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Turks and Caicos Islands Government takes action against crime

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#Providenciales, September 16, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) has always outlined crime as a major priority and since coming into office has promoted the development of an effective crime strategy to improve citizen safety, prevention efforts and deterrence of crime; however, in recent weeks there has been an evident spike in gun related offenses and reports of home invasions and robberies in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

To reduce these seemingly isolated incidents of crime, and continuing to actively take action against crime in the Turks and Caicos Islands, TCIG has implemented numerous initiatives to assist police in ensuring the safety of TCI citizens and are evolving to improve upon existing initiatives in the fight against criminals.

  1. National Security Strategy – a comprehensive National Security Strategy is being developed to effectively confront crime throughout the country. This multipronged approach will identify immediate national security threats; efficiently manage the resources currently available; procure additional tools and resources for internal and external security agencies; strengthen partnerships internally and regionally and internationally collaborating on security initiatives and will engage the Turks and Caicos community in the fight against crime.
  1. Introduction of Scanning Equipment at TCI Ports – this will aid in the fight against the importation of weapons. This has been budgeted for in this current financial year 2019/20.
  1. Border Protection Agency – the formation of a Border Protection Unit and Central Intelligence Unit will unify all forces in defense of the country. Marine protection will include the acquisition of drone aircraft and additional sea craft to strengthen the current sloop interception rate.
  1. Community Policing – the relationship between the residents of these islands and the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) is critical to discouraging criminality. The manner in which patrols are carried out by the RTICPF officers has been reassessed and since there has been an increase in foot patrols and a more strategic police presence in communities that are hot spots for criminal activity.
  1. More Resources for police – the new Commissioner of Police and Senior Executive Team for RTCIPF conducted a review of the force and TCIG has agreed to provide funding to recruit 20 officers and to support the establishment of a Specialized Gun Squad.
  1. Stiffer Penalties for gun crimes – since coming to Office TCIG has increased the mandatory sentence from 5 years to 7years.
  1. Rehabilitation Programme – this Government is committed to continuously investing in the people of the Turks and Caicos and consequently in July this year launched the Chance for Change Programme which aims to rehabilitate offenders through programs administered at Her Majesty’s Prison in Grand Turk and ultimately decrease the rate of recidivism (reoffending). This initiative offers drug and addiction rehabilitation programs, skill development in agriculture at the on-site farm, culinary skill development, educational opportunities and anger management sessions to support the transition of offenders into wider society upon release.
  1. Trade School – TCIG believes that there must be a means of making Turks and Caicos Islanders more employable, specifically the youth; hence, the Government is hastily working towards commencing a Trade School at the start of the new academic year.
  1. Domestic Fire Services to return to Grand Turk – due to the ongoing criminal activity of arson in Grand Turk, TCIG made a decision in its first Supplementary to purchase a Domestic Fire Truck for Grand Turk signaling the restart of Domestic Fire Services on this island. A fire truck has been secured during the last Budget cycle. The Government will be stiffening the penalties or persons found guilty of arson.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government stands with the Governor and the Commissioner of Police in the path ahead to reducing the increase in incidents of violent crime and maintaining the peace and tranquility of these islands. Our individual and communal safety in addition to the consequences that incidents of crime and violence can have on our Tourism, makes us all equal stakeholders in this vexing fight against crime. TCIG implores that together we must all do our parts to effectively assist in the efforts toward a safer Turks and Caicos Islands for all.

Release: TCIG

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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News

New Rules for Turks & Caicos JPs

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Rules governing Justices of the Peace in the Turks and Caicos are now significantly stricter after the passing of the amendment to the Magistrates Amendment Bill in July 2022.

Despite the fact that Justices of the Peace are allowed the same powers as a magistrate previously the only requirement for their appointment was the discretion of the Governor and that they be under 65-years-old.

That power has now been transferred from the Governor to the Chief Justice.

Justices of the peace have always by law been allowed to receive complaints, sign charges and issue warrants for the apprehension of persons charged with criminal offenses. They can also issue search warrants summons and administer oaths.

Considering the potentially unchecked execution of these powers, the attorney general’s chambers lobbied for a change in the system.

“These are very wide powers and there is no framework for the supervision and regulation of the whole of justices of the peace in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The amendment rectified this and the Chief Justice now has the power to make binding rules and regulations governing the appointment of JPs, a code of conduct disciplinary action and orientation and periodic training for JPs.

In addition, to maintain separation of powers the governor will be stripped of the power to disallow laws made by resident magistrates. That power now belongs to the Chief Justice.

Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, TCI Attorney General maintained that the amendment was short but necessary.

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Health

Young People in TCI are having sex, Rapport wants to ensure they’re doing it safe

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 5, 2022 – Young people in the Turks and Caicos are very sexually active and while there are no concrete statistics, the newest members of the Rapport all said “Yes” to the question about whether there is rampant sexual activity.

“As a young person I totally agree that they are having a lot of sex,” Arean Louis said.

This is particularly concerning given wider statistics point to a very young age group which is still contracting HIV/Aids.

“Caribbean statistics are showing that between the ages of 15 and 25 those have the highest amount of HIV rates.”

A five person delegation was this past  week representing the Turks and Caicos Islands at the International Aids Conference, staged in Montreal, Canada July 29 – August 2, 2022.

Young adult members of Rapport TCI all agree that youth in the TCI must be made aware of HIV and other STIs. Arean Louis, Denae Dennie and Arielle Neely spoke to Magnetic Media on their way to the International AIDS Conference.

All three agreed that our young people are having a lot of sex.

“I would say that our young people are having sec the only thing that I would say is I hope that they are letting their partners know their sexual history, their status, and that they’re being safe.” Dennie said.

Louis added, “As we talk about HIV and AIDS in the Turks and Caicos Islands we most definitely need to bring awareness to our young people because there is no set age— kids nowadays just like to experiment.”

He stressed safe sex, using protection and abstinence to maintain sexual health.

“What we aim to do is keep them safe here, we’re tired and we don’t want to see anymore STD and STI new cases in the Turks and Caicos.”

Dennie says she still thinks there is fear surrounding HIV but with education and protection, the world can get to zero new cases and it was something she was looking forward to.

The final member Arielle Neely explained that there were not enough tools and resources to educate youth.

“There are not enough tools or enough record to educate them. Our parents think they’re doing a good job by telling us don’t have sex but telling us don’t have sex isn’t enough. You have to teach us about birth control planned parenthood.”

The three members had high hopes for Rapport and stressed that they need more members to make an effective change on sexual health in the TCI.

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