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Belief that ‘Thug drugs’ fueling crime crisis in Turks and Caicos

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – October 13, 2019 — In Turks and Caicos there is undoubtedly a violent crime crisis.  While the idea of a drug-fuelled resistance to law and order was rejected as the reason for the surge in gun related and retaliatory crime which has given the country its highest murder count, ever… everyone agrees the behavior of the offenders is unexpected, unnecessary and frighteningly unpredictable.

Street savvy observers tell Magnetic Media that bad minded men in the Turks and Caicos Islands are being further radicalized by two illegal drugs:  Molly and Flakka.

“That type of drug with gun in your hand; with these fellas anything is possible that is why there is no regard for the pastor, there is no regard for nobody right now because they are not really themselves.  It’s a mind transformer in the negative direction.”

Molly or Ecstasy was outlawed in the 1980’s and is a psychoactive drug which in its pure form is supposed to make one more empathetic.

The drug pills our young men and women are popping today are not pure; they are dangerous synthetic imposters responsible for corrupting emotional stability.  Pill sales are booming everywhere as a part of a multi-billion-dollar global industry.

“If you would notice from some of the court lists there’s a lot of people who have been getting arrested for drugs coming through couriers.  You see a lot of charges for illegal importation, wrongful importation, no declaration and those customs charges… that’s what they are, pills!  American contaminated drugs taking them into a different level.”

From US Department of Homeland Security

When it comes to Flakka, it too is synthetic or man-made.  In a CNN news item from 2015, it was said, flakka gives users “what feels like the strength and fury of the Incredible Hulk.”

Magnetic Media asked the question of our source: “Is the surge in violent crime and vicious attacks organized?”

The answer given was “no” and the reason for the negative response could likely be more disconcerting.

“What I am gathering is that for the past two or three years, there has been a continuous influx of pills, Molly, Flakka and that kind of stuff coming in from America.”

Drug dealers are also coming from Haiti said our source; it is big business and easy money.

Meanwhile, Molly and Flakka pills are giving users a dark sense of invincibility and an overcharged proclivity toward violence.

Photo from LiveScience.com in article on dangers of Flakka

Definitive research on the link between Molly, Flakka and violence is hard to come by but there was an interesting article published by the Huffington Post in 2011.

The article, which centered on the question of pill drugs being linked to an uptick in violent crime in Oakland, California featured a poem written by an inmate.  A few of the stanzas gave a grim view as the writer warned not to take the pills: 

A pill is mixed with every drug except for weed

The reason it keeps you up all night is cause of the speed

Whatever mood you in, the pill gives you more of that feeling

So if you mad and violent then you might go start killin’

By De Angelo published on HuffPost.com, 2011

The news article highlights the writings of those who have experienced, in some way the emotionally stimulating cocktail of drugs which give users greater courage for all of the wrong things.

“…and they write often taking the pills to ‘get up the heart’ for committing robberies, car-jackings, and worse – revenge killings.”

Sheerly Avni, the contributing writer of HuffPost.com said: “they already think no one cares about what they do.  Now they have found a drug that keeps them from caring as well.”

Our source unwittingly corroborates these established news organisations and other professional commentaries: “Weed is a calmer, cocaine was here for a while but crackheads on coke you would see them on the streets and stuff but this new drug, new in our territory cause it recently started to creep up on us, is kicking in and giving these fellas a different rush, a different high, a different speed and what happens is they think they are on top of the world and that type of drug with gun in your hand, anything is possible.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government must now catch up and work to educate in order to eradicate this hidden demon which is possessing and persuading younger men to make aggressive or homicidal decisions.

“So, we have a two-fold problem that I don’t think the government is really educated on how to deal with it.  It’s a drug, those pills they are the issue and they are clouding and damaging our young men and sending them into this rush to steal, rush to hold up…”

In the past 72-hours there have been reports of at least 10 incidents to Magnetic Media including armed robberies, aggravated assault, home invasion, a drug-induced frenzy and a fatal shooting.

