow Marine is now the person you would never, ever let down so you will lean off each other and stand together and you will do all of this because – in the end – you know that when all else fails – if not ‘you’ – then who can the Territory and its people rely on.

The Regiment will give you all the opportunity to lead. Leadership is not about the rank that is worn permanently on your arm but the actions and behaviours that are on display, in the moment, and the reputation that builds as a result. The roles this Regiment have been entrusted with requires a small team ethos to develop; so Junior Commanders will carry much responsibility. Each and every Marine on parade will find themselves confronted by leadership challenges.

A REGIMENT DESIGNED TO DELIVER EFFECT

The national challenges are represented in your cap badge. Two symbols laid on top of one another. The Phoenix – a mythical bird that rises renewed and strengthened from the ashes of disaster, in TCI’s case natural disaster, an experience we know here too well. And the crossed Tridents representing the support you will provide to the protection of our maritime borders both on land and sea.

Therefore, from the outset, you are a Regiment focussed on ‘Mission’. You wear your promise, your covenant with the Territory in terms of your delivery, as the single most important accoutrement to your uniform, your cap badge. Your Regimental identity is your mission – and your mission is your Regimental identity.

If we wish to look for an example of that, we need only look to the fact that before your basic training was concluded, you’d been instrumental in detaining 15 who had landed illegally on our shores and who were bringing a considerable quantity of contraband with them that would do us, as a society, harm. You did that professionally, compassionately, intelligently and purposefully but the point is you did it. This Regiment looks good on parade – as it must – but it is in the bush, and on the water, and in the wreckage following a hurricane where the difference will be made.

Of course Regimental life is more than just mission. It is about bonds and brotherhood and sisterhood and camaraderie. We hope your time in the Regiment is ‘fun’. If it isn’t you won’t, in the long term, be effective as a Marine or as a Regiment.

A SYMBOL OF NATIONAL IDENTITY

Of course, to the people of this Territory, the Regiment is not just about what can be delivered, but also about the way we think of ourselves as a nation: our national identity, something I have spoken of before. This Regiment is I believe a strong signal of not just national identity but also national maturity.

As we mature as a nation our conversation as to what we mean by that word ‘nation’ also matures. We talk a great deal about both unity and diversity in TCI and I suggest before us is an example of how both can, indeed both must, sit comfortably together.

For example the Regiment speaks with one voice and within it, of course, engages in English but it can utilise Creole and Spanish and must have this language and cultural understanding to succeed in its tasks. It has a maritime infantry role, but both men and women serve in this Regiment alongside each other and go through the same training. On parade are those proud to call North Caicos and South Caicos, Providenciales and Grand Turk, their home island. There are many old TCI family names represented in the Regiment and there are also TCI/Bahamian’s, TCI/Haitians, TCI/Dominicans, TCI/Jamaicans and TCI/Guyanese serving in the ranks. Some in the ranks were born in the UK.

Diversity of ages brings differing strengths. The youngest on parade is 18, one is over 50. Half the Marines are in their twenties, fourteen of them are in their thirties. Three are in their forties The average age suggests a Regiment of mature experienced adults. There are some big physical men in this Regiment but I’ve also found someone my size!

Staying with diversity, and with an eye to the skills the Regiment inherits, before you is a doctor, there are boat captains, divers, life guards, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, plumbers and carpenters, those that understand water sanitation and sewage, paramedics and firemen, managers and security guards, computer programmers and communicators, those that understand our main tourist industry, our large resorts and our airports.

In short this is a Regiment made up of volunteers that represent not only the totality of the Turks and Caicos Islands, but the very best of the Turks and Caicos Islands. There is both unity and diversity on parade, because unity and diversity are mission critical.

MANY TO THANK:

There are many to thank. The UK Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappy MP, was here this week and he and a predecessor in that role, Lord Mark Lancaster – himself a UK reserve officer – have proved unrelenting in their support as has the UK’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Sir NickCarter.

