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Media Release from the Commissioner of Police

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As Commissioner of Police it is my sworn duty to lead the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Service and to uphold the law and protect life and property. Anyone who doubts my resolve and determination in this regard has never met me.

Emotions are running high in the country for a variety of reasons and my officers, staff and I are using all the resources available to us to keep people safe and bring offenders to justice. In doing so I have enlisted assistance from colleagues in other overseas territories and partner agencies to provide technical support, ensured that the latest forensic techniques are used to help solve serious crime and gained the expert support of officers from the United Kingdom on short term appointments.

At all times I operate within the limits of the criminal law and the Ordinances of Turks and Caicos when I seek to enlist help or acquire new equipment. I operate within the budget limit set by Government and seek to get the best value for Turks and Caicos. It is for that reason that I recommended to Government that we should continue to work with partners to install CCTV in the country and utilise our limited resources to purchase other much need equipment and support. I am grateful that the Premier now considering allocating additional funding for this important crime prevention and investigation aid. It will of course require to be underpinned by an appropriate Data Protection Ordinance to ensure the privacy of citizens and make evidence admissible in any court proceedings.

Through dedication and hard work my officers and seconded colleagues are arresting criminals and providing quality evidence to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Most recently this has resulted in one person being sent to trial for a murder in North Caicos and six persons arrested and charged in respect of a murder at the end of 2014. One more person is sought for this crime and we actively seek to arrest him. Officers have also recently charged a number of offenders for robberies and burglaries. In terms of the most recent murders we are following very positive lines of enquiry, as well as technical help we have received significant assistance from members of the public and together I hope we can bring more offenders to justice.

Last year I recommended the formation of a National Security Council to tackle the major issues facing the country. That body is in place, we will meet again soon to agree some practical measures to impact on crime and the causes of crime. I would however emphasize that the police service alone, cannot be held responsible for all of the ills that currently befall any society. We are a “can do” organization, but we cannot do everything. The support of our partners in law enforcement is vital to us but I know that they too need extra support in their challenging roles.

Keeping our borders secure is crucial, biometric information and the ability to easily take DNA samples will enhance our capabilities to solve crime and identify perpetrators, updated criminal evidence legislation, a change to the way we manage our roads, vehicles and driving licenses, along with a number of other legislative improvements that I have already discussed with government, should combine to significantly improve safety and security.

From the outset of my tenure I identified the need for a proper Police Headquarters which is a critical building block to enable sustained improvement. A purpose built facility will enable us to do many things much more effectively, such as; provide command and control facilities for all routine and emergency situations;

provide a safe environment for the victims and witnesses of crime; securely keep persons in custody and comply with international law; provide interview facilities ensuring high quality evidence to courts, give officers and staff adequate working space to carry out their daily duties and feel valued in the community, amongst many others. I recognize the funding constraints for Government, but hope that this facility will materialise in due course, possibly with private sector funding involvement.

The father of modern day policing, Sir Robert Peel, set basic tenets for us to live up to as police officers and they are as relevant today as they were then. Paramount amongst them is that “The police are the public and the public are the police”. My officers are part of the community, they have the same concerns as you all do and the same desire and determination to make a difference. By working together we can change the paradigm and take the fight to the men of violence in our society and those who would harm our family, friends and beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

James Smith

Commissioner of Police

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CHTA President Praises Jamaica’s Hurricane Preparedness, Assures Ongoing Support

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KINGSTON, Jamaica– President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Nicola Madden-Greig, has praised the strength of local and regional public-private sector partnerships, while congratulating tourism stakeholders across Jamaica for their strong level of preparedness in weathering the dangerous Category 4 Hurricane Beryl, which impacted the island this week.

“Jamaica was spared the worst of the hurricane and we have now returned to regular business operations,” said Madden-Greig, who rode out the storm at her office in Kingston. She reported that Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay and Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios opened today, while Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston will open on Friday, July 5, after minor repairs are completed.

“We have no reports of any guests being injured during the passage of the storm, and the majority of the hotels and the tourism industry in general have emerged unscathed,” Madden-Greig added.

However, she expressed concerns for the south coast of the island, where many local communities were impacted, along with several independent hotels and villa operations.

“We will be including these operators in our disaster relief efforts, particularly in the Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth area,” she noted, explaining however that she had little doubt that this resilient community will rebound in the shortest possible time.

