As the tributes pour in for murdered former civil servant Alpheus Gardiner, Deputy Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams has described him as a sector giant.
Gardiner was shot during a robbery incident midmorning Thursday by two armed men, as he exited a jewellery store and was about to enter his vehicle inside the Arch Plaza Parking Lot along the Leeward Highway, Providenciales.
He was taken to the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre, where he later succumbed to his injuries while undergoing an emergency operation.
His death sent shockwaves through the Turks and Caicos Islands community, with scores of persons taking to the various social media platforms to voice their disbelief, anger and sadness.
Among those who issued public tribute was Deputy Governor Williams.
“Today the TCI lost a public service giant, a devoted husband, father, grandfather and son of the soil,” the deputy governor lamented.
She added: “Mr. Alpheus Gardiner dedicated over 30 years of service to the public service and people of the Turks and Caicos Islands… having excelled to one of the highest public service positions as Establishment Secretary, where he helped to provide employment opportunities to many persons in the TCI including myself.”
She described him as caring and hardworking, noting that it was a delight to have worked with him in the sector.
“One of the most-hard working, inspiring and caring persons I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I, like many others, am deeply saddened by his passing and wish to extend my deepest condolences to his family.
“It was an esteemed pleasure to have known and worked with Mr. Gardiner. Thank you for the knowledge, words of wisdom and encouragement imparted over the years and for paving the way for persons like me,” she expressed.
Minister of Health Hon. Jamell Robinson, during his news conference on Friday, expressed outrage at his death. He took the opportunity to also extend best wishes to Gardiner’s family on behalf of the government.
Gardiner’s fellow North Caicos resident, Jasmine (Jas) Walkin, noted that due to his invaluable service to the Turks and Caicos Islands, has advocated for the country’s flag to be flown at half-mast.
“Mr. Alpheus Gardiner served in various leadership roles in TCI Public Service for more than 45 years at some of the highest level. No, he wasn't a politician, but he was a dedicated public Servant. I'm calling on TCI Government to lower the country's flag half-mast. His service to this country deserves such an honour,” Walkin said, referring to the snuffing out to Gardiner’s Life as senseless.
“Alpheus Gardiner dedicated almost his entire life to the public service of this country and was a nation builder who like many other occasions was minding his own business, and just like that, his life was robbed. He was a husband, father, brother, a cousin, and a friend. This is wrong and makes me angry. He deserved better,” Walking lamented.
Sabrina Green, Director for Turks and Caicos Islands Human Rights Commission, expressed ‘absolute outrage’ at Gardiner’s demise. Green described him as one of her favourite mentors and a great patriot.
“He was one of the best PSs (permanent secretaries) I’ve had the pleasure of ever working with and being mentored by. It is an absolute outrage what had happened to this great TCI patriot, whose service to the nation was delivered with pride and integrity,” Green noted.
The killers, it was said, escaped in Gardiner’s white pick-up truck. At post time, the police did not report whether the vehicle was recovered or if any suspects were apprehended.