Only one or two verses of the National Anthem is sung at official ceremonies
God Save the Queen
We Salute This Land of Ours
Our people forged and blend
We stand with courage brave
Colours were selected for each island:
Red for Grand Turk representing the red/pink fruit of the national plant, the Turks Head Cactus;
White for Salt Cay and the colour of salt;
Orange for South and East Caicos showing off the colours of the spiny lobster and fish as well as the fishing industry in South Caicos;
Tan for Middle Caicos and the natural colour of the island’s thatch that covered most of the early homes and roofs and today the colour represents the crafts of basket weaving, straw hats and brooms;
Green for North Caicos and Parrot Cay where fruit trees and others flourish in the fertile soil along with Wades Green Plantation where cotton grew and flourished in days gone by;
Turquoise for Providenciales, Pine Cay and West Caicos where the turquoise water surrounds us and contributes to bringing us our newest resource of tourism.
While the term coat of arms is applied to the full achievement (in this case, shield, helmet, mantling, crest and supporters), in sensu strictu the term applies to the shield only. So it is correct to say that the arms are displayed on the Blue Ensign.
The arms consist of a shield bearing a conch shell, lobster, and Turks Head Cactus on a yellow background. The dexter and sinister supporters are flamingos. The crest is a pelican between two sisal plants representing connection to the rope industry.
Beneath the crest and above the shield is a helmet and accompanying mantling. In paper heraldry mantling is a depiction of the protective cloth covering worn by knights from their helmets to stave off the elements, and, secondarily, to decrease the effects of sword-blows against the helmet in battle, from which it is usually shown tattered or cut to shreds.
The shield from the arms is featured on the flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and on the 6 defaced Union Flag of the Governor.
Common errors made in the rendering of the Turks and Caicos Coat of Arms include:
The colour of sisal beneath the pelican: the correct colour is green.
The colour of the shield: the correct colour is yellow.
The colour of the Turks Head Cactus on the shield: The correct colour is a dark green base with a red cylindrical top.
The colour of the mantling: the correct colours are yellow and aqua.
Caribbean spiny lobsters (Panulirus argus) inhabit tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. This nocturnal species inhabits crevices of rocks and coral reefs, only occasionally venturing out at night to seek snails, clams, crabs, sea urchins or carrion to eat. Sometimes, they migrate in very large groups in long files of lobsters across the sea floor. These lines may be more than 50 lobsters long. Spiny lobsters navigate by using the smell and taste of natural substances in the water that change in different parts of the ocean.
Flamingos also have long, lean, curved necks and black-tipped bills with a distinctive downward bend that allows them to feed on small organisms—plankton, tiny fish, fly larvae, and the like. In muddy flats or shallow water, they use their long legs and webbed feet to stir up the bottom. They then bury their bills, or even their entire heads, and suck up both mud and water to access the tasty morsels within. A flamingo's beak has a filter like structure to remove food from the water before the liquid is expelled.
Shrimplike crustaceans are responsible for the flamingo's pink colour. The birds pale in captivity unless their diet is supplemented.
Greater flamingos live and feed in groups called flocks or colonies. They find safety in numbers, which helps to protect individual birds from predators while their heads are down in the mud. Greater flamingos also breed while gathered in groups. Once mating is complete, a pair takes turns incubating their single egg. Young flamingos are born grey and white and do not turn pink for two years. In years when wetlands and pools are dry and food scarce, flamingos may not breed.
The queen conch is a large, marine, gastropod mollusc. Queen conchs achieve full size at about 3- 5 years of age, growing to a maximum of about 12 inches (30.4 cm) long and weighing about 5 pounds (2.3 kg). The queen conch is a long-lived species, generally reaching 20-30 years old; however, the lifespan has been estimated at up to 40 years. The queen conch lives in sand, sea grass bed, and coral reef habitats. It is found in warm, shallow water and is generally not found deeper than 70 feet. The queen conch is found throughout the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, and ranges as far north as Bermuda and as far south as Brazil.
The Turks Head cactus (Melocactus intortus) gets its name from its cylindrical red flowering top (called a cephalium), which to some early botanists resembled a Turkish fez. The rounded, pale green stem is the photosynthetic body, produced when the plant is young. Up to 20 large, broad ribs run up the length of the stem, and it is covered in stout, yellow-brown spines which may measure up to 7 centimetres.
The cephalium or red cap is produced when the Turk’s head cactus reaches maturity, and continues to grow until the plant dies. It is a dense mass of areoles, made up of white wool and soft brown or reddish bristles. The small, generally pinkish flowers form on top of the cephalium. The conspicuous fruits of the Turk’s head cactus are broad and club-shaped, and are usually red or pink.
The Turk’s head cactus is widespread in the Turks and Caicos Islands and occurs throughout the Caribbean, including the Antilles, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Antigua and Barbuda.
The heather’s scientific name is Limonium bahamense. This species is endemic to the Turks & Caicos and is restricted to just a few of the islands. The heather likes to grow around the edges of Salinas. It is a small herbaceous plant, up to 30 centimetres tall with tiny purple flowers, surrounded by a white sheath clustered together around the end of a red stem.
The flag of the Turks and Caicos Islands is similar to the flags of other British dependencies and colonies as it has the Union Flag in the canton. It was adopted on November 7, 1968. It is a defaced Blue Ensign; the yellow (badge) shield is taken from the territory's coat of arms and contains a conch shell, lobster, and cactus, it is being encompassed by an imaginary circle of diameter measuring 4/9 hoist width of flag.
A red Ensign is used by the Merchant Navy
image by Martin Grieve, 21 June 2004
State Ensign (1968)
Incorrect TCI Flags
Diplomatic Service Flag – The Governor’s Flag
The Governor flew the Union flag defaced with laurel garland, the badge enclosed within, but unfortunately it is not known when the Union Jack defaced with the present badge came into use.