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Hold the Governor accountable about promises and plans to beat down crime; for T-Bone and others’ sake

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Twelyn 'T-Bone' Swann, 20th Turks and Caicos murder victim

#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – October 10, 2020 — Because violent crime is at its highest level ever in the Turks and Caicos, islanders must demand accountability when it comes to remedies announced during a crime strategy press conference held September 15.

Criminals are getting away with murder, literally speaking.  Leaders are getting away with not curbing these violent, deadly encounters, figuratively speaking.  Meanwhile residents and tourists are paying – in the worst cases – with their lives.

A 20th murder on October 8 revived feelings that safety is gravely under threat or non-existent in the Turks and Caicos, and that those managing national security are failing at their jobs.

H.E. Nigel Dakin, TCI Governor at swearing in ceremony, 2019

National Security is part of the portfolio of the territory’s governor, who at this time is Nigel Dakin.

A Turks and Caicos businessman, Twelyn “T-Bone” Swann was shot and killed at his home and business on South Dock road, sometime between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  There has been a statement from TCI Police to confirm that a murder investigation is launched; nothing more.

Fifty-year old, T-Bone is well-known; a talented welder with a cheerful personality described as a ‘gem’ by those speaking to Magnetic Media.  T-Bone is another beloved citizen gunned down at the sanctity of his home, which points to a trend for armed private property invasions which target and terrorise victims.

T-Bone was a popular welder; residents are shocked by the cold-hearted killing

An outrageous crime, and confidence about catching the killer or killers is low.

One man spoke in a voice note about what he heard of how T-Bone was discovered:  “…he was shot in his chest.  Another mother who will never find out who do it; my God!”

“I really cannot wrap my mind around this, how these decent law abiding citizens gatta come to this man.  It’s like so heartbreaking.  You know?  It’s so heartbreaking.  I don’t know what this man children going through today and his family because it’s such a tight knit family.  This is such sad news man,” said a woman from the group.

The comments were shared on WhatsApp; a part of a string of remarks about T-Bone, about crime, about the prevalence of guns and about the safety of the Turks and Caicos.

“…guns are on the black market and there seems to be no raids that are going on although you can hear of where they might be and who might be in possession of them.  They’ve not really carried out any full scale raids to determine if the allegations being made have grounds,” said another woman from the chat who went on to inform, “They’re now saying you can have murder for hire in Turks and Caicos right now, if the price is right and people are afraid, really afraid.”

The Governor at the September press conference said there are raids which are getting guns off the streets.

“The Tactical Unit go from strength-to-strength. It’s they who are executing warrants at night, going through doors, removing weapons from armed men. Through experience they are becoming a ‘national elite’. Next month (October) they are joined by armed officers from the UK Police’s Firearms cadre – partly funded by the UK, partly funded by TCIG – who bring a full range of skills including the ability to go up against the hardest targets engaged in the most violent of offences. These UK Tactical Firearms Officers will be with us for a year while they are backfilled from our Force and the region. The UK is also sending firearms training officers to help upskill the overall Force,” said Nigel Dakin, Governor.

The raids by the tactical unit are covert operations. Trevor Botting, the Commissioner of the Royal TCI Police Force, during a media briefing on August  27, said over a period of 90-days the tactical unit performed 38 raids; there were seven arrests and four individuals have been arraigned on criminal charges.

Trevor Botting, TCI Police Commissioner

More overtly the Governor has promised the Turks and Caicos will get armed officers from the United Kingdom and local police members will be trained in how to safely and proficiently use a firearm. 

Accountability means, islanders should know when the help arrives and be informed of the progresses from this one-year deployment and training.

Two special investigators are also promised to arrive in the territory to boost capacity at the Criminal Investigation Department.

Crime scene at T-Bone’s welding company and home on South Dock Rd, Providenciales

“Two UK Superintendents have either arrived or about to. They, along with the recently promoted Willet Harvey (responsible for the Sri Lankan investigation) will form the crucial mid-level leadership in the Force – the UK officers bring much homicide experience with them and unlike the past won’t just deliver, they will mentor,” said Governor Dakin in the press conference shared with the premier and the commissioner of police.

