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EDITORIAL – Saving the Judah Gails; are we doing enough?

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#Turks and Caicos Islands – Saturday August 4, 2018 – Was enough done to rescue murdered man, Judah Gail?  I admit to not knowing all of the intimate details of the life of the man gunned down in the parking lot of a popular Providenciales lounge early on Friday morning, but I do have an understanding of this type of story and it is continues to be, to me, deeply distressing.

If you have been following the reports, you would have read or heard that Judah Gail seems to have been a menace to society, who was cold and heartless, with no respect for the rule of law and, by his own words in a video posted two weeks ago, willing to kill anyone who got in his way.

It is a sad eulogy and those who knew him best are not surprised at his demise.

I did not know Judah Gail.  I do know that his name means Praise and that his life appeared to be exactly the opposite of one which would be praised in a civilized society.

I did some asking though.  I learned that as a little boy, Judah – who is Turks and Caicos, Jamaican and Haitian – lost his mother.  A little boy was suddenly all alone and left to raise himself pretty much by himself.  I have been told that his mother’s sister did come over from Haiti eventually to assist in rearing the child, but perhaps it was too little, too late.

Perhaps no one really considered how the loss of his mother affected him emotionally and how, if left unaddressed, his feelings of sadness and hurt, turned inside out could become a monster and maybe it did.

Learning this about Judah Gail’s life caused me to read the words of other people who lost their mother or father or both parents while still young children.  These words were particularly striking to me:

The sad fact is… there is pain which there is no cure for. This is such pain.
You can’t do anything to fill that void, nor take away the pain.

Life sucks when you lose a single parent let alone both. You stop being a child. Your loss is presented to you daily (friends with their both parents etc.) which all hurt and you can’t really prevent it. You hear the word ”Dad” out of your friends mouths which hurt too…because you can’t use that word anymore (or the word Mom)

Judah, born in the Turks and Caicos Islands, inherited a string of apartments and rented them in his community of Kew Town in Providenciales.

Despite this blessing, young Mr. Gail, was no stranger to incarceration found himself walking through a revolving door.  Judah was in and out of jail since his teenage years.

At around 14, Judah Gail was sent by the Turks and Caicos Islands to a boys’ correctional institution in Jamaica.  There, I am told, Judah saw drug peddling, Judah saw violent stabbings, Judah witnessed murder and bloody assaults.  Judah was hardened and not helped by this experience and then he returned home.

I am also told that the Jamaica boys’ institution to which teen trouble makers were banished by the Turks and Caicos were all ruined not rehabilitated.  These teenage boys were toughened, now as young men, they threaten the peace and serenity of the Turks and Caicos Islands today.

There is an image of Judah Gail flashing a ‘gunk’ of money in his grasp and video of him boldly smoking illegal marijuana as he gives a commentary about street life and rules, using the most profane language.

I asked if the money was authentic and if Judah’s sentiments were his credo.  I am told the money was very real and Gail, without getting regular employment, was living the high life.  There were brand new cars, ‘money like dirt’, and he was a bossy guy and a bully of a man with a deadly habit.

Judah Gail, loved to credit the stuff he sold.  That stuff was said to be illicit drugs.  Gail would borrow the drugs – marijuana and cocaine – with the promise to flip it and pay a profit to the lending drug-dealer.

I know. Sounds fantastic right? And not in a good way!  It is very concerning.  But it is what I am told.  

This is the life young men, too many of our young men are living and loving in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The Judah Gails are on brilliant display and our young boys are watching the show.  They are lapping up this apparently luxurious life which seems so very possible, so very profitable when compared to the stories and sagas of their working fathers and uncles.

Gail and his cohorts are earning thousands of dollars per week without a traditional job.  They seem to have all they want and more than they need.  And while the risk is high and the life is illegal, the rewards may seem to be worth the while.  After all, the hard working, honest fathers and uncles are struggling to make ends meet and to buy even a little Japanese car to get around.

