#TurksandCaicosIslands – January 13, 2021 – When Christopher Forbes recently took a Covid-19 PCR test, he likely thought the negative result gave him the all clear as being among those sickened by a coronavirus outbreak at the prison facility in Grand Turk. Turns out it was also his all clear to be carted off in a carefully planned and flawlessly executed transfer not to another site in the tropical Caribbean, but to an impenetrable, maximum security facility for a man of his heinous criminal nature in the United Kingdom.
In a media statement the Governor, the Minister of Home Affairs and the Prison Superintendent opened up, ever so slightly about the shocking removal of infamous Forbes, who is a Turks and Caicos Islander but originally from Grand Bahama Island in The Bahamas.
“Today, Christopher Forbes a prisoner in HMP Grand Turk is being transferred to a prison in the UK. This is where he will serve the remainder of his sentence. He is being escorted by members of the Her Majesty Prison and Probation Service. On arrival, he will reside in a category A prison in England,” said David Bowden, Prison Superintendent.
PrisonPhone website published: There are eight category A prisons in the UK. The facilities are high security prisons where the most dangerous and difficult to manage prisoners are kept. These prisons hold some of the most notorious criminals in the UK, many of whom are serving life sentences. These prisons are designed to make escape impossible for the prisoners, and are commonly described as ‘high security’ or ‘maximum security’ establishments.
It is the second transfer of high maintenance inmates in recent months for the Turks and Caicos prison system under the new superintendent. Residents seem relieved at the steady and sturdy push toward prison reform.
The Governor, His Excellency Nigel Dakin, stated, “the stability of Her Majesty’s Prison is a critical piece in our strategy towards safeguarding national security and we will continue to exercise all avenues available to us in order to accomplish our national goals and secure our institutions and our communities. I am grateful to the UK Government for their support in this matter.”
Forbes, who is easily the worst felon in Turks and Caicos history was convicted of the brutal double homicides in 2016 of Yuneiry Veras in April and Sorineida Moreno Arias in July. Both women from the Dominican Republic were 26-years old when they met their deaths. Both were sexually assaulted, beaten and brutalized and left partially clothed in remote areas of northwest Providenciales.
Search parties mobilised by the Dominican community found both victims. The deaths incited protests which vociferously demanded an arrest by TCI Police. The activism worked and in August 2016 Forbes was arrested. Found, living in plain sight at his girlfriend’s house in the residential community of Millennium Heights.
It was overwhelming DNA evidence which was the undoing of this cold-blooded, sloppy killer. Christopher Forbes’ DNA was found under the finger nails, on clothing, a towel and in a condom left at the crime scene. Due to the struggle for her life, genetic material of the killer was detected in the jewelry his last victim – Sorineida – a mother of two young children; the jury heard how she had peeled away Forbes’ skin which was found in her rings.
Additionally, CCTV cameras captured Forbes’ vehicle picking up a victim in Five Cays. Phone records revealed Forbes was in contact with both women on the nights they went missing and were murdered and a boast, scribbled in the passport of the first victim – Yuneiry Veras – and found in the area of Sweet T’s restaurant was the final piece of the puzzle; police moved in and made the arrest.
In prison, Christopher Forbes was a menace and disturbingly, a jailhouse rock star.
A string of prison violations for abuses against prison superintendents and deputy superintendents led to at least two convictions. Forbes regularly made appearances on Facebook live, had his own stash of expensive liquors like Hennessy, a big screen television, gold jewelry, expensive sunglasses and appeared to be having a ball as a ‘baller’, high on marijuana while living a glamourous life in TCI prison and on the public’s dime.
Meanwhile the families and friends of Sorienda and Yuniery remain traumatized by the vicious killings, which were unprovoked and described by a juror as serial killings by a dangerous man who should spend the rest of his living years behind bars.
In 2020, an historic ruling by Justice Tanya Lobban-Jackson achieved that feat; Christopher Forbes received a double life sentence without any chance for parole. Now around 38-years old, Christopher Forbes will have to settle into one of eight category A prisons in the United Kingdom.
“I am most grateful to the transfer team from the UK. I have also been very impressed by the inter-governmental departments, working very closely with the MoHA, to make this transfer as efficient as it was,” added Superintendent Bowden, who categorised Forbes as a high risk inmate who posed a great risk to the development of HMP Prison as a safe, secure and rehabilitative institution.
The transfer of the prisoner was approved by UK Ministers, as permissible under UK legislation, and supported by the Governor and Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Sea Patrol Vessels Approved by Cabinet, October 11 Meeting
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2023 – Her Excellency the Governor, Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, chaired the 26th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 at the Governor’s Office, Providenciales.
