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Leaders meet as violence escalates, three gunned down in August, Glass Shack shooting victim dead

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – Thursday August 23, 2018 – Magnetic Media is informed that the Premier and Acting Deputy Police Commissioner were in meetings a short time ago as a violent feud escalates and claims yet another young life.

It is confirmed that the man shot, allegedly by someone in a passing vehicle in Glass Shack earlier today has died. 

Reports are that it is a 27-year-old man of Wheeland, Providenciales who was killed and who brings the murder toll for the Turks and Caicos in August alone to three people gunned down.

Residents are incensed by the apparent retaliatory violence where Judah Gail of Kew Town, Terrell Handfield who was in Five Cays at the time of his killing and now, a man from Wheeland have all been murdered in the worst kind of ‘tit-for-tat’ the country has seen in years.

Judah Gail was killed around 2 a.m. on Friday August 3, 2018.

Terrell Handfield was killed around 9:30 p.m. also on Friday August 3, 2018.

Two other shootings were rumored to be linked to the Gail and Handfield murders; this was not confirmed by Police.

On Tuesday, a 23-year-old man of Blue Hills was arrested and charged in the Judah Gail murder; he is expected to be formally arraigned this week.

Now, another homicide is recorded; the fifth murder for the year in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

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Open Letter to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Gordon Burton

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The Beach and Coastal Vending Bill 2021 Needs to PROTECT Vendors

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2021 – Mr. Speaker, I know that you will hear from members of the House of Assembly on Tuesday regarding the Beach and Coastal Vending Bill 2021 and I am expecting for contributions by the various Members to capture the variety of concerns about this proposed legislation.

However, as I am in direct contact with many of the vendors, including those situated at the Chalk Sound located, Sapodilla Beach, I wanted to ensure their specific concerns were brought to your attention and exposed to the general public via this Open Letter.

The Bill proposes a laundry list of regulations which the government believes will protect the environment and users of our beaches.  But, Mr. Speaker, I have noticed that missing is a clause or section specifically devoted to the protection of the licensees, the Vendors.

We have witnessed over the years the abusive behavior and language from home owners who reside on our coastal areas.  These home owners, very often, tend to wield insults and threats which not only prove humiliating for our people who are licensed for operation in their own country but which create potentially dangerous hostility.  Their unwarranted and unfounded complaints often lead to even greater challenges for Turks and Caicos Islanders operating businesses on the beach.

Mr. Speaker, while the proposed Commission will take complaints and concerns from the vendors they license and the Bill says this Commission has the power to revoke licenses, there needs to be, in the law, something spelled out for the over-reaching harassment by property owners set-up or situated near the Vendors.

I also take exception with the view that removal of Vendors from the beach will not hurt their earnings.  It is pure fallacy, and it is beyond my comprehension that our government could even believe it to be remotely true.

The Premier and Minister of Tourism have both said they will ensure there is marketing of these new sites for the Vendors, who will be shifted from directly on the beach in Chalk Sound to a facility across the street.  It is also said to be a temporary situation.

Again, what recourse is there for Vendors if these promises go unfulfilled. Is it not true, Mr. Speaker, that the full burden of financial loss will then be upon the Vendors?

Mr. Speaker not only will guests rarely make any effort to cross the street to spend money with the Vendors, but the danger of that curve has already proven disastrous and is a major hazard.

Mr. Speaker, The Bill must require advertisement of all vendor locations around the country.  The cost of this marketing should be borne by the Turks and Caicos Islands government, alone.

Mr. Speaker, my suggestion is the type of marketing or advertising should be itemized in the Regulations which will accompany the Bill.  Mr. Speaker, the stipulation for government to promote these business sites could be partnered with the training which is required/offered to the Vendors.

I reiterate Mr. Speaker, the Vendors need better protections within this proposal.

We want to know how long is temporary, in the case of Sapodilla Beach Vendors.  The PNP Government Administration must set out a time line, because we are certain that during this displacement, Vendors will be losing a lot of earnings.

Perhaps a stimulus can be offered in the interim.

We want to see included protection from misguided and mean-spirited neighbours of our beach and coastal areas who complain and complicate operations for Turks and Caicos Islanders in the beach vending business.

We want to see compulsory marketing, advertising and/or promotions for the vendor markets in the Beach and Coastal Vending Bill.

And Mr. Speaker, while I have yours and the public’s attention, I believe it is prudent to establish CCTV systems at every vendor site.  Again, this not only provides a level of security from crime but it enables the Committee to have footage in the event they need visuals to objectively evaluate any disputes.

I wish you well in managing the debate on November 30, Mr. Speaker.

May God bless the Honourable House of Assembly of our Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Robert Been,

PDM Deputy Party Leader

 

 

 

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Assurances from Premier & Tourism Minister ahead of Beach Vendors Bill DEBATE  

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2021 – “I want to be clear from the outset; this Bill is in no way going to impact any family or individual who wants to enjoy the beaches of Turks and Caicos.” This was Premier Washington Misick’s response to public outcry surrounding the new Beach and Coastal Vending Bill.

