Parting words: US Consul Grace Shelton. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Parting words: US Consul Grace Shelton. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 29: A photographic exhibition of US presidents on the island and Bermuda’s Premiers in the US is to find a permanent home at the National Museum in Dockyard, outgoing US Consul General Grace Shelton said yesterday.

Ms Shelton – who masterminded the exhibition at Masterworks earlier this year – said it was aimed to make the record of Bermuda-US relations a permanent fixture on the island.

She said: “It underlines the close relationship the United States and Bermuda have had for centuries.”

The photographic record spanning more than 60 years includes 1946 images of President Harry Truman, the first serving US head of state to visit Bermuda, pictures of John F. Kennedy on a trip to the island and Bill Clinton and wife Hillary, now Secretary of State in the Obama administration, on holiday here.

Ms Shelton was speaking as she summed up her three years in Bermuda before leaving this week for a new job at the State Department in Washington.

She said: “I arrived on the island when Bermuda was celebrating its 400th anniversary – a lot of that history is intertwined with the history of the United States.”

Ms Shelton also highlighted trips she had brokered for Bermudians to examine US approaches to early childhood education and ways to encourage entrepreneurship as evidence of the concrete advantages of close relationships between Bermuda and its giant neighbour.

Ms Shelton added that NASA – which operated a tracking station at Cooper’s Island for decades – had once again returned to Bermuda with a mobile station to assist the US space programme.

She said: “Once again, Bermuda and the US are partners in space. NASA and Bermuda will also work together to create an educational programme in Bermuda.”

Ms Shelton added that the internationally-renowned BIOS station in St George’s was an acknowledged leader in ocean sciences.

She said: “We have been involved in research into climate change – BIOS is a US institution and they are just doing great work in this field.”

Ms Shelton added her only disappointment on her departure was “that there wasn’t enough time.”

But she said: “There are no regrets – it’s been a marvellous time and I want to thank the people of Bermuda for being so welcoming and supportive.

Ziggy Marley

“I am going to miss Bermuda and Bermudians and I love the fact that Bermudians like our country and treasure it.”

Ms Shelton added: “There are so many memories – the people, the Gombeys, listening to Ziggy Marley on the beach.

“I also did my advanced diving here and I’ve been on some amazing dives.

“I’ve just enjoyed being with people, meeting different artists, seeing what people have accomplished here. This job is a two-fold pleasure.

“I get to represent the United States which, as an American, is a huge honour and I got to meet so many different Bermudians. That’s been a real pleasure.”

Ms Shelton added: “I’d like to be remembered as a good representative of the United States and I hope that people remember me as someone who cared and wanted to be a good representative of the United States.

“There are so many things I will remember, I don’t think I could name them all, unless you say the people, closely followed by the beauty of Bermuda.

“I loved SCUBA diving in Bermuda and the beaches – they really are pink beaches, which I love.”