All Members were present except the Hon. Josephine Connolly.
- Approved the Consultation Report on the Proposed Amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islands Immigration Ordinance with amendments and agreed for the amended document to be brought back to Cabinet for final approval for onward submission to the House of Assembly.
- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) and Geta Crew Holding Ltd. for a mixed use development project on the island of Grand Turk, with the view of entering into a Development Agreement as per the Encouragement of Development Ordinance and the National Investment Policy.
- Approved the renewal of rental lease agreement, for various Government offices, between TCIG and Waterloo Property Management, Grand Turk.
- Approved the awarding of the following contracts:
- PN 005694, TR 23/13, Furniture and Equipment for NJS Francis Building; and
- PN 005696, TR 22/10, Purchase of Patrol Vessels.
- It noted the update from Her Excellency the Governor regarding the upcoming visit of UK Ministers to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Grand Turk Tourism Career & Entrepreneur Fair, Showcasing Jobs in the Industry
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2023 – The theme for Tourism Environmental Awareness Month is “Investing in Today for Tomorrow”. Students of the HJ Robinson High School in Grand Turk were given an opportunity on Tuesday, November 14th to learn about job opportunities in the tourism industry.
The students were part of the Tourism Career and Entrepreneurial Fair held at the Yellowman and Sons Auditorium. The career fair was the first of three that Experience Turks and Caicos is staging as part of Tourism Environmental Awareness Month. The other two will be held in South Caicos on November 21st and Providenciales on November 30th.
In her address, Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Josephine Connolly stressed that tourism is the biggest employer in the Turks and Caicos Islands and everything is related to the tourism industry.
“Over the past decade, we have enjoyed immense popularity. We have direct flights from the US every day, we have over 25 flights from the US into the Turks and Caicos Islands on a Saturday and sometimes on a Sunday. We have two direct flights from Europe, Virgin which started last Wednesday and we have British Airways twice a week. There are flights from Canada connecting us and we have flights connecting us in the Caribbean. We have Caicos Express and InterCaribbean,” she said.
“We have to prepare ourselves because we want our tourists to have the best experience from the time they arrive until the time they leave. The industry is changing, the skills are changing and it all matches what the travel and tourism industry needs.”
“Tourism accounts for a large percentage of the workforce and there are many other jobs and businesses that support the tourism industry like cleaning services, landscaping, banking, groceries, shipping companies, utility companies, lawyers and so many more. Although these organisations are not directly into tourism, tourism accounts for a significant portion of their business,” she said.
“Investing in Today for Tomorrow is not solely for economic growth but it is about investing in our environment, communities and most importantly investing in yourselves. Seek membership, acquire knowledge and never underestimate the power of perseverance.”
Also giving remarks was the Honourable Shaun Malcolm, Minister of Health and Human Services, who urged the students to take in everything they can learn.
“This is a great initiative. I had the privilege of working in the hotel industry, in the tourism industry for over 19 years so this is something that is very close and dear to my heart. The Minister of Tourism is working tirelessly every day to ensure that not only do we remain the envy of the Caribbean but that we bring our people along and I want you to know that we spent hours under her leadership as a Government working on improving every island and you will see in the not too distant future, many good things, big things coming to fruition. As the Minister said, Tourism is our business, it is our bread and basket and we don’t take that lightly,” he said.
In his remarks, Jamel Robinson, the Honourable Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure pointed out the careers that people would not normally associate with tourism.
“You have your firemen, you have your Airports Authority, you have Invest TCI, the police and many others, because we all work together to make that 85 percent of our GDP work for all of us,” he said, noting that his Ministry provides the support infrastructure to help the tourism industry in the Turks and Caicos to be the best in the world.
‘It signifies the importance of strategic value of decision making, recognizing the choices you make today directly impacts the future we are building for the generation to come. In the Turks and Caicos, a nation of pristine beaches, rich culture and warm hospitality, investing in today for tomorrow is not only sustaining our tourism industry but also ensuring its responsible growth. It involves equipping our future generation with the skill and knowledge to be stewards of our natural resources and ambassadors of our unique heritage,” he said.
The Tourism Career and Entrepreneurship Fair saw participation from a number of agencies and vendors. We would like to recognise and thank the following for their support: the TCI Community College, Beaches Resort, the Turks and Caicos Airport Authority, the Human Resource Management Directorate, the Royal Turks and Caicos Police Force, the Turks and Caicos Fire Services, the Department of Environmental Coastal Resources (DECR), Department of Maritime and Fisheries, Funtastic Tours, Splash Tours, Invest TCI, Blue Water Divers, Aunty Nanns, Tasty Treats and the Department of Tourism Regulations (DTR).
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