Commodore Raymond King became the country’s eighth commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) during a subdued ceremony at the RBDF Coral Harbour base on Thursday morning.
King, who has served on the force for more than three decades, takes over for Tellis Bethel, who will take up a position at the Ministry of National Security.
Governor General C. A. Smith presented King with his instruments of appointment.
King thanked the Ministry of National Security for trusting him to guide the force during this pivotal period in the nation’s history and pledged to transform the organization’s culture and command climate to one of inclusiveness.
King said he will also focus on organization and restructuring to achieve the ideal force design; mission readiness of the RBDF’s human capital; fleet maintenance and fostering greater appreciation for diversity.
He added that the development of professional and high performance workforce that is results-based, research-focused is also critical to his plan.
As he said his goodbyes to members of the RBDF, Commodore Bethel said it has been “a profound honor and a privilege to serve alongside the men and women of the best little navy in the world.”
He said his desire to lay a foundation on which a new generation of officers could build their lives and nation has been accomplished.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis saluted Bethel for his commitment to service.
“Commodore Bethel has been a consummate naval officer,” Minnis said. “He has demonstrated great patriotism and love of country.
“He leaves behind a legacy of integrity, dedicated service, and commitment to the success of the defense force and to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for which we are grateful.”
The prime minister also congratulated King on his appointment.
He said the country will rely on King’s commitment, experience and leadership during these extraordinary times.
“Your service as commander comes at a critical time for our nation, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minnis said to King.
“You have assumed command as the nation is still in the reconstruction phase in Abaco, the Abaco Cays, and Grand Bahama, after one of the most powerful hurricanes ever in our region.
“You must continue to set the standard of excellence in leadership, integrity and innovation in guarding our heritage and protecting our borders.”
The country remains under a 24-hour curfew due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been 97 confirmed cases of the virus in The Bahamas.