#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – Wednesday July 18, 2018 – Border Control leaders of the Turks and Caicos were directly targeted in several acts of vandalism, violence and home invasion last fiscal year, yet there remains no extra security assigned to these high risk roles.
During the Budget contribution of the Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon Sean Astwood, it was explained that the men and women who led and continue to lead the crackdown on illegal immigration suffered varying levels of criminal attacks.
“Mr. Speaker, we have officers that were physically harmed, my PS’s car was vandalized and Mr. Speaker, my home broken into, but not once did we give up or did we let this country down. Mr. Speaker, some of those persons are here with us this morning and I will ask those from my Ministry in the gallery to stand and be recognized. Please allow me Mr. Speaker, to use this platform to publicly say thank you all, for believing in my vision and leadership and for the hard work you have put in, day and night. I say Thank You!”
It was more of a thank you message from the Border Control and Employment Minister, however, the dangerous revelation is now cause for pause.
Magnetic Media contacted the Deputy Premier today, he explained to us that he is also concerned by the lack of security and said while there has been no formal request for more personal security, the matter was raised, by him, at the National Security Council on two separate occasions.
“Of coarse I think security is necessary. Given the policies that my team and I are carrying forward as it relates to illegal immigration, it is necessary as the measures have created a high risk to our personal security,” said Minister Astwood via phone.
The last time the United Kingdom was faced with potential danger to law agents in the Turks and Caicos, there was immediate action and national spending approval. It was expressed to media, at the time, that there were very real threats to the attorneys and others who make up the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team, which is responsible for the ongoing corruption trial against the former Mike Misick administration.
The monies were added to public spending despite a firm rejection at the Cabinet level by the then Rufus Ewing led-PNP Administration. It caused a firestorm of controversy within the Territory, as locally elected officials were over ruled by the UK-appointed Chief Financial Officer. The multi-million dollar extra spending on SIPT security was never allowed to go to the House of Assembly for debate.
A Magnetic Media report on the controversial matter in August 2016 said this:
“Last year the UK forced the nation to pay a $2.2 million bill after the PNP Administration rejected the extra security costs, needed said SIPT due to death threats. The UK Chief Financial Officer pulled rank and bypassed locally elected Government to get approval to authorize the money through the FCO in London. The original request was for a staggering, $4.3 million under the TCI Police.”
In the most recent draft Budget booklet for the Turks and Caicos Islands, it is itemized on page 158, 159 that the SIPT is actually still being supported in boosted security by millions; $3.8 million in spending on security and operational is budgeted this upcoming financial year. For last financial year, the actual is placed at over $3.25 million.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Deputy Premier and Minister of Border Control and Employment, Sean Astwood confirmed that only the Premier and Governor are designated security detail. Both he and the Deputy Governor – who is also often the face of enforcement in the TCI – are without personal security despite the nature of their jobs.
Magnetic Media has asked the Governor for comment.