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.

Bahamas News

MP’s Graduate with Parliamentary Governance Certificates

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January 18, 2022 – The Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU), in partnership with the Conservatives Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Programme, held an Online Graduation Ceremony on Friday January 14th 2022 for fifteen (15) Members of Parliament who successfully completed a one year certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance with McGill University in Canada.

This professional development certificate programme is recognized by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and provided MP’s with important theoretical and practical knowledge in executing their roles and responsibilities as legislators. Sponsorship for the MP’s was provided by the Conservatives WFD Programme.

The successful graduates included:

  • Tracy Panton– MP Albert, UDP, Belize
  • Shyne Barrow – MP, Mesopotamia, UDP, Belize
  • Senator Hon. Sheena Pitts – UDP, Belize
  • Kerensia Morrison – MP St. Catherine North Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Tova Hamilton – MP, Trelawny Northern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Dr. Michelle Charles – MP, St. Thomas Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Tamika Davis – MP, Hanover Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Rhoda Crawford – MP, Manchester Central, JLP, Jamaica
  • Anne Marie Vaz – MP, Portland Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Krstyal Lee – MP, St. Anne North Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Robert Miller – MP St. Catherine South Eastern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Heroy Clarke – MP, St. James Central, JLP, Jamaica
  • Dwight Sibblies – MP, Clarendon Northern, JLP, Jamaica
  • Morland Wilson – MP, Westmoreland Western, JLP, Jamaica
  • Senator Hon. Shevern John – NDP, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

The Online Graduation Ceremony was attended by The Most Hon. Andrew Holness Prime Minister of Jamaica, Maria Miller Conservative MP UK, Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday Leader of the Opposition St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Patrick Faber Leader of the Opposition Belize, Carola Weil Dean of Continuing Studies McGill University, Nick Francis Secretary General CDU, and other officials from the UK Conservative Party’s International Department and Faculty and Staff from McGill University.

Mr. Nick Francis in his remarks at the ceremony noted that this initiative was birthed through greater engagement and consultation with stakeholders in the region in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and he was grateful to the administrators at McGill University for partnering with the CDU and the Conservatives WFD Programme to make this online training possible.

Hon. Patrick Faber and Dr. Hon. Godwin Friday extended congratulations to the graduates and expressed gratitude to the Conservatives WFD Programme, the CDU and McGill University on this successful collaboration to enhance parliamentary democracy in their respective countries.

A second cohort of trainees will commence the Parliamentary Governance Certificate with McGill University in March of this year and will include young prospective MP’s.

Quotes:

Dean of Continuing Studies at McGill University Carola Weil extended congratulations to the fifteen (15) MP’s for successfully completing the yearlong certificate programme in Parliamentary Governance and noted that this was an “important step towards the continuation of good governance and democracy around the world”

In addressing the graduates at the ceremony, Prime Minster the Most Hon. Andrew Holness noted his expectations that the training received will help to inform their advocacy, guide their involvement in policy development, and “contribute to a new cadre of political representatives that will always strive for the highest standards of excellence in governance, in parliamentary practice, and in political representation.”

Conservative MP Maria Miller UK in a pre-recorded message to the graduates (the majority being new female MP’s) noted that in light of the challenges facing women in politics, “the Conservative WFD Programme is committed to strengthening democracy by creating a much more inclusive, accountable and transparent political system.”

 

Press Release: CDU

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Education

Education Minister announces Platinum Partnerships for internet and tablet program amidst COVID surge

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By Shaniek Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – Schools did not resume in person learning in the Turks and Caicos on January 4, instead it was back to virtual classes for 7,400 children in the British overseas territory due to an omicron-driven surge in Covid-19 infections.

It was announced on the New Year’s Day holiday for TCI, January 3 in a press conference hosted by Rachel Taylor, the Minister of Education, and attended by Jamell Robinson, Minister of Health and supported by Premier Washington Misick, who was also at the live event.

