#Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands – Wednesday June 27, 2018 – The new Budget proposal for the Turks and Caicos Islands has doubled spending for the handling of illegal migrants, which takes projected costs for expenses like detention and repatriation to $2 million.
The boost is in response to the escalation in illegal sloops to the country and supports a more vigorous approach to enforcement of illegal residency by the Ministry of Border Control and Employment.
Director of Immigration, Derek Been was reporting to the Appropriations Committee at the House of Assembly on Monday about the supersized budget linked to illegal migration; a vexing issue for islanders and one which has given rise to special operations where some 400 illegals have been arrested since March.
Mr. Been said there have been eight official round-ups under the banner of Operation Guardian which is staffed by Turks and Caicos law enforcers from Immigration, Labour and Police. However, the special-ops have also welcomed law enforcers from the Cayman Islands, Interpol, the UK and the US with ongoing dialogue activated with The Bahamas.
There were probing questions about the need for such a sharp spike from last year’s projected $1.4 million, which was not spent in full according to Appropriations Committee member, Hon Ruth Blackman. The South Caicos MP questioned the need to allot over $2 million for the upcoming financial year.
“It’s a direct correlation in terms of what we are seeing in trends. Last year in terms of costs, we repatriated 1,335 persons from the Turks and Caicos Islands and as of yesterday, we repatriated 1,261 persons back to their homelands so far (for 2018). We are anticipating at least a 100% increase in that area and that is not only due to anticipated vessel landings, but increased compliance as well.”
Mr. Been referenced an earlier statement by the Permanent Secretary, Susan Malcolm, who at the start of the inquiries into Border Control and Employment’s $11m budget allocation for 2018-2019 informed the nation that ‘ccompliance and enforcement are the new drivers for the Ministry, no longer revenue generation’.
“The anticipated $2 million in expenditure for repatriation somewhat synchs with what we envision happening in this financial year,” explained Mr. Been who also provided a breakdown of spending for housing and repatriating illegal migrants, as requested by Committee Charmian, Hon Doug Parnell.
For the 2017-2018 Budget Year:
Other Tickets 17,980.00
Scabies Outbreak 16,000.00
Vehicle Rentals 43,727.00
Security service 372,949.00
The sum shared with the Appropriations Committee on Monday June 25, 2018 by the Director puts average spending per arrested immigrant at $850USD per person.