Ladies and Gentlemen:
Today, as we look around our nation and the world, we are reminded of the role that our uniformed branches play in protecting our borders and in helping to keep our communities safe.
The official opening of this building, dedicated to national security, goes beyond a state-of-the-art physical structure.
The Orville Turnquest National Security Building will play an essential role in the strengthening and further coordination of our armed forces.
This four-story, 70,000 square-feet modern structure is comprised of an east and west wing to accommodate each of our armed forces.
Many men and women have fought over the generations to help to build and to secure our Bahamas.
The name that will adorn this new building is one such patriot and nation builder.
Sir Orville Turnquest dedicated his life to public service and to the betterment of our Commonwealth.
Hailing from Grants Town and rising to the upper echelon of the legal profession, Sir Orville struggled for decades to help to secure democracy in The Bahamas.
Like other freedom fighters, he lent his talents and energy to help to deepen and broaden our democracy.
He made various sacrifices for the sake of country and the kind of country he wanted for all Bahamians.
Through his dedicated public service he inspired others, among them his children, including his son Tommy, who once served as Minister of National Security.
Sir Orville rose to become the fifth Bahamian Governor General in an independent Bahamas.
He served in a number of areas in public life, including as Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs and as Attorney General and Deputy Prime Minister.
He was knighted in 1995.
In 2018, he was awarded the Order of the Nation.
It is fitting that this building is named in honor of one who has given such service to The Bahamas throughout his lifetime.
As those of you who will work in this building and walk these halls, may you follow the inspiration of Sir Orville who remained steadfast in his commitment to our national good.
Our men and women in uniform represent the best of who we are.
The decision to put one’s life on the line for country is an honorable vocation.
May this new structure also stand as a testament to the dedication of generations of those who served in our armed branches.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
One of the foremost responsibilities of a government is national security and the protection of life and property.
We must ever admire and acknowledge those who serve as members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.
Over the past several years you have contributed to the decline in crime in various areas.
I wish to publicly acknowledge and thank you for your service in helping to reduce crime in The Bahamas.
But we must be ever vigilant in addressing crime and its causes.
Last week, we inaugurated the Real Time Crime Centre.
We have integrated emerging technologies into our policing operations withthe introduction of: ShotSpotter, Marco’s Alert Digital Billboards, dronetechnology, closed circuit television (CCTV) and body-worn cameras, anddashboard cameras.
The ongoing reform of the criminal justice system is another essential element in addressing crime.
We have begun the process of expunging records for first-time nonviolent offenders.
There will be other reforms that will be necessary to make our criminal justice system more effective, fairer and more just.
Even as we are tough on violent offenders, our criminal justice must also be committed to restoration and rehabilitation.
Tough on crime and its causes does not mean that the foundation of our justice system should be based on a punitive mindset.
Our comprehensive approach to crime must continue to include improved policing and the ongoing reform of our courts and corrections system.
As you may be aware, we are committed to a new Supreme Court complex that will be built at the site of the old General Post Office, which has now been demolished.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I wish to acknowledge and thank the Minister of National Security, the Hon. Marvin Dames and his executive teams from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, and the Royal Bahamas Police Force, for their hard work over the past several years.
In just these past four years tremendous strides have been made in reforming our policing system.
Let me close by noting that my administration will continue to pay tribute to our nation’s builders and honor them for their outstanding accomplishments.
We must always remember our past if we are to persevere into the future.
The naming of this building in honour of Sir Orville is a reminder that we must ever draw inspiration from those on whose shoulders we stand and whose legacy will endure.
It is wonderful that Sir Orville is still happily with us.
May I also remember Lady Edith Turnquest, who though of happy memory, we remember her for her contributions to national life and for her dedication to Sir Orville and her children.
We remember also her many years of community service.
On behalf of the people and Government of The Bahamas, may I offer my personal gratitude and that of my wife, Patricia, to Sir Orville and his family for their service to country.
I thank Sir Orville for helping us always to lift up our heads to a rising sun, in the Bahamaland to which he dedicated his life.
May God bless you Sir Orville.
May God bless the men and women of our armed forces as well as the other public officers who serve in the Ministry of National Security.
And may God continue to bless our Bahamas.
Thank you and good afternoon.