In a promised update, parents got the not-so-good-news, virtual classes would resume at least until the end of January due to the surge and staff shortages being experienced.  Turks and Caicos, up to Thursday January 14 had over 800 active cases, five new deaths and a 600 per cent increase in hospitalisations.  The Minister said the decision was in the interest of safety.

The Minister also promised to get devices and internet to students in order for them to participate in learning during this virtual-only season.  The press conference on January 13, welcomed partners Flow, Digicel and the Pine Cay Project.

In her address, chair of the Pine Cay Project, Marie Landel, said that an urgent call from Dr. Carlton Mills, a member of their board of trustees revealed that about 750 students would be without internet connection and devices.

The Pine Cay Project responded to that information and has agreed to pay for internet for 30 days students, with its partner in the initiative, DigicelTCI.  It is an $18,000 investment in education continuity for hundreds of children.

“We had strong discussions on what we should do with the money that we collect every year, so yesterday we agreed to the funding in emergency situation of 300 internet connections and devices that are going to help the students in need, and we’re very proud to be able to act quickly,” Landel expressed.

Additionally, the Marketing Manager at Digicel TCI, Mr Drexler Smith, said Digicel has partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide about 1,000 tablets for public schools. Smith added that 75 MiFi devices valued at 7,000 dollars were provided; they come with free data services for up to three months for students in need.

Digicel has also created a special education plan for e-learning with specific zero-rated sites and applications. The company partnered with Pine Cay and other private entities in this regard. Various schools and educational facilities in South Caicos, Five Cays, and Providenciales have benefitted from laptops, data plans, MiFi’s, and e-learning kits.

Marketing Executive Flow TCI, Darron Hilaire, also shared the contributions Flow made to the education sector since the pandemic.

“Within the last three years, Flow TCI, through our charitable foundation, would have donated $130,000 worth of ICT equipment to 2 schools respectively in Grand Turk and in Providenciales for the outfitting of the new computer labs to help facilitate the ministry’s vision to foster an efficient e-learning environment for students,” he said.

Mr. Hilaire added that within the first year of the pandemic, Flow responded to requests from the Ministry to increase the bandwidth to public schools in the TCI. Hilaire said Flow home internet speed doubles automatically at no cost to its customers in early July.

He said that within the last 60 days, Flow TCI announced a recent donation of $25,000 dollars to two schools in North Caicos and one in Providenciales. The donation was in aid of increasing connectivity and infrastructural upgrades.

“As we come to the end of this phase of the project, our objective is to look at doing the same for other schools in the second phase of the projects to further arm our schools with the access to technology to provide the best quality education to students,” Hilaire added.

Amanyara Resort, not present at the press event, was said to be working on additional laptops for hundreds of children despite having already donated to several schools in Providenciales.

Minister Rachel Taylor and her team, including Eugene Grant, ICT Education Officer at the Ministry of Education and Mark Garland, Deputy Director of Education thanked the donors; they were labelled Platinum Partners by the Minister.

 

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Health

Government apologizes to Churches for NEW Covid-19 Testing rule

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#TurksandCaicos, January 15, 2022 – The TCI Government is apologizing for including the Church in a new raft of restrictions which mandates unvaccinated congregants be tested in order to be allowed to attend church events however, there is no change in the rule.  The rule is now delayed start for another two weeks following an announcement issued by the Ministry of Health on Thursday evening.

The apology came from Premier Washington Misick in a statement late Wednesday, where he apologized for bunching the church in with restaurants, lounges, bars and discotheques which also have to follow the regulation.

Church pastors speaking with Magnetic Media expressed shock at the announcement which was revealed, on Tuesday, as a cabinet approved decision which also includes mandatory testing for the unvaccinated to attend funerals.

While there has been no official statement from the Turks and Caicos Islands Christian Council or the Pastors Fraternity it was clear that some of the church community seemed prepared to stand firmly against the measure.

The Premier has promised that there will be consultation going forward; beckoning to Churches to comply with the temporary rule which he said would help to curb the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.

 

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