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Historically here, Public-Private Partnership brings first CCTV to the Turks and Caicos

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – August 1, 2018 – The criminal element is already shaking in its boots, Magnetic Media is told, following the reveal on Tuesday of CCTV cameras now installed across Providenciales; the Police Force and its Partners gave a media tour on Tuesday of the hub – and it was impressive. 

James Smith, Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police led the tour and explained that the system is both Closed Circuit Television and a joint 911 Control Room, which will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a Police Force Silver Commander.

“…able to pre-position resources; they’ll be able to put in place measures to prevent things happening or to react quickly when they do happen.  So this is a big deal for us, this is a fundamental stake change in the security of the country and of course, Provo is just the first step.  The Government has funded not only these CCTV cameras but they are going out to bid now for the second phase which will take Grand Turk into it and eventually we will get North and South Caicos as well.”

The cameras were described as a versatile technology which allows managers of the site to program, search and see minute details as they happen.

“This is a different kind of camera; it focuses on the number plate of a car…”   

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government, said the Commissioner, is working on Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) software which will change how motor vehicles are numbered in the country and it will complement the CCTV system.

Stan Hartling, investor and developer of the Hartling Group which owns three resorts in Providenciales spoke on behalf of the Sponsors of the new CCTV system, he was joined by Mark Durliat, another major resort investor from Grace Bay Resorts.  The Sponsors were roused to action last year after a spate of crime which attracted negative attention to Destination Turks and Caicos.  The group, on the record, expressed grave concerned about the impact of crime on tourism and resolved to support Government and Police in the abatement of crime in a most tangible way.

“It gave me the confidence that we as a country, the core business people understand the importance of the Police and of safety in this country if we are going to be sustainable.”  Mr. Hartling, explained that an online fundraiser was an amazing feat, “I think it was that in less than seven days, we raised about $600,000 specifically to be targeted toward national crime prevention.  We got immediate response and we had great meetings with all levels of government:  Governor, Premier, Deputy Premier, Commissioner of Police.  And what became evident to us – we were all getting panicked when were at that time last year when some of the crimes were increasing and it included home invasions and some armed incidents and the initial reaction is fear and then playing the police.   And it became evident to us that that was not necessarily the issue, we have some amazing people on the Police Force that really needed some help with additional resources and it became evident that normal ways to procure those were going to be timely and longer than some of us wanted.”

The private sector group was intimately involved in the complete overhaul of the 911 center, where re-wiring and retro-fitting was undertaken.  The revamping of the center was completed in record time; under three months.

Mr. Hartling said there was also concern for the Police officers who would have to respond to crimes in progress, including to suspects who would likely be armed and dangerous.

“So part of this group has bought very high grade defense-level Taser guns and I know the training has taken place, body-cams for police officers so that they can feel that what’s happening is being recorded and it helps for evidence in court, makes people a little bit more accountable when they are around these officers… so we still have funds there, so if there is something that the Commissioner needs we can respond within four hours if we have to.”

The Governor, who heads up National Security for the Turks and Caicos called it a moment of celebration.

“Modern policing requires, I think, three key ingredients: the human factor, the technical factor and the community factor.  Without the human factor, that is, well-trained, committed police officers under effective leadership nothing will be possible. TCI benefits from having in the RTCIPF, a local police force which is increasingly on top of its game.”  His Excellency, Dr. John Freeman congratulated the Commissioner of Police, James Smith, “My thanks to them and to him.  Without the technical factor, a police force is hobbled from facing down the criminals and would-be criminals. The RTCIPF is benefitting from increased technical capacity enabling it to be fit for the task, for that – thanks –  and I readily express them, are due to TCIG without whose support and very significant budgetary allocations none of these improvements including the CCTV project would be possible.  Without the community factor, a police force can never deliver optimally and community support takes many forms. A Police Force is not separate from the local community; it is part of it and relies upon it.  The Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force needs support if it is going to deliver on public safety.”

Governor Freeman said the private sector involvement and financial contribution to the CCTV project is a demonstration of the Community supporting the Police.

“I want to acknowledge and applaud that support by the business representatives here this morning.  I hope that all of us in these islands will benefit from this new facility.  Benefit in a way that really matters, namely enhanced security and public safety.”

CCTV video from as many as 106 specific areas in Providenciales is being beamed back to the Control Room, with the video segmented into zones.  During the tour it was explained that the cameras are in a testing phase now, but are already live and recording.

