NASSAU, Bahamas — The Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation (AMMC) and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) Rangers have formed a partnership that will have the Rangers re-enacting historical military drills in full uniform at Fort Charlotte that includes the firing of the cannon.
The RBDF Rangers have been in training at the Fort since May 8, 2016 and will continue until the end of June.
Deon Simms, the Tour and Special Programmes Coordinator for the AMMC said, “The Corporation is committed to providing a reason for Bahamians to come back and re-discover the Forts in Nassau as well as the other properties we manage and also we are looking to provide a quality experience for any visitors that may be coming to our shores.
“I feel that with what we are doing here now with the RBDF Rangers we have a winner.”
The new initiative will be launched in early July and should prove to be both entertaining and educational.
Mr. Simms explained that the partnership between the RBDF and the AMMC is a perfect fit. “We (the AMMC) were looking to build a programme, and to build such a programme as this, you need people with certain things going on already and with certain traits.
“They need discipline, a willingness to learn and here it is you have this group of young men and women that have been in a programme which requires the utmost discipline and requires they learn a lot.”
He added, “So this is an opportunity for us to provide them with the next step. Some of them are going to go into the RBDF and some of them are not, but if we can benefit from that and they can benefit from it why not? Plus we wanted to get some strong young candidates and we figured that the Defence Force had what we needed.”
He said when the joint project is actually launched it will be in two parts. There will be Rangers in actual period uniforms posted around the site, and there will be drill displays.
Secondly, there will be Rangers wearing what “is referred to as number twos, which are the green pants with the yellow stripes and white shirt, green berets”. They are going to be tour guides taking visitors around the site.
During the training the RBDF Rangers are also learning the history not only of Fort Charlotte but of the whole Bahamas. According to Able Seaman Rangers Cyril Miller of the RBDF Ranger Programme, the Rangers have drills on Friday and Saturday.
“We have morning colours, we have firing of the cannon, we do a little ceremonial drill and that leads right into the firing of the cannon. Then we have evening colours and the March Pass.”
Wednesdays and Thursdays, historians from the AMMC give lectures given concerning not only the history of Fort Charlotte and all of The Bahamas. During the training, the Rangers get to visit historical sites including Fort Fincastle, Fort Montague, and saw the first Fort in Nassau, Fort Nassau now the British Colonial Hilton.
RBDF Ranger William Murphy said, “There was a lot of places that I would pass driving through New Providence, and when I found out what they really were, I was amazed because I was like I pass this everyday and thinking that they were just a bunch of broken down buildings, but come to find out slaves used to live there. It is really mindboggling really.”
He added, “They put me through a lot. When I came here, I was like ‘oh, it is going to be a lot of work’.
However, the Ranger who wants to be a RBDF Officer knows that he will have an advantage over others looking to get onto the Force.
Murphy’s fellow and hopeful future RBDF Officers also acknowledged that they passed historical sites without knowing how important they were to the country.
However, they recognise the importance of what they are doing and that they are the first RBDF Rangers to be participating in such an initiative and cannot wait to give their all.