Honesty is devalued.  Hard work on a job site is scorned.  The criminal life can become a glamorous alternative to a silly kid bombarded with silly notions about what really matters in life.  Our problem, as those who chose the honest path, is not in the not knowing.  Our problem, as leaders and movers and shakers, is in the not doing enough.  Turks and Caicos must recognize, that despite headlines of falling crime rates and modernisations in policing; we have a problem where a life of crime is dangerously camouflaging itself as good and this is a gross misrepresentation.

The spiritual enemy, which so many of us believe exists due to our predominantly Christian faith, is working creatively and assiduously to delude and deceive our young men and the Satan we know will kill them, steal them, destroy them.   

In keeping score or a tally by strictly looking at the national murder rate, we may be distracted and duped into believing we are way ahead of that enemy’s game.

But a murder rate is not a true indicator of what is really happening among our youth and young men in a broader sense.  In one day, two are killed and what a tragic loss this is… but in the one day, we also see how many more young men are rejoicing in the killings, endorsing the murders and prepared to keep on taking lives and creating havoc.

Crime and criminality is not a Turks and Caicos problem.  But the ongoing spree of violence – which we have seen is unafraid of threatening preachers, teachers, executives, government ministers, law enforcers, grand-mothers, little children or tourists and guests – begs the question, are we doing enough?  Are we finding creative and effective ways to represent a life of rightness and discourage a life of wrongness.  Are we there for each other at those critical, pivotal, life-shaping times.  Is there enough energy toward empathy? Are we investing the time, creating an equitable environment and are we willing to invest the sweat today to shape the Turks and Caicos we want for tomorrow?

I do not believe we are there.  I want to be wrong. I need to be wrong.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

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No truth to rumor, Anya Williams will remain TCI’s Deputy Governor

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2022 – Manufactured as mischief or some kind of advocacy for other members of the Public Service deemed worthy of the role of deputy governor, Nigel Dakin, Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands found himself tonight denying a widely circulated rumor.  He said there was no truth to the current ‘DG’ being replaced by either Wesley Clerveaux or Althea Been or anyone for that matter.

“With regard to the DG’s tenure, this is simply fake and manufactured news.  The DG serves at Her Majesty’s pleasure,” said Dakin in a statement shared with media tonight.

Governor Dakin was quoting, in part, Section 25 (1) of the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, which also says, “…shall be a Turks and Caicos Islander and shall be appointed by the Governor in pursuance of instructions given by Her Majesty through a Secretary of State, and who shall hold office during Her Majesty’s pleasure.”

Magnetic Media had questioned Deputy Governor Anya Williams, directly about the rumor being shared over social media platforms.  She advised that the Governor would speak to the issue, and he did.  Via email, to our newsroom and other media houses was an unequivocal response.

“I also note that within that fake news both Wesley Clerveaux and Althea Been are mentioned as potential successors.  In one sense it is excellent that their names are called out – they are excellent Permanent Secretaries – and the good news is there are others that could have been named – who have the capability – and there are Deputy Secretaries who could one day also aspire. The bench at this level is both wide and deep, reinforcing the present incumbent who is a ‘rock’, on which much of TCI depends – particularly at time of crisis,” informed the governor.

Still, it is Anya Williams who tops his list as tremendously competent and suited to the job at this time in Turks and Caicos.  His confidence, he says is shared by the Cabinet.

“Anya Williams, is one of the most dedicated and effective leaders I’ve had the good fortune to work with.

Beyond that myself, the Premier and Deputy Premier have for example recently lauded her over her leadership during the height of Hurricane FIONA.  While I am Governor, Anya Williams will remain Deputy Governor and my strong recommendation to my successor – whenever my successor is appointed – is he or she could not have a better person to be able to rely on.”

It had been reported that the tenure of Deputy Governor Williams had contractually ended and that her job was up for grabs.  It had been articulated she would have to apply, along with others, for the available position.  However, H.E. Dakin makes it clear that the process for this job is not like others in the public service.

“There isn’t a set ‘contract date’ and so no contract is ‘up’.  If it were hypothetically up for renewal today – in that it could be terminated for good reason any day – she would be reappointed with my full and unqualified confidence.”

Her Excellency Anya Williams is the second appointed Deputy Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and is the Head of the Public Service.  She was appointed on October 15, 2012, through an open recruitment process.