The Control Room is established at the Digicel headquarters in the Turks and Caicos.

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.

Crime

Assistance Needed in Identifying Murder Victim

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***MEDIA RELEASE***

 

June 16th, 2024.

The Serious Crimes Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police yesterday (June 15th)  evening responded to a report of a shooting death.

Upon arrival at a location along Five Cays and South Dock Road, Providenciales, officers observed the body of a male with what appeared to be gunshot wounds.

The victim is approximately 5 feet 11 inches tall. He was found wearing red shorts, blue underpants, and a pair of black and white slippers and was shirtless. The individual had a dreadlocks hairstyle.

There were tattoos on both his arms and a cross under both eyes.

The estimated age of the victim is between 25 to 40 years old.

We are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying this individual.

Anyone with information that may help in this investigation is urged to contact the closest police station, 911, the Serious Crime Unit at 231-1842, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 to provide any information on this murder anonymously.

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to download the CrimeStoppers P3 app to share information anonymously.

 

Murder scene photo by Wilkie Arthur, Eagle Legal News Media

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The Truth about Heaving Down Rock, the National Trust Vs Lew1 Shipping  

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By Hon. Ralph Higgs

 

As humans, it is very easy to forget what the past looked like when we struggle with today’s challenges. Lately, I’ve been reminiscing about the time that I served as the Member of Parliament for North and Middle Caicos from 2016 to 2021. Alongside my dedicated PDM colleagues, we poured our hearts into making life better for the constituents of ED4 and the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Among the many projects we championed, the transformation of Heaving Down Rock in Leeward, Providenciales, stands out vividly in my memory.

Heaving Down Rock has always been more than just a loading point for mariners; it is a symbol of our rich heritage and the spirit of our people. However, before the improvements, the PNP government was comfortable with Heaving Down Rock being nothing but a quarry loading dock, devoid of basic facilities. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the PNP government gave this public property to a party supporter prioritizing personal connections over the public good. Thankfully, that supporter donated it to the National trust after the public got wind of it.

Today, as a result of the work under my Ministry and the PDM Administration, the Heaving Down Rock facility is comfortably used and enjoyed by the commuters of Pine and Parrot Cay, aquatic operators, and cargo and ferry services. The facility is even casually used by individuals and groups for relaxation or fishing.

As we navigate the present and look toward the future, it is crucial to remember these lessons. Our progress from 2016 to 2021 shows what can be achieved with dedication and a genuine commitment to the people’s welfare.

As a proud Turks and Caicos Islander, who has always held the country’s best interest at heart, I can assure you that I will continue to build on our progress.

The impasse that currently exists between the National Trust and Lew1 Shipping is nothing short of a national crisis which has serious and direct implications for the people and businesses on North and Middle Caicos and all the cays in between.

This PNP government should not have allowed it to come to this point. They must intervene forthwith to rectify this situation. It is impractical, if not impossible for Lew1 shipping to operate from South Dock. It will increase the already high freight between Providenciales, Pine and Parrot Cay, North and Middle Caicos by at least three (3) fold. And as most of the journey now would be on the high seas; the ocean, there could be many days when the sea is too rough for Lew1 to travel from South Dock to North Caicos and the islands in between. Thereby making a bad situation even worse.

When I was in office, on many ocassions, the National Trust had proposed increasing the cost to Lew1 Shipping out of Heaving Down Rock. Me and my government resisted as we could not support any higher freight on the backs of the people and businesses of our islands. There were also several ocassions when the National Trust sought to close down Lew1 Shipping operations for non-payment. But again, me and my government intervened. We made sure negotiations continued between Lew1 Shipping and National Trust to prevent any disruption in the  important service that Lew1 Shipping provides to the family islands.

Successsive governments have provided subsidies to local airlines that operate between our islands. They have also provided subsidies for the ferry to run between Salt Cay and Grand Turk. Most recently, the government wrote off almost $2M worth of debt owning to TCIG by these airlines. The time has perhaps comes for the governement to look at the situation that currently exists between Lew1 Shipping and the National Trust. Surely, it could insist that the two parties negotiate a settlement to this matter while it considers a path to settle the debt owing to the National Trust by Lew1 Shipping.

