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National Vocational Training School coming to TCI: “Priceless”

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR – January 28, 2020 — Let’s give credit where credit is due. For many of us, to often we have been disappointed by empty promises made by politicians. This very moment, I’m proud to be a Turks Islander. The recent announcement of TCI first National vocational technical school slated to open in September 2020 is brilliant.
Honorable Karen Malcolm, minister of education should be commended for her tenacity on this breakthrough. There has been previous dialogues of such initiative but it never matured. To my amaze, it appears the government is starting to listen to the cry of its people. 

I’m elated, and this will certainly be a win for this administration, all to the benefit of our people. Progress such as this, is an extremely important step in the right direction. 

It’s a two prong approach; Not only will it help to drive economic development, but also a work force for various businesses. Many of our youth are so gifted in different areas, and may have specific occupational career goals in mind. In such cases, they are better off at a vocational school than at traditional college or university and this offers them an alternative to secondary education.
If you look at most developed countries, secondary education has been a very effective tool with helping to build their economies. In order to make vocational education and secondary schools most successful, electing courses of study relevant to our long term growth and development will be of paramount importance. 

Guidance counselors will need to identify potential students early in their last year of high school so they can make a smooth transition. The proposed courses being offered make sense, and should be geared toward students specific skill set and shortcomings. There were two critical areas of study I noticed that were not listed. Agriculture and marine mechanics. Providing students with a much greater spectrum of vocational courses could capture a larger audience. 

For example; with the export of marine products being one of our bread and butter sector, the lack of opportunity for marine mechanics in particular, will be a huge missed opportunity. Also, if we are contemplating a path to future independence from Britain, why not educate our people now on agriculture natural resources and land management. 

For the past few years now, law enforcement have been searching for solutions to combat our growing violent crime rate. 
Initiatives such as this, is where a strong public/private partnership could be developed to include the government offering tax incentives for employers hiring ex-cons after completion of such courses. 

There is also a proposed youth development center to be opened in Grand Turk. This coupled with the technical school, certainly lays the framework for helping to deal with crime reduction, prison recidivism rate and delinquency.

As I mentioned in previous articles, there is no silver bullet to solving our complex crime problem. We have to continue to take a holistic approach. Like the old cliche, how do you walk a thousand miles? “ one step at a time”.
Ed Forbes,Concerned citizen of GT

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Police De-Briefing with TCI Governor Daniel-Selvaratnam

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#TurksandCaicos#Anti-Crime, February 23rd, 2024 – De-briefing Acting Commissioner of Police Christopher Eyre held a meeting with Her Excellency the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and Member of Parliament for Grand Turk North, the Hon. Otis Morris, today (February 21st ) at Police Headquarters, Airport Road, Providenciales.

The debriefing was to discuss concerns raised by residents during last evening’s Anti-Crime Town Hall meeting at the H.J Robinson High School, Grand Turk. Commissioner Eyre expressed his deep appreciation to Her Excellency and Hon Morris for their attendance, saying that work was already underway to address the community concerns.

Commissioner Eyre said: “I acknowledge the challenges raised and wish to assure you that the Executive of the RTCIPF remains steadfast in ensuring the TCI is safe. We listened to your concerns, and I assure you that rebuilding trust and strengthening community-policing relations are top priorities.“

The RTCIPF has taken a holistic approach in the fight against crime. Increased visibility, greater stakeholder collaborations and ongoing dialogue forums to appraise you will occur. We are accountable to you.”

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Too much secrecy with Airport Tax increase says former Deputy Premier Sean Astwood

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Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicos#Tax, February 23rd, 2024 – “The TCIAA should not be allowed to announce and implement new or increased taxes or fees in this already difficult financial climate without more details,” says Sean Astwood, Former Deputy Premier regarding the increase in the  Airport Development Fee from $20 to $35 describing the increase as not proactive but premature.

Astwood said there were a number of questions that he believed every Turks and Caicos Islander should ask and have the right to know the answers to including ‘Why now?’

The Opposition PDM member pointed out that only one airport has international flights and it would soon undergo a change in structure, paired with the ‘unexplainable’ delay in the completion of the airport in South Caicos and the possibility of ongoing negotiations in relation to the one in North Caicos, he queried: ‘Why not wait to see what amount or step may be needed in facilitating services in these Airports before a hike in fees?’

“In this climate, taxpayers must have more information and the benefit of a complete picture from not just the TCIAA Chiefs but from the Premier himself. The people must know what the current earnings of the TCIAA is; how has the management of the Airports increased to warrant such a large increase; how much does it cost to operate all of these airports; what is the estimated increase in revenue and how will these monies be used,” the former DP said.

He also questioned the avalanche of resignations that had recently affected the TCIAA

“I have serious concerns with the Premier’s oversight of this matter knowing that the TCIAA is no doubt experiencing a major problem with the vast number of Turks and Caicos Islanders resigning from their positions including high level positions. This alone requires a more in-depth investigation.”

Astwood also demanded information about the ongoing canopy project at the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International which should have been completed in less than six months but was running on two years.

“TCIAA has quickly developed a reputation for big spending recently and stalled projects. We need answers as taxpayers. Why now? How much do you intend to raise? How will it be used? The people deserve a response. In a “proactive” step, this information must be provided to the public before this increase is implemented,” he ended.

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Caribbean News

Justice system instructed to improve coordination 

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Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicos#Violence, February 23rd, 2024 – Violence exploded in the Turks and Caicos between January 26 and February 2nd, and with signs pointing to the involvement of recently released convicts the National Security Council is on a mission to reduce the risk of flare ups when offenders rejoin society.

The Police Force, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and other criminal Justice partners have now been instructed to review how they coordinate with each other and complete their specific roles to support case progression. Assessments about public safety in respect to offenders during bail hearings are also to be given keen attention.

The NSC is also planning to engage with the Judiciary as part of this review to help with delivering verdicts in a timely manner,

Called after the January 26 killing in Grand Turk which allegedly involved a former inmate, the meeting gathered law enforcement and other partners so that the NSC could get a sense of how effectively they were working with each other to ‘secure criminal justice outcomes.’

“The NSC— sought briefings on the effectiveness of liaison between the RTCIPF, the office of the DPP and wider criminal justice agencies in respect of case progression, including the assessments made to public safety that inform representations at bail hearings,” a statement revealed.

The information detailing the January 30th NSC meeting was released on February 2nd.

With senior leadership from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF), the TCI Regiment, TCI Border Force, HMP and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the room, the NSC looked into two incidents involving recently released inmates.

Two days after the meeting the NSC chairs had to be briefed again about another incident involving a former inmate where two men were left dead on February 1.

The Council headed jointly by Washington Misick, TCI Premier and Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor says the risk reduction strategies discussed in the meeting NSC will seek to address HMP exit arrangements and risks to public safety.

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