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Premier’s National Address: National Security Statement – Monday, 26 September

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HONOURABLE CHARLES WASHINGTON MISICK

 

NATIONAL SECURITY STATEMENT

as delivered by the Premier Honourable Charles W. Misick

 

(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Monday, 26 September 2022) My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, this evening, I wish to speak with you on the upsurge in violence over the last month and the steps the Turks and Caicos Islands Government is taking to address criminality and keep our people safe.

However, before I address that urgent matter, I want to place on record my gratitude to the Almighty who spared us from the devastation seen by other countries from Hurricane Fiona.

We were spared not only by the grace of God but because we were prepared and are a more hurricane resilient TCI.

My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, I speak to you this evening with a heavy and a sad emotion.

God spared us from the worst of Hurricane Fiona, but the criminals did not even give our country time to breathe, they have struck again with impunity and have given rise to terror never before seen in our territory.

This evening, we collectively mourn the brutal and wanton murder of four young men – cut down in the prime of their lives.

My heart bleeds for the families whose lives have been shattered by evil and hate.

I wish to convey sincere condolences on behalf of the government to all families that have lost loved ones due to acts of violent crime. We continue to pray for your healing and comfort.

We have had 11 murders in this month alone. The total number of murders for this year is 22.

My fellow Islanders, like you, I am angry at those who continue to terrorise our communities and spray our land with blood.

The violence which has flared up in recent weeks will not be tolerated by this government and must not be accepted nor tolerated by decent law-abiding citizens of these Turks and Caicos Islands.

September has seen organised crime gangs, including gangs with international and external affiliations, fighting for control of drugs, money and territory in these Islands.  We are now subject to crime not just generated from within our borders, but also from without.

We are mobilizing resources from the United Kingdom and the region, to help find those who continue to disrupt and plague our communities.

We will find them whether they are here or elsewhere and we will bring them to justice. The safety and security of our people is our first priority; always.

The government has spent significant sums on upgrading the human, physical, technical, and investigative capacity of the Royal TCI Police Force. We will spare no reasonable cost to keep our people safe and our borders secure.

To stem the upsurge in violence will take looking at immediate and longer-term action.

We will implement the following immediately and over the next several weeks:

  1. We are putting more officers on frontline duties especially in the worst impacted communities. Administrative functions – and support to the Maritime Branch – of the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force will be supplemented by members of the TCI Regiment.
  2. A letter was sent to the Foreign Secretary and copied to Prime Minister Truss, the OT Minister Jesse Norman, and the Ministers for Defence in the UK Home office following a strong call requesting military and police assistance. A reply with specific deliverables is anticipated soon.
  3. In consultation with the Governor, I have reached out to heads in the Bahamian, Jamaican, and Barbadian governments for police reinforcement. These are being considered by those countries and should result in more boots on the ground in Turks and Caicos Islands.
  4. We have requested from the US Department of Homeland Security the deployment of a surveillance aircraft to assist with policing the passage between TCI and Haiti to stop illegal entry into our territorial waters.
  5. Three British officers travelled with me from London last Thursday. They will be performing an on-the-ground assessment of crime and will help to create a more effective crime fighting plan for the TCI.
  6. The UK will be sending shortly, a Chief Superintendent and an Inspector who will set up our anti-gang unit. Twenty-three (23) officers to staff the unit will arrive in the TCI within the coming months.
  7. The procurement process has started in the UK for the purchase of our own surveillance aircraft and this should be completed soon.
  8. We are contracting interim air support to assist law enforcement and better map their movements within communities.
  9. Purchased armoured vehicles should arrive within the TCI in 3 months.
  10. Persons without the correct vehicle plates will have their vehicles impounded and will be fined.
  11. Illegal vehicle tints will not be tolerated and persons who keep them will be arrested and charged.

These immediate solutions are intended to stem the bloodshed, but we are also focused on a longer-term and more strategic approach.

While in the UK last week, the Governor and I met with Secretary Jeremy Quinn in the Home Office and Secretary Jesse Norman in the Foreign Office.

They are two UK Ministers whose cooperation is critical to security of the TCI.

We have asked them to do much more.

They understand the unprecedented and seriousness of the threats we face.

