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Joint Statement: TCI Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism on New York’s Quarantine Requirement

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – October 1, 2020 – The Ministry of Tourism, Turks and Caicos Tourist Board and our friends in the private sector including the TCHTA are following closely and with much interest the New York state executive order which mandates international travelers entering New York from CDC identified level 2 and 3 countries to quarantine for 14 days. Currently Turks and Caicos is identified as a level 3 country by the CDC.

The east coast, and particularly New York, is a major gateway for visitors to our destination. Additionally, the USA market as of 2019 accounted for 82% of air arrivals to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Consequently, the Tourist Board and Ministry of Tourism have taken actionable steps in response to this decision. The Tourist Board, has reached out directly to New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and the Ministry of Tourism is working closely with the Ministry of Health to address the CDC’s categorization of Turks and Caicos as a level 3 country.

The Turks and Caicos Islands has made significant progress in its efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. This is evident given the decrease of positive COVID-19 cases reported in recent weeks. The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands has prioritized the health and wellness of both our residents and visitors by introducing stringent public health protocols which are proving to be successful. Therefore, we will continue to engage our partners and work diligently to ensure that Turks and Caicos Islands is excluded from being subject to the quarantine order expeditiously.

Hon Ralph Higgs, Minister of Tourism, Turks and Caicos Islands

In closing the Minister of Tourism Hon. Ralph Higgs stated, “Since the reopening of our borders on July 22, 2020, we have welcomed thousands of visitors, who have enjoyed the warmth and hospitality of our islands and people. And while we are confident that we can continue to do so, I urge all residents and visitors to strictly adhere to the health protocols that are currently in place to help combat this virus”.

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Crime

Denise Buck Family calling for information in her murder case and reward to help find the KILLER

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2022 – Royal TCI Police investigative techniques are again being called into question, this time, it is the sister of Denise Buck, a UK citizen and Grand Turk resident who was on January 3, 2022 murdered at her home who points to serious flaws and a sloppy probe.

“Clearly, probably they’ve never retrieved the phone and they haven’t found the murder weapon. So it’s probably in the creek, isn’t it, at the bottom?  That’s where I’d dumped it if I was a perpetrator of such crime and what they have done, I couldn’t tell you to be honest with you.”

Nearly five months since the killing of Buck, 60 years old, who was bludgeoned with a hammer, and there has been little communication and very little progress in the investigation.  There has also been no reward money offered for information in the crime.

Older sister, Lesley Campbell, a teacher still living in the UK explained even the notion of a reward being offered for information in the crime was snubbed, initially.

“I asked for a reward, before they agreed to doing it. They said that they wouldn’t because people would talk because they want the money.  I said, but you want them to talk don’t you and you don’t give them the money until someone’s convicted.”

The appointed Family Liaison Officer informed Mrs. Campbell that there would be a reward offered in the matter; however, at no time has a reward for information in the case been shared with the public.  It sadly is just as Buck’s sister had feared.

Have phone records been checked?   How did the killer access the house? Why didn’t the killer take the money? Why didn’t Denise run and fight for her life?  Why didn’t 9-11 recognize the call was from Grand Turk and why wasn’t the call recorded, Campbell said she was told the recording feature was broken.

In recanting one of the conversations she has had with police, there was this:  “So you must have his voice then.  Can you not get some of Denise’s friends or people to listen to his voice, maybe someone will recognize it.  Guess what, the recording machine was not working!”

The questions from Buck’s family are many, and we are told they have been shared with family liaison officers, the Governor and the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.  Still there has been little movement in the case, to the satisfaction of the family, no updates this month and no arrests.

“I have never learned what time the police actually got up to my sister’s house, nobody has ever told us that.”

There have been reports, which the police “categorically deny” which reveal that the attacker heartlessly called 911, using Denise Buck’s phone.  It was redacted in a report to the family, but initially Lesley says they were told the man told the operator they could come and get Denise because he was done murdering her.

Royal TCI Police also came under fire for the extreme delay between getting that call and responding to it in person.  An investigation into what transpired had been launched, however, there has been no findings published in the matter of the delayed response to the distress call.

It is also expressed by Buck’s sister that people in Grand Turk also know the killer and at one point, the relatives were contacted for a payoff for information; Lesley Campbell told us that she reported the attempt at blackmail.  That probe too has gotten little traction.

