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Ministry of Youth, Honours Capt. Fernely Palmer–More Than five Decades In Boys’ Brigade

A 74-year veteran of the Bahamas Boys’ Brigade, Captain Fernely is this year’s Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture National Youth Month honoree, and will have bestowed him the Lifetime Achievement Recognition for his outstanding service.


With October being recognized as Youth Month, under the theme VOICE (Vehicles Of Initiative, Change and Excellence), the Ministry has chosen Capt. Palmer for his years of service as Captain of the 14th Company of Boys’ Brigade, attached to Zion Baptist Church, East and Shirley Streets.


Capt. Palmer, who recently returned from Antigua and Barbuda just weeks before Hurricane Irma, told the Journal in an exclusive interview, that he was enrolled in the Boys Brigade company by his father who wanted to instill in him discipline.


“In 1943 my father took me to Wesley Methodist Church, and enrolled me in the Boys Brigade.


“My father was a Jamaican police officer, and I think that he wanted his son to be disciplined, so he enrolled me in the 1st Nassau Boys’ Brigade Company, and I stick with the Boys Brigade from then,” Mr. Palmer said.


“I got to like the PE, and the drill part of it, the physical part of it and I fell in love with the Boys Brigade and here I am 74 years later, still a member of the Boys Brigade,” he said.


Capt. Palmer grew within the Brigade and received a leadership rank in 1958.


“On the 9th of September 1958, the late Rev. Talmadge Sands made him a captain of the 14th Nassau Company of Boys Brigade connected with Zion Church along with six other officers.


“From the 9th September 1958 until this day, I remain the captain some 59 years later,” Capt. Palmer said.


Coining his own phrase, that is now copyrighted, Capt. Palmer said that he stayed active in Boys’ Brigade because of his passion to mold young lives.


“In Scotland in 1962 a New Zealand officer, Kingsley Shakespeare, asked me why I liked the Boys’ Brigade, and instantly I said to him because ‘I’d rather Build a Boy than to Mend a man’.


“It is now copyright, and it is used almost throughout the world, in particular in the Caribbean.


“Every country in the Caribbean I gave them the right to use that,” Capt. Palmer boasted.


When asked what makes Boys’ Brigade a great organization, Capt. Palmer said that the ingredients incorporated into the organization makes for cultivating good seed.


“The ingredients we put into Boys’ Brigade is discipline and religion.


“Any country, any home, any business without religion and discipline they must fail.


“The Boys’ Brigade was started in 1835 in Glasgow Scotland by William and Alexander Smith, on the twin pillar of religion and discipline and we started in the Bahamas 13 November 1909 and until now the Boys’ Brigade has flourished.


“We are disciplined and punctual,” Capt. Palmer said.


Capt. Palmer also said that he has seen more than 3,000 boys pass through his Brigade Company.


“If I can calculate, and average about 60-64 per year for 59 years, so those who can do the Math, they can see.


“Some brilliant men passed through the Boys Brigade in general, but in particular 14th company, Ken Strachan ACP, Stephen Dean ACP, Supt. Shawn Smith, ASP Walter Henderson, RBDF Shawn Thurston,” Capt. Palmer said.


As he deemed it a privilege to serve as captain of the Boys’ Brigade, Capt. Palmer said that words could not express his gratitude to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for the honour.


“Let me take this opportunity to say thanks to Prime Minister Minnis and his entire Cabinet in particular Mr. Pintard who is the Minister of Youth and Mr. Turnquest and their entire staff.


“I cannot find words to express my gratitude for what they have done for me and what they will continue to do for me in the month of October, it is greatly appreciated.


“Mr. Minnis and your government, I cannot find adequate words to say how grateful I am for their honors bestowed upon me during this month.


During the month of October, a host of activities will take place that will honour Capt. Palmer’s service to Boys’ Brigade, which includes the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 31st National Youth Recognition Ceremony on October 25, 2017.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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