We discussed in detail the significant challenges the TCI is facing including:

  • The strategic connection between serious crime and irregular migration from Haiti
  • The brutality of recent gang-related violence
  • The heart-breaking and destructive nature of the crimes on the families that are impacted; and
  • The availability of powerful firearms in these Islands

We explained the vulnerability of our strong economy and how crime, in particular brutal gang violence, could put our tourism industry at serious risk.

We outlined the significant investments we are making in our border and internal security, not just financially but through new legislation, building new national security structures as well as professionalising and expanding our local security forces.

We said that in the latest budget, $67.3 million has been allocated for public order and safety including our police services.

Let me assure every Islander that there is no cap on investing in your safety.

Several strategic initiatives are well underway.

The first is providing the Islands with a highly technical capability to conduct lawful intercept operations against gang members, particularly those involved in violence and  people smuggling.

The appropriate legislation is being drafted and we expect that it will be passed in the House of Assembly next month as October has been designated as a month for Criminal Justice Reform in TCI.

  1. Eleven (11) criminal justice bills designed to break the back of the kind of unprecedented criminal activities we have been experiencing in the Islands will be enacted. These bills will stiffen penalties further, strengthen police investigative powers, powers to stop and search and detain, to break up gang activities and to protect those whose job it is to push back on crime on the front lines. These bills will include:
  2. The Firearms (Amendment) Bill would introduce higher penalties for possession of unlicensed firearm or possession of a prohibited weapon or ammunition. The mandatory minimum sentence for possession of such weapons would be raised.
  3. The Police Force (Amendment) Bill would provide for stop and search and the erection of road barriers in areas of high crime and to stop and search a person or vehicle if the officer thinks the person is linked to criminal activity. The officer must have “reasonable grounds” to conduct the search.
  4. The Firearms Related Offences Bill would extend the period of detention for murder and firearms offences.
  5. The Anti-Gang Bill would make it an offence for a person to be or become a member of a gang. This offence would carry a penalty of ten years’ imprisonment for a first conviction and a penalty of twenty years’ imprisonment for any subsequent conviction. The Bill would also provide that a gang leader would be liable to imprisonment for twenty-five years on conviction on indictment. It would also make it an offence to wound or shoot at persons involved in law enforcement or intelligence and would carry a penalty of thirty years’ imprisonment on conviction on indictment.

Other provisions would –

  1. make it an offence for a person to coerce, encourage, entice, aid or abet another person to be a gang member and would carry a penalty of twenty-five years’ imprisonment on conviction on indictment.
  2. make it an offence for persons to take retaliatory action against another person or any of that person’s relatives, friends, associates or property, where inter alia, the other person refuses to comply with an order of a gang leader or gang member.
  3. make it an offence to knowingly counsel, instruct, guide, finance or provide any type of support to a gang leader, gang member or gang.
  4. make it an offence for a person to harbor or conceal a gang leader or gang member or tip them off of an investigation or proposed investigation.

Other provisions would empower the police to –

  1. arrest, without a warrant, a person who he has reasonable cause to believe is a gang leader, gang member or has committed an offence under the Ordinance, and to enter and search a dwelling house, with a warrant, or to enter any other place or premises, without a warrant, where he has reasonable cause to believe that a gang member may be found.
  2. detain a person who he reasonably suspects of having committed certain offences

The Bill would also empower the Court to order that the property of a person convicted of certain offenses may be forfeited in certain circumstances.

  1. The Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Bill, Magistrates Court (Amendment) Bill, Defence (Amendment) Bill, the Integrity Commission (Amendment) Bill would to introduce higher penalties for obstructing, assaulting or threatening an investigative officer (including Immigration Officers, the Regiment, Customs Officers and Police Officers), an officer of the Court or a Judicial officer in exercise of his or her duty.
  2. The Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill would enable the making of regulations so that its mandatory that every new sim card purchased must be registered to the buyer requiring them to present valid identification at the time of purchase.
  3. The Interception of Communications Bill would to provide a single legal framework for the use by law enforcement and intelligence agencies of investigatory powers to obtain communications and communications data. These powers would cover the interception of communications, the retention and acquisition of communications data, and equipment interference for obtaining communications and other data. It would not be lawful to exercise such powers other than as provided for by this legislation once enacted.