The Bill, laid in Parliament last Monday, had several sections of concern to TCI Islanders and Premier Misick sought to explain in an exclusive interview with Magnetic Media.

He first addressed the issue of permits for special events on the beach assuring islanders they were not being ousted, saying.

“This Bill is in no way to restrict anyone from their public enjoyment of the beach…A special event has nothing to do with a family who wants to have a picnic on the beach…Once the regulations are public you will see that.”

He had a reminder for islanders though.

“The beach is a public good and it has to be regulated. If everyone is allowed to do what they want on the beach then nobody gets to enjoy the beach.”

In response to claims that the Bill was a result of Carnival Cruise’s imminent arrival the Premier stressed that the Bill was to protect TCI islanders and resources.

Tourism Minister Connolly also impressed the importance of the Bill, reminding TCI Islanders that tourism was a major source of income and that by protecting that industry that everyone would benefit, she said.

“This Bill is here to protect our people and to protect our beaches. Tourism is our greatest asset, we have to protect it.”

In defense of the policy Missick cited issues that had been reported saying that though the public might not be aware, they got reports about incidents of ‘vagrancy and miscreant behavior’ often.

“We’re getting reports of people walking beaches waking people from their naps and trying to sell them stuff… Even worse we are getting reports from the cruise center in Grand Turk that there have been incidents of people selling drugs, alcohol and prostitution and we can’t have that… So of course it has to do with protecting the tourism industry, but all TCI islanders benefit from tourism, you can’t disconnect one from the other.”

In response to the rearranging of vendors from their current positions Minister Connolly said that the new facilities were an ‘upgrade’ and there were provisions in place for every licensed vendor on Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Misick assured islanders that tourist traffic and revenue would not decrease in the new locations.

“When there is a cluster of businesses that are similar or ancillary to each other they end up feeding each other so this enhances people’s ability.”

Connolly also promised that the actual process of getting licensed and getting a space in these areas will be smooth.

“We are making it very easy for our people, you fill in your application…and we make sure that it is processed expeditiously.”

The licensing body which will have the power to approve, revoke and suspend licenses will comprise one individual each from the Police force, DECR, Planning industry, Marine office and Revenue Department. There was no mention of a representative from the Vending community.

The Bill mentioned that there will be a specific number of vendors in designated zones. When asked whether the number that was quoted would be sufficient for demand the Premier said.

“There will always be scarcity… but the whole thing is to have things properly organized and opportunities for people who bring different skills and products.” He also mentioned that they were working on creating even more spaces for vendors.

The Premier said that this Bill would put a stop to vendors having others ‘fronting’ for them. He dismissed any concern that the application process would be held up by any conflicts of interest or ‘family ties’ expressing complete confidence in the TCI auditing system.

The enforcement of these regulations would be carried out by the new Beach Patrol which would be trained and assisted by the police force and have power of arrest. The Tourism minister dismissed staffing concerns saying that they were in the process of training and shortlisting candidates.

The Beach and Coastal Vending Bill 2021 will enter debate stages on Tuesday, (November 30) the Premier invited islanders to attend and listen in for themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Caribbean Development Bank to offer solutions for TCI with Sea Defences

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 27, 2021 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has committed $600,000 to investigate upgrades to sea defences in the Turks and Caicos Islands, disclosed by the Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Akierra Missick as she sought to reassure residents about the state of the defenses.

Concerns were raised by residents recently when the newly paved Front Street, Grand Turk was severely flooded because the sea wall was unable to hold back massive waves.

Minister Missick acknowledged the concerns but said that the government had been working on upgrades since August of this year. This, she said, had begun with a “holistic review of all of the island’s sea defenses.” It was revealed that this review is being done through an environmental consultancy agency.

The consultancy is set to run for 11 months.

At the end of the consultation period, the government should have what Missick described as shoreline characterization for Grand Turk and Salt Cay as well as designs for measures to break wave strength before it reaches shore and infrastructure upgrade designs for the entire coast of Grand Turk and Salt Cay.

Feasibility studies will be carried out alongside these infrastructure designs to determine their effectiveness.

Meetings between CDB and stakeholders including residents, tourism operators, engineers, coasts resource advisors, and others are set to occur over the 11 month time frame.

A coastal resource and vulnerability analysis is also set to be completed. This, Missick said, is a pre-emptive effort to prevent future problems.

Opposition leader Edwin Astwood spoke out regarding the flooding incident. He said the flooding was caused by faulty engineering of the sea wall rather than drainage along the road. In the House of Assembly on November 22, Astwood claimed the wall, which should have been built with a curve, was built flat.

Missick has not yet responded to the claims but has promised that CDB’s preliminary report should be tabled with Government by Summer 2022.

 

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