The National Trust is a quasi-government entity and it raises funds through fees levied on users of our national parks and facilities such as Heaving Down Rock etc. Historcially, the National Trust has been poorly subvented and it has been responsible for raising up to 60% of its budget. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, the last meaningful increase which the National Trust received to its subvention came under the former PDM administration. This PNP government has not not seen it fit to increase the National Trust subvention in any direct meaningful way. I am reliably informed that the staff of the National Trust did not even benefit from the increase in salaries that this government implemented a few months ago.

I am certain that the current situation between the National Trust and Lew1 Shipping didn’t happen in a vacuum, neither did it happen overnight. The fact that this government could allow the lifeline of North and Middle Caicos and the resort islands of Parrot Cay and Pine Cay to be cut demonstrates the lack of appreciation for value that Lew1 shipping brings to these islands and they simply do not care of about the struggles at the people and businesses face on daily basis.  I am sincerely and respectfully urging the government to order the National Trust to allow Lew1 Shipping to resume operations forthwith and to commence the necessary arrangements to write-off this small debt of approximately of $100,000 which represents about 4 years worth of fees that is owed to the National Trust  by Lew1 Shipping and to find an amicable way to address the other concerns raised by the National Trust.

 

 

Contact Details:

Ralph Higgs

Tel: 649.232.3917

Email: ralphhiggs46@gmail.com

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TCI Red Cross Hits New Heights with 3rd Annual Red Hot Challenge Success  

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June 13, 2024: PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS: The TCI Red Cross recently hosted their successful 3rd Annual Red Hot Challenge, a testament to the organization’s commitment to community engagement and humanitarian efforts.

This year’s event, held at the National Stadium in Providenciales, brought together over 13 teams in a thrilling display of sportsmanship and skills. The Beaches Marlins emerged victorious, with the Amanyara Cruisers in second place and the Beaches Pirates in third.

Speaking on the event, TCI Red Cross Director Candianne Williams said, “Year after year, the Red Hot Challenge fundraiser has grown more successful, and we really could not have done it without the support we have received from our participating teams, sponsors, volunteers and supporters.”

She continued, “When we started the Red Hot Challenge series of fundraisers, our goal was not only to raise funds for the work we do here at the Red Cross but also to create an event that would bring together the community in a spirit of unity, support, and fun-filled camaraderie.”

This year’s event showcased an active lineup of exciting competitions, which included traditional favorites like arm wrestling and tug-of-war, alongside engaging challenges such as football tosses, planks, spoon relay races, egg tosses, water balloon tosses, sprint races, and soccer kicks.

Williams added, “The games were not only interactive for the participants but also fun, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Beaches Marlins on winning first place in this year’s competition, as well as the Amanyara Cruisers on their second place and the Beaches Pirates on coming in third, respectively.”

Keneisha Thompson, the Turks and Caicos Athletics Association representative, emphasized, “We commend the teams for their participation, especially as this is the only event in the TCI for sporting participants. Their dedication this year, from organizing the rules to meeting the teams and executing the event, is truly remarkable.”

The annual Red Hot Challenge stands as a cornerstone of the organization’s acclaimed ‘Red Hot’ fundraising series, serving as a pivotal event in the TCI Red Cross’s fundraising initiatives. This series has witnessed the success of two corporate sports days and two fashion extravaganzas. These events not only raise crucial funds but also foster community engagement and support for the humanitarian work of the TCI Red Cross.

Karen Whitt of the Hartling Group, who serves as Chair of the TCIRC Fundraising Committee, commended the participants, stating, “Congratulations to all of the participants; you are all winners for supporting this year’s Red Hot Challenge. The event’s success is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our community to support the vital work of the Red Cross in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

This year’s team lineup featured the Beaches Marlins, Amanyara Cruisers, Beaches Pirates, NSS Destroyers, CHHS Eagles, Waterloo Worriers, The Palms, Royal TCI Police Enforcers, Louise Garland High School, NCS, The Sands, and The Source. Proud sponsors of the team included The Strand and The Marlin Limited, with Powerade joining as the official drink sponsor of the games.

The next Red Hot Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2025, at the National Stadium on Providenciales. For more information on the TCI Red Cross and its activities, please visit their website at https://www.redcross.org.tc/ and follow their social media accounts: Turks and Caicos Red Cross on Facebook and @TCIRedcross_ on Instagram.

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