Under the patronage of the Honourable Dr. Bernard J. Nottage, Minister of National Security, and of Commodore Roderick Bowe, Commander of the Royal Bahamian Defense Force, twenty nine Abaco rangers were awarded their graduation certificates during an installation ceremony.
Also in attendance were local dignitaries including: Administrator Preston Cunningham, Administrator William Curry, District Superintendent of Education, Dr. Lenora Black, and the Director of the local Office of Tourism, Wynsome Ferguson,
The large patio of the Government Complex was the venue for the event which took place during the morning of Saturday, June 7. Shortly after 10am, the Defense Force Band accompanied a marching formation of approximately sixty rangers who marched towards the dignitaries’ tent, preceded by the flag bearers.
They stood to attention as the Minister of National Security and the other officials made their entrance.
It was the beginning of a two hour ceremony moderated by Ranger Tarnisha Charlton. Following a rendering of the National Anthem by the Royal Bahamas Defense Force Band and the invocation by a Green Turtle Cay Advisor, Rubin McIntosh, Minister Nottage inspected the ranks. He then addressed the assembly.
He first saluted the achievement of the young individuals being installed as members of the Defense Force Rangers Organization.
“We must be proud of their accomplishment as they have demonstrated through their commitment to this program that they are willing to be models of excellence within their homes, their schools and their communities” he said, reminding them of the commitment they had undertaken when becoming a ranger.
He gave a brief history of the institution, which he said, “has been around for decades, since it became a reality in 1995 after being conceived in the mind of the late, great Sir Lynden Pindling.” He explained that Sir Pindling believed that National Service was the key to solve young men’s problems as well as crime problems and eventually unemployment problems, quoting the late Prime Minister’s address at the PLP 39th National Convention on November 4, 1994.
Minister Nottage compared the Rangers Program as a continuing education program teaching manners, responsibility, caring and discipline, at the same time affording the members means and opportunity to obtain respect.
The Rangers comprise 900 active members belonging to thirty three schools from New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco, he mentioned.
He expressed his gratitude to the parents who supported the program and commended the instructors who mentored the young people. He informed the rangers that they were now the ambassadors of the program.
“As the organizations most recent inductees, you are expected to epitomize excellence, demonstrate discipline, offer committed service and display moral courage at all times.”
He concluded with a quote by William Arthur Ward:
“Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing and dream while others are wishing.”
The Minister’s address was followed by a drill display by twenty rangers. A full contingent of cadets then marched on, retreating to the opposite side of the court before the distribution of the awards. The inductees then marched forward waiting for their names to be called.
Nineteen cadets from Abaco Central High School and ten cadets from S C Bootle High School were then called one by one. They left their formation to march towards Minister Nottage who handed them their certificates.
They each saluted before posing for a photograph.
Moreover, four cadets were awarded trophies for special achievements.
Cadesha Nottage from Abaco Central High School received the Minister of National Security Award.
The Commander of Defense Force Award was received by Kaitlyn Russell from SC Bootle High School.
The Rangers Director Award went to Jessie Forbes from ACH and the Most Improved Award was handed out to Demetrius Griffin, also from ACH.
Demetrius Griffin, Friendly Phillipe, Gerline Belot, Kiara Tilus, Dachera Petit-Homme and Cedna St. Luc qualified for the Academic Achievement Award.
Administrator William Curry from Green Turtle Cay, advisor Junie McIntosh, also from Green Turtle Cay and advisor from SC Bootle, Tishka Johnson, received acknowledgment plaques for their contribution to the program.
The Director of Ranger Program, Sub-Lieutenant Delvonne Duncombe, pronounced the vote of thanks.
Commodore Roderick Bowe, who has been in the Defense Force for thirty two years, took his position four and a half years ago. He said that he saw the necessity for such a program in order to ensure a positive future for young children.
The Director of Ranger Program and two instructors sailed to Marsh Harbour from Nassau under the command of Lt Commander Raymond King on the HMBS vessel, together with fifty marines and officers and eighteen band members.
The coordination of the program for the three islands was under the supervision of Petty Officer Pedro Bain who will be posted on Abaco for the next two months.