Islanders are assured of law for the protection of witnesses in criminal cases; forensic science to strengthen investigations; new modern legislation to incorporate electronic evidence and partnership with security companies to increase capacity for more ‘eyes and ears’ working to prevent crimes and catch criminals.

“But beyond the Police there is a huge cohort of those involved in deterring crime – the security industry – and there is I believe much more that can be done in professionalising this industry, regulating it, and, as is the case in the UK, building serious partnership between it and the police. Exploratory work has started, again being developed out of the National Security Secretariat to do just that. If we get this synergy right we will have a significantly expanded group of well-trained individuals, to an internationally recognised standard, working to the same ends – the increased security of our communities.”

Additionally, there is a plan to get to the root of criminal behaviour.

“The Permanent Secretary National Security has now taken direction from the Premier to do just this – help build a crime reduction strategy that is cross-Government and in partnership with society. It builds out of the success in Bermuda and Glasgow, it’s complex, but it is probably the most singularly important piece of work that Government is presently engaged on and I’m heartened to see the way the intelligent conversation has developed over the last year with, I think, a real understanding that what we face today could have been foreseen or prevented had different approaches been taken in the past.  We now need to collectively write our own future,” said the Governor.

T-Bone Swann was found, reportedly, by a co-worker with a shot to the chest. There is no report on suspects or motive for the murder; No. 20 for 2020 in TCI

In the newest murder investigation of T-Bone Swann; the public learned: “Police Force responded to the South Dock Road area following a report at 7:11 a.m., that a lifeless body of a man was found on the ground outside of a building on Thursday October 8, 2020.”

The statement was issued on October 8.  There has been no update on the progress of the investigation.

Sports

Inter-High and Inter-Primary Track and Field Championships set to end TCI School Sports Season 2023/24 with a bang

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, February 19, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) Track and Field season is in full effect and post the completion of the Track and Field Development meets, the tension has intensified.

On February 10 and 17, the TCAAA alongside the TCI Sports Commission hosted Track and Field Development Meets, to allow athletes to compete and see where they fare up against their peers before the ultimate Nationals. The Distance and Jumps meet took place first with Sprints and Jumps following the following Saturday.

Athlete to Watch

CARIFTA Medalist Love Joseph did not compete in the Distance and Jumps meet, however, he has competed in a few regional meets this year. Joseph won the 800m and 1500m at the Diana Lynn Thompson Invitational on February 10 in Nassau, Bahamas. In the 1500m, he ran 4:22:17 which is a season’s best but not his personal best. In the 800m, he achieved a personal best time of 2:05:86. He now attends the Clement Howell High School, last year competing for the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School.

He also achieved a personal best time of 4:15:37 in the 1500m at the Youngsters Goldsmith Track and Field meet at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on February 3, 2024.
Inter-High School Track and Field Championships (Nationals) | February 29 – March 2
The three-day event will take place at the National Stadium on Venetian Road from Thursday to Saturday, slated to be a showstopping weekend. Junior athletes will not just be competing for a place on the podium, they will also be vying for a spot on the National Team to compete in the CARIFTA Games. This year’s CARIFTA is set to take place in Grenada from March 30 – April 1.
Following on from last year, the medal count determines the Champions of the competition, with gold holding the most weight. Last year, the A. Louise Garland Thomas High School came out on top with 18 Gold, 22 Silver and 13 Bronze medals. Clement Howell High School followed with 16 Gold 6 Silver and 10 Bronze medals with Marjorie Basden High School in third with 12 Gold 9 Silver and 8 Bronze medals.
The full event schedule will be released closer to the competition’s date.

