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Bahamas PM attends Graham Thompson TCI opening
Apr 11, 2014 - 2:01:26 PM

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Remarks by the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie, M.P., Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas at the official opening of Graham Thompson's Chambers in Providenciales,Turks & Caicos Islands on April 9th, 2014:

His Excellency, the Governor;
Honourable Premier;
Honourable Ministers;
Distinguished Members of the Legislature;
Government officials;
Members of the Clergy;
Ladies & Gentlemen:

I'm delighted to be here once again in the Turks & Caicos Islands and, in particular, this beautiful island of Providenciales. More than just neighbours, we are family. And whenever families are brought together like this, it's an occasion for celebration. It's no different this evening. Thank you for receiving my colleagues and I, with the warmth and hospitality reserved for family.

I'm especially delighted to be here to bring brief remarks on the occasion of the ceremonial opening of Graham Thompson's first office outside The Bahamas. I say "ceremonial" because I am cognizant of the fact that the office has actually been in operation for about a year already. But this evening its launch is being officially recognized and celebrated.

Let me at once congratulate the partners of Graham Thompson for having taken this bold step into the wider world. That they should have decided to do so in the Turks and Caicos Islands, under the local stewardship of Stephen Wilson, Q.C. and his team on the ground here is to be applauded. It is both sensible and timely.

The synergies, the inter-connectedness, the commonalities between the Turks and Caicos Islands and The Bahamas are too obvious and too well known to require explanation. Suffice it to say, therefore, that the ties of geography, of common blood and kinship, of history and of heritage, and of a common jurisprudence, are just some of the factors that make Graham Thompson's entry into the Turks and Caicos Islands such a sensible and timely fit.

And in speaking of the common ties of blood and of family, I am reminded that two of the partners of the firm - Willie Moss and Robert Adams - have very deep roots in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Willie's father was a native of Turks and Caicos Islands and so was Robert's grandfather.

But beyond these commonalities of which I speak, Graham Thompson's establishment of an office here in Providenciales is also something more: it is a grand gesture of confidence in the Turks and Caicos Islands itself. It is a manifestation of faith in its future. And to that, let me add my own affirming voice. The people of Turks and Caicos Islands do indeed have a bright future ahead of them. And I am convinced that with God's guidance and by united endeavour, this bright future will indeed be realized for the good of all and to the greater glory of your fair land.

I'm delighted to see that the firm is so amply represented from both its Nassau and Freeport offices here this evening. I'm especially happy to see that the firm's founder, Peter Graham C.M.G., has been given pride of place among the visiting delegation. It was Peter who founded the firm 64 years ago and it was he who presided over its evolution into the largest commercial practice in the entire Bahamas. By the way, I have it on good authority that although he is now retired from the firm and only a consultant, Peter is still the very first person in the office every morning!


But I also want to pay special tribute to Peter Graham for a more important reason this evening, one that I am convinced explains in large part the extraordinary and enduring success that the firm has enjoyed over these years.

I refer, of course, to that distinctive ethos of the firm, first developed by Peter Graham and nurtured by him; an ethos that has always encouraged public service as the companion and, in some instances, even as the alternative to the practice of law.

Peter always encouraged his lawyers to give back to the country; to get involved in nation-building, and it didn't really matter to him which party banner you did it under, as long as you did it!

And this commitment to public service began with Peter himself. He was our country's very first Minister of Labour and Housing back in 1964. He was also a Member of Parliament from 1956 to 1972. And from that time to now what has really distinguished Graham Thompson as a firm is how the ethos of which I speak has always found expression in so many diverse ways through so many different partners.

Thus, the firm has produced the present Chief Justice; three Attorneys-General and Cabinet Ministers; three Senators; two Acting Supreme Court Justices; and the heads of a veritable plethora of Government commissions and statutory bodies, including the present Chairman of the Utilities Regulation Authority (URCA); the present Chairman of the Constitutional Commission; and the former chairpersons of bodies as varied as the Broadcasting Corporation, the Gaming Board, the Water & Sewerage Corporation, the Clifton Heritage Authority; the Vice-Chairman of the College of The Bahamas...and the list goes on and on.

Indeed just three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of appointing one of Graham Thompson's senior partners, Sean McWeeney Q.C., as The Bahamas' first-ever non-resident Ambassador to the Holy See (the Vatican), a move that fulfilled a promise I had made to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, during my official visit with him just a few months ago.

And so the tradition of service continues.

I really do therefore want to publicly commend you, Peter, and all the partners of the firm for ensuring that the tradition of public service has remained alive as an integral part of the ethos of Graham Thompson all through the years. It really does set you apart, and it really does set an example for others in law and in business to emulate.

I thank you once again for inviting me to share this important occasion with you, and I wish you every success in this important endeavour that you have undertaken here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Thank you, and good evening.

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