The British Defence Attache, with us today, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Westlake, Royal Marines, has kept his eye on both the vision and on the detail, in equal measure and our Permanent Secretary for National Security – Tito Lightbourne – has provided critical policy and budgeting support including Chairing the Defence Board and my thanks to those who sit on that BOard giving freely of their time and experience.

The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst played an early and influential role training our officers, with more Sandhurst training to come, and having the Queens Personal Bodyguard here who are also a reconnaissance Regiment – the Household Cavalry – and the excellence of their soldiers, and the example of their ethos – has got us off to the best possible start. Our thanks to them under the command of Major James Heath. The enduring presence of Sergeant Major Dan Collins of the Rifles Regiment has helped anchor the new Regiment in daily professional practice and will continue to do so, so my thanks to General Sir Patrick Sanders, the Colonel Commandant of the Rifles, for releasing to us, one of his best.

A huge vote of thanks is due to the fantastic employers who are prepared to release some of their most valuable staff to serve in the Regiment, and therefore serve the Territory, and to the families who have stood resolutely in support. In terms of commitment a family joins a Regiment, not just an individual.

POLITICAL UNITY AND SUPPORT

A Defence Force that doesn’t have political support, or national support behind it, will surely fail as night follows day. This Regiment would not be before us had it not been for the complete commitment of two people, our previous Premier and our Present Premier. When Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson and Honourable Charles Washington Misick, as the then Leader of the Opposition, were asked if a UK Trained Regiment was something TCI wanted, as part of the delivery of our National Security Strategy, they were unequivocal in their support, both in initial word and subsequent deed.

Forming a Regiment from scratch, at time of Pandemic, with the economy at its most uncertain, when everything was harder than it normally would be, was not straightforward. There was a General Election and a change of Administration and a compressed budget cycle. If nothing else the formation of this Regiment was an act of focussed, cross-party, national political leadership, and national political unity, to deliver national security. That thanks must extend to include members of the previous Cabinet, and the present Cabinet, and to the past and to the present Legislature. The round of applause, from all sides of the House of Assembly, on Christmas Eve 2020, when the Defence Act passed, tells those on Parade that this Territory stands with them, as they stand for it.

THE WEIGHT OF COMMAND

My final word of thanks and reflection goes to the man on parade on whom so much rested and on who so much now depends. The Commanding Officer, Lt Col Ennis Grant. He was the first man recruited to the Regiment. At one point we had a Regiment of one man. I asked him to place great trust in others, that they would deliver, and I had to put great personal faith in him, and he in himself, around his own personal delivery and drive. The Regiment that stands before us today was never inevitable. Colonel Grant placed his reputation and credibility on the line and then threw himself, meticulously, into planning and delivering, researching and recruiting, brainstorming and directing as well as program of inspiring personal development.

Colonel – a word to you – many people have been involved and have helped – some close and some distant – but in the end Command, I am told, is the loneliest of roles. Your Regiment, the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment, now stands before you: trained to a basic standard. They are no longer recruits, they are Marines, and this is no longer an aspiration but a formed and disciplined Regiment.

We collectively said we would have this Regiment ready for this Hurricane Season and on 31st July 2021 it is here. It is youthful and its journey towards full professional development is only just beginning – there is a long road ahead – it cannot run before it can walk – but it is here and you are stood in front of it, in Command.

All of us here today entrust this Regiment to you – a trust easily given – because it has been earned by you. You will soon instruct the Regiment to march off the Parade Ground and into its future – a future for itself, certainly, but many here hope it is also a symbol of a new and better future for the way this Island both secures itself and thinks of itself. All of us at this parade salute you, thank you for carrying the burdens as well as the pleasures of Command and we salute ‘your’ Regiment, as you salute us. We thank you for your service.

And so many God bless the Turks and Caicos Islands, may God bless the Turks and Caicos Islands Regiment and most importantly, today, may God Bless our Marines who so willingly serve and of whom we are all so very very proud. “

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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.”

_
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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