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Letter to the Editor, from former TCI Deputy Police Commissioner

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Turks and Caicos, June 26, 2017 –

Ms. Hamilton

I think that you are doing  a great job covering the crime situation in the TCI as always.   It is however, unfortunate and must be  disappointing to the people of TCI that the two Commissioners who succeed Mr Hall as Commissioner cannot find an answer to tackle the  violent crime situation in TCI.   Based on recent events anyone with common sense will come to the conclusion that Mr Hall and his management team was doing their best with the limited resources they had to get the job done.

The facts are policing an archipelago will always have its challenges for all Commissioners local or from the UK or Canada.  The truth is the police force is asked to do more with less resources and the lack of funds to provide the necessary training for the 20% committed officers who do all the work.   I was once told by a former British senior police officer that he cannot come to Turks and Caicos Island and tell the local police how to police the Turks and Caicos islands because of his lack of local knowledge.   In addition one of them admitted to me that the first time he saw a kilo of cocaine is when he came to TCI in charge of the criminal investigation drug squad.   Policing an archipelago like Turks and Caicos  requires a Command team with good local knowledge of the environment, national culture and subcultures of the different island and families, and good human investigation management training and skills .   It call for a great deal of knowledge on how to police the air, land and sea in order to control gun crime in particular.

There is a lot of talk about that the public is not providing the local police with information to assist in  the prevention and detection of crimes.   That is so because the police don’t have  a good relationship with the public.   When it comes to relationships everything starts with self respect  and respect for others.   Are the officers who are charged with the responsibility to prevent and detect crimes conducting themselves in a respectable manner when dealing with members of the public in order to gain their respect.   Respect will lead to shared values to improve public confidence in the force.   Shared values will lead to trust.   Without trust no one will speak to the police in confidence.   In order to prevent and detect crime the level of trust within the ranks of the force must be high as well.   I’m not convinced if that is the case within the RTCIPF at the moment.

From the media reports it seems that violent crimes continues to be a great concern for residents and the public confidence in the police to deal with such crimes is low.

My approach to such a situation would be to divide crimes in the following four categories: exploitive crimes, mutualistic crimes, competitive crimes and individual crimes.   Exploitive crimes are predatory crimes in which the offender injure or kill a person or seize or damage another’s property.   They are crimes such as murder, rape, robbery burglary and aggravated burglary etc.   Exploitive crimes should take priority; therefore more resources to be deployed to prevent such crimes.   Competitive crimes where two people or groups act in the same capacity involve physical conflict against each other, such as gang crimes.   More training and resources need to be directed in this type of crime and equally important as exploitive crimes because such crimes involved murder and serious injury as well.

Mutualistic crimes where two people are groups engage in complementary crimes such as drug transactions, human smuggling/trafficking etc.   To prevent this types of crime requires real time intelligence and good coordination locally, regionally and internationally.   I agree that every effort must be made to prevent this type of crime but in most cases if successful it does not have an impact in terms of fear and emotional stress on  residence like exploitive and competitive crimes.   Individualistic crimes are crimes committed by an individual  such as drug use and abuse.   Such crimes could be considered victimless crimes if the drugs are used for recreational purpose and not as a motive to commit other serious crimes.   A lot of police resources is used chasing and arresting persons for a joint for personal use.   I am not suggesting that such crime should not be policed  but instead suggesting that more time and resources should be allocated to exploitive and competitive crimes.

The truth is the offenders who commit such crimes are motivated and most likely have performed the hedonistic calculus of weighing the risks and rewards.   They most likely select the targets where they believe the rewards are high and the risk of getting caught in the act of committing is low because of in effective policing methods and poor deployment of resources.   The criminals seem to be on step ahead of the police in terms of planning and targeting their victims..   I’m sure there is enough data in the intelligence system to direct the Command of the force to develop a crime prevention and reduction plan that is ninety to ninety five percent preventative and five to ten percent investigative and punitive action.   In other word the focus should be on prevention by being proactive and not investigative and reactive policing.   When prevention fails you end up with the two most expensive aspects of policing investigation and prosecution if the offenders are caught.

The crimes are committed by persons on the streets who are street smart with good local knowledge of the environment and culture they are operating in.   Likewise you need street police officers of all ranks to deal with the present situation.   The information is on the streets and not in the wine bars in Grace Bay, therefore you need officers with the ability to communicate effectively with the guys on the streets without creating a us and them environment that eventually lead to hostility towards the police.

I thought I should share my views with you after reading about the most recent events in Grace Bay.   I called for you today to have a chat but you did not answer so I decided to email you my thoughts on the situation.

Regards

Hubert M Hughes

Former Deputy Commissioner

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Caribbean News

Grants for farmers

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#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony.  For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.

This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment

In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support

  • Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
  • New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
  • Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD

To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.

Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.

Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.

I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.

My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.

Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister

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Bahamas News

U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership.  To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million.  The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.

The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian.  Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services.  The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security.  These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.

In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”

Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets.  The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.

RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022.  We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years.  Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”

In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime.  On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”

Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau

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Bahamas News

Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
 
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
 
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
 
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
 
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
 
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
 
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
 
 
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
 
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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