How to Watch
Entry tickets will be sold at the booth, $10 for adults and $5 for children per day. The event will be livestreamed from the TCI Sports Commission and FLOW our streaming partner’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. It will also be broadcast via radio on RTC 89.1 FM.
Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships | March 19 – 21
This year, primary school students will once again get their chance to show what they are made of. The Primary School Championships bring in a high number of schools participating with 18 schools partaking last year. Likewise, following on from last year, the medal count determines the Champions of the competition, with gold holding the most weight.
The two-time champions Ona Glinton Primary School clinched the win in 2022/23 with 19 medals total – 8 Gold 6 Silver and 5 Bronze. Second Place Ianthe Pratt Primary School took home 20 medals – 7 Gold, 7 Silver and 6 Bronze while Richmond Hill Primary School placed third with 12 medals – 7 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze.
The full event schedule will be released closer to the competition’s date.

Upcoming events in the Turks and Caicos Islands School Sports (TCISS) 2023/24 Sport Schedule

  1. TCISS Inter-High School Track and Field Championships – February 29 – March 2, 2024 (National Stadium, Providenciales)
  2. TCISS Inter-Primary School Track and Field Championships – March 19-21, 2024 (National Stadium, Providenciales)

The full TCISS event schedule, standings and further updates can be found on the TCI Sports Commission’s website https://www.gov.tc/sports/our-events/tci-school-sports.

For the latest news on the TCISS, fans can follow on Instagram (@tcisportscommission) and Facebook (Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission). To share your experience with TCISS on social, use the hashtags #TCISS and #morethanjustsports.

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Crime

Three Arrested, Drugs Seized in North Caicos

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Serious Crime Unit detectives of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have arrested  three men and seized a quantity of marijuana and cocaine during anti-crime operations in North  Caicos. 

Senior Officers and Magistrates issued Authorities and Warrants to Search four premises from  noon on February 14th to 3 pm today (February 16th). 

Three males, two of whom are aged 21 and an 18-year-old, were arrested for murder.  Investigations remain ongoing. 

Head of the Serious Crime and Public Protection Unit Superintendent Dean Holden said: “Our  team’s dedication and intelligence-led policing continue to play a significant role in disrupting  criminal activities.  

“Our operations will remain ongoing throughout the TCI as we continue to pursue leads and  ensure those responsible for causing fear are held accountable within the confines of the law. Our  communities deserve to feel safe, and we won’t rest until that goal is achieved.  

“I wish to also thank members of the public for their continued support and information ”. 

Additionally, Tactical Officers conducted a series of operations in Grand Turk. Several field searches were conducted in Over Back, and several items relating to ongoing  investigations were found, including a firearm. 

The public is asked to contact 911, the closest police station, the RTCIPF Serious Crime Unit at  231-1842, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and anonymously give any information on  illegal activity.

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Caribbean News

Deputy Premier Spot on, TCI TODAY Removed from EU Blacklist

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Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

#TurksandCaicosIslands – February 20, 2024Sixteen months after being added to the European Union’s Black List for non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, the Turks and Caicos Islands is now off that list.

“Today,the Council removed The Bahamas, Belize, Seychelles and Turks and Caicos Islands from the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.”

The release explicitly states that in the case of the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas, “ever since October 2022, deficiencies in the enforcement of economic substance requirements had been identified in both of these jurisdictions by the OECD Forum of Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP).”

It was recommended for remedy to the deficiencies has now been “converted from hard to soft recommendations,” said the statement.

That pivot was fundamental in the de-listing of the two countries said the information from the Council.

“…which allowed the Code of Conduct Group to consider these jurisdictions with no or only a nominal corporate income tax.”

When Magnetic Media spoke to E. Jay Saunders, Turks and Caicos Deputy Premier and Finance Minister in March 2023 he had full confidence that it was only a matter of time before the TCI was given a more favourable position with the EU. 

“There is no question about it. I’m confident that by February 2024, we will be off the list– I’m completely confident and there are no lasting repercussions.”   

 It had been sub-par computer systems that landed the TCI on the list.  The Deputy Premier, at the time offered that the EU was being too dramatic and its language, disproportionate surrounding the issue. 

That black listing and gray listing is often viewed as a black eye in the financial services sector, therefore this announcement today is vindication for the TCI and a huge plus for the Fintech ambitions of the Misick-led government.

 Twelve others remain with the unsavory categorization including Caribbean neighbours: Trinidad and Tobago; US Virgin Islands; Anguilla and Antigua and Barbuda.

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