Lesley Campbell described her sister as brilliant, in love with the island of Grand Turk, though a bit too trusting and a woman who was working hard, enjoying her life as an islander.  Her thoughts are that Denise was “as tough as old boots” and believes Ms. Buck was caught off guard because she knew her attacker.

Lesley has vowed she will not give up on justice for Denise.

“I’ve not been able to have any kind of closure or be able to put anything to rest because I am that sort of person.  I guess I can sort of park it somewhere and let other things cloud in… but all I want, I’d like the police to do a bit of work and find the murderer because I can’t imagine on a small island like Grand Turk, that somebody doesn’t know who it is, in fact I know that somebody does know.

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Crime

Actions of Sex predator pastor exposed, sentenced to 40 Years but to only serve 11 for abuse of two girls

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2022 – What he made little girls to do him sexually, willfully, repeatedly and boldly in the home he shared with his wife and the church where he preached from the Holy Bible is sickening.  One is described as his god-daughter and both are described as best friends.  He has sexual relationships with them alone and together  and the ways he sexually assaulted these children belonging to families who trusted him is just mortifying to learn.  They were only 11 and 14 years old.

Derek Miller has pled guilty to all of it.

It is nothing anyone expects from a Salvation Army captain, nothing anyone expects from the son of an assistant commissioner of police and school principal, but there is was laid bare in the court room and expressed in a revealing news article by the TCI Sun newspaper which detailed the sexual encounters and the slap on the wrist time he will spend in prison.

Judge Tanya Lobban-Jackson gave him nine years on the attempted rape charge for each of the victims.  She also handed down 11 years on the rape charge, per victim which is an overall sentencing of 40 years.

The sentences will not run consecutively, but concurrently and includes the time he has already spent on remand for the crimes.  Derek Miller will not even do a decade for his abuse and violation of the two girls.

The disgraced pastor is 48-years-old, originally from Guyana and pled guilty to the charges brought against him.  Residents were stunned by his arrest about a year ago, May 2021, now are further floored by the details of the acts against the girls.

The matter came to the attention of police when one of the girls’ cell phone was confiscated by her school.  That phone was turned over to her brother, who found the sexual messages between his sister and Miller.  That is when the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit of the Royal TCI Police took over from there.

In video interviews, the reports were secured from the girls and Miller’s fate was sealed.

Derek Miller was sentenced over video link; he remains in custody at the Department of Corrections or Her Majesty’s Prison in Grand Turk.

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Education

Education Defence mounted by Minister Rachel Taylor  

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2022 – “Education is undeniably critical to our success as we continue or march towards nation building. Budgets are not merely arithmetic…but in a thousand ways go to the root of prosperity of individuals nation building  begins with ensuring that there is a capable competent workforce to steer our country’s economic development,” said Rachel Taylor, TCI Minister of Education as she explained how the new Budget would  benefit education and youth.

Taylor’s Ministry had come under fire from the Leader of the Opposition for not having enough support to students including textbooks and online resources.

The Education Minister revealed that $4.5 million has been budgeted to help with broken down infrastructure which includes the decades long flooding issue at H.J. Robinson High School (Grand Turk) which has been left neglected over several administrations.  Taylor also talked up a new six classroom block  for Louise Garland Thomas  High (Long Bay) and a three classroom block  for Clement Howell High school (Blue Hills).

An additional $1 million, she said has been budgeted to further upgrade infrastructure across schools. Additionally Taylor informed that schools are to receive upwards of $130, for specifically for 18 and other miscellaneous items.

For the upgrading of equipment and furniture $800,000, has been allotted to schools, beneficiaries include Raymond Gardiner High in North Caicos; Marjorie Basden High in South Caicos; Doris Robinson Primary in Middle Caicos and Enid Capron School in Five Cays.

Security in the primary schools and high schools has been issue and Government will finally address it.  Minister Taylor, a former primary school principal announced $600,000 is earmarked for proper security contracts, bringing priority to safety of students in the public school sector.

In reply to the Leader of the Opposition, Edwin Astwood, Minister Taylor revealed that teachers in the Turks and Caicos government schools were being trained in several online areas including Kahoot Minecraft learning and others.

Taylor mentioned that the budget was an investment in the use of the Turks and Caicos’s and I’ll just see you but older persons who wish to better themselves as well.

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