The trade association leader was encouraged with the reports emanating from the Cayman Islands, which confirmed no major impact on the sector there. “We are thankful to God for sparing us for the most part, and we are now resolved to getting our industry back on track, while serving communities (especially those in the Grenadines) who are in dire need at this time,” said Madden-Greig.

Individuals, businesses and organizations that want to contribute to regional hurricane relief efforts may make a monetary donation at www.chtaef.com.

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CARICOM raising profile and priority of its Migration Policy; curbing challenges ‘a tall order’

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is committed to work with Member States and other stakeholders to implement a “forward-thinking regional migration policy,” according to its Assistant Secretary General, Alison Drayton.

Addressing the opening of a recent three-day workshop titled “Towards a Regional Approach to a Migration Policy in the Caribbean,” in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, she said it is evident that the Region has been facing, and will continue to face, various challenges that affect the lives and livelihoods of Caribbean citizens.

“Namely, due to Climate Change, which has amplified displacements and the need for persons to migrate from areas that threaten their livelihoods or limit their opportunities to prosper and provide for their families,” the ASG told the forum, adding that the Climate Change and natural disasters remain “key drivers of displacements in the Region.”

“With the frequency and magnitude of events likely to increase in the future, this has contributed to many regional States facing demographic decline, which has impacted their workforce, our younger population seeking job opportunities outside the Region, and many key sectors being negatively impacted,” she stated.

The CARICOM official underscored that tackling the challenges would be “a tall order,” hence the Regional body’s commitment that would help address various aspects of Regional migration and human mobility as determined by Member State priorities.

Lauding the Government of Trinidad and Tobago for hosting the workshop, and the and valuable technical contributions made by the United Nations (UN) Migration Group and financial contributions from the United States Department of State, the European Union, and the Inter-American Development Bank, she said  the their efforts have been significant.

The contribution made by International Organization for Migration (IOM), has advanced the policy, with provision of consultancies to coordinate the Community’s work through the Regional Approach to Migration Policy (RAMP) Steering Committee and development of the framework, she highlighted.

For Trinidad and Tobago’s National Security Minister, the Hon. Fitzgerald Hinds, his country is also committed to contributing to the development of a regional migration policy framework that reflects the priorities of the people of the Caribbean Community.

“As we embark on this journey together, let us harness the expertise, the insights and the experiences that we already have among us as we gather here today to shape the policy framework that is in front of us,” the Minister said, adding that the current migration realities “should prepare us for future challenges.”

The technical workshop brought together National Focal Points from the CARICOM Member States, and representatives of relevant regional and international organisations, building on IOM’s Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) assessments, and other consultations held with national Governments of CARICOM Member States in 2023.

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Government Earmarks $300M for Post-Hurricane Dengue Mitigation

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#Kingston, Jamaica, July 19, 2024 – The Government has earmarked $300 million to ramp up dengue mitigation activities, inclusive of fogging, treatment of mosquito breeding sites, removal of bulky waste and drain cleaning, in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl.

Addressing the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 16), Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the funds have been allocated to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, which will spearhead vector-control activities over the next six weeks.

He further informed that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and National Works Agency (NWA), “are technically involved in this dengue mitigation [exercise] by trying to clear the environmental conditions that would create the growth in the vector”.

Mr. Holness highlighted the potential for a significant increase in the dengue vector, the Aedes aegpyti mosquito, which breeds primarily in containers, consequent on  the hurricane’s passage.

“We know that many communities are being plagued by the increase in the mosquito population… and other vectors [such as] roaches, rats and flies. Therefore, the cleanup and removal and clearing of waterlogged areas is of critical importance,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister noted that the hot summer conditions, along with rainfall, will further contribute to heightening the possibility of an increase in these vectors and the transmission of diseases.

As such, he appealed to Jamaicans to properly store water in covered containers and destroy mosquito breeding sites around their homes.

“I urge all homeowners who are storing water and… leaving the containers open, that an easy way to control the growth of the mosquito population in your households is to cover the containers,” Mr. Holness said.

He pointed out that the NSWMA will shortly announce a schedule for the removal of bulky waste from homes.

Prime Minister Holness further indicated that the NWA will be actively cleaning various gullies.

Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, and joint and muscle pains. These are often resolved through rest and adequate hydration along with the use of paracetamol to treat the accompanying fever.

 

Contact: Chris Patterson

Release: JIS

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