We requested more support, partnership, and serious strategic investments to turn the tide. This will require extensive and sustained UK support.

Additionally, we need further strengthening of our defences against maritime threats.

We requested that a formal ministerial agreement is implemented to build a “Gun, Gangs and Drugs Squad”. This Squad would be made up of officers with some of the best detective, intelligence and analytical skills in the UK.

The Squad would work within our own police force making an immediate impact but also building our local capacity and capability.

While building capacity and capability in the Police is urgent and important, we need an across-the-board approach to crime and justice.

We have an excellent Chief Justice who is keen on reform, and we will support capacity building across the justice system.

I want to thank our TCI “Tactical Firearms Unit” and other members of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force who have shown great physical prowess, courage and skill over recent weeks.

They provide us with a very strong local foundation that we can build on.

My fellow Islanders, the government will leave no stone unturned in making our communities and people safe.

You should feel free and safe to go about your business without worrying about the next move of criminals, gangs and drug dealers.

We can’t do it alone.

The police can’t do it alone.

Let us turn our anger into action.

If we come together, we will defeat those who bring violence and harm to our communities.

You must help us.

You have to be vigilant.

Report criminal activities in your communities.

Work with the police.

Together we can and we will defeat the criminals who want to destroy our beloved TCI.

In closing, I declare the National Youth Day as a ‘National Day of Prayer, Fasting and

Repentance’ beginning at 9am until 3pm. We will gather at the Gustavus Lightbourne Gymnasium in Providenciales and locations in the other Islands. Details will follow soon.

May God bless you and keep our Islands and people safe from harm.

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The Turks and Caicos Islands Has Much To Celebrate on World Tourism Day!

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS (September 27, 2022) – The Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ exclusive tourism authority, is ecstatic to celebrate World Tourism Day and its 2022 theme of “Rethinking Tourism” while appreciating the country’s ability to recover strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “As we often say, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, tourism is everybody’s business. This is because it is the most significant component of our national economy.  Consequently, on World Tourism Day, we are excited to reflect on the many successes we have achieved in what can be described as our bounce-back year after the height of the pandemic”, said Acting Director of the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board, Mary Lightbourne.  “Based on our short-term projections and long-term vision, the future of tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands is very promising!”, Lightbourne added.

 Over 2022, the Turks and Caicos Islands’ ability to rebound from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been remarkable. Preliminary data from January 2022 – March 2022 indicates that the Turks and Caicos Islands welcomed 98.5% of the stayover visitors that it did from January 2019 – March 2019, which was one of the most successful tourism quarters in the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 This year, the Turks and Caicos Islands was named the World’s Hottest Travel Destination for Fall 2022 by Tripadvisor, and won “Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination” as well as “Caribbean’s Most Romantic Destination” at the World Travel Awards.  Through a strategic partnership with J. Wade Public Relations, an international public relations firm, the Turks and Caicos Islands has achieved unprecedented results in media coverage.  From January 2022 to September 2022, this partnership has obtained 113 placements and 2.39 billion total gross impressions with a total media value of $238.5 million. In this 9-month span, this partnership has exceeded all of its public relations results for 2021 – and it has already secured more press trips for the rest of the year, which will continue to elevate these results.

 “The United Nations World Tourism Organization’s 2022 World Tourism Day’s theme of ‘Rethinking Tourism’ fits the Turks and Caicos Islands perfectly.  With the collective efforts of tourism stakeholders across the country, we have been able to rapidly rebound and repeat the results of one of our most successful pre-pandemic quarters”, said Minister of Tourism, Hon. Josephine Connolly.

“Now, we are looking at taking tourism in the Turks and Caicos Islands to even greater heights by transitioning our Tourist Board to a Destination Management Organization and Tourism Regulatory Authority. These entities will standardize and strengthen the world-class experiences that the Turks and Caicos Islands is known for across all entities in our tourism economy and facilitate the development of an even more sustainable and resilient tourism product”, added Hon. Connolly.

 For more information on the Turks and Caicos Islands, call 1 (800) 241-0824 or visit www.turksandcaicostourism.com.

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