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Grand Turk murder suspicion case lacks evidence; reason for Swann’s bail says attorney

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – September 1, 2020 – Turks and Caicos Islands Police arrested and named two men in a murder investigation which stunned residents of Grand Turk and shocked the nation.

Days later, those men were given police bail and set free.

It was a double murder; two men gunned down within minutes of each other in Grand Turk.  It was a set of ‘hits’ frighteningly well planned and seemingly with little to no physical evidence left behind about who could have executed such a heinous crime.

Police, the day following the double killing informed that arrested on suspicion were: 

“31-year-old Dominic Swann was arrested on Grand Turk for Murder in connection to the shooting of the 23-year-old man in the Over Back District around 11:00 p.m.

25-year-old Ellington Been was arrested on Providenciales for Murder in connection to the shooting of the 37-year-old man and the wounding of the 44-year-old man at a bar off Church Folly on Grand Turk around 11:27 p.m.”

One suspect in the case, Dominic Swann has hired attorney Lara Maroof as his representation and on Friday, August 28, Maroof issued this statement:

“At around 9am on Monday 24th August 2020, Dominic Swann was asked by the police to attend at the Grand Turk police station. He willingly attended and was then arrested on suspicion of murder of Deon Emmanuel which occurred late on Sunday 23rd August. Mr Swann was subsequently detained at the station until Wednesday 26th August 2020. He was not charged with any offences as there was no evidence upon which to charge him. Neither did the police apply to keep him in extended detention at the station. The police granted Mr Swann bail whilst they continue to investigate the murder. This was in accordance with the normal police procedure whilst an investigation is being carried out and Mr Swann received no special treatment.”

It was the day before, Thursday August 27 that the Royal TCI Police delivered the concerning news that both men held on suspicion were released on bail.

Dominic Swann was released in Grand Turk on $20,000 bail, and must return to the police station on that island, said a Police press release.

Ellington Been also received bail in the amount of $20,000 and is requested to report back to the Chalk Sound Police station.

In his statement, Dominic Swann denied having any involvement in this horrific crime and says he is “an innocent man. We sincerely hope that a thorough investigation will be carried out by the police into this serious crime which will confirm his innocence. We hope that this clarifies the current position with regard to this matter for the public.”

Police have asked for public assistance in solving the murders which took place on Sunday August 23, 2020; killed were Deon Emmanuel, 23 and Howard Freites Junior, 37. A third man was shot in the incident and last listed in stable condition at the Cockburn Town Medical Centre.

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Caribbean News

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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