#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.
Bahamas and Turks & Caicos Immigration Ministers make appearance on TCI Radio Talk Show
By Dana Malcolm
#TheBahamas, November 25, 2022 – “We have a humanitarian concern of course but we can only absorb so much” was how Fred Mitchell, Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service in The Bahamas addressed the issue of the UN constantly nudging Caribbean countries about the deportation of migrants and recommending that it not be done.
He was speaking Thursday November 24 with Cheryl and Zhavargo on First Edition which airs on RTC FM.
While acknowledging that the UN offices likely ‘have to do what they do’ Minister Mitchell explained that the current irregular migrants trying to get into the Bahamas did not fit the bill of ‘refugees’ as defined by the UN.
“We have a treaty obligation that says that if people have a fear of persecution in their home country that we have an obligation to take them in as asylum seekers. The people who come through on these boats from the south of us are not asylum seekers. They are afraid of poverty and that’s a difficult issue but in a legal sense we’re not obligated to embrace people on that basis.”
He cited a study that had found, on any given day there were around 7,000 illegal migrants in The Bahamas trying to get to the US maintaining that his chain of islands had to take a stand on the issue. The Foreign Affairs minister acknowledged that TCI was in an identical situation, citing also the the cultural effects of irregular migration.
“There is a cleavage which has developed in our own society over this; people are very concerned that we could lose our identity if we do not get on top of it.”
Earlier this year Arlington “new sheriff in town” Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services in the Turks and Caicos had described statements calling on surrounding countries to do more to assist persons fleeing Haiti as “reckless and misguided.”
“Haiti has a population of 11.6 million people. How could any small developing state like the Turks and Caicos Islands assist that number of people or even the smallest fraction of them? We have a population of some 47,000 persons, and our health care, education and other social systems remain fragile and could never withstand an influx of refugees. This would be a risk to our very own livelihood,” he had said.
He was interviewed in the same show on Thursday prior to Mitchell and expressed a similar determination to crack down on illegal migration.
“I want to stress this. If we catch anyone harbouring illegals, it could be my mommy, she’s going up. We cannot tolerate this. We’re catching the sloops so my Haitian brothers and sisters should stress to them don’t waste your money we’re sending you back.”
Turks and Caicos, this year passed a law, doubling fines and prison times for individuals harbouring illegal migrants.
Next Year, more courses, more staff, new location for TVET says Minister Taylor
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2022 – TVET offerings in the Turks and Caicos will definitely increase, especially for incarcerated people according to Minister of Education Rachel Taylor. Taylor was responding to queries from a resident about the limited course offerings in a Town Hall meeting on Monday November 21st.
“By next year you will see more programs being offered, not just at the prison, but also at the community college.” she said.
Mentioning that the Turks and Caicos Community College already offered courses like Commercial Food Preparation, Customer services as well as Electrical Engineering, but not some others like masonry, she said that the one thing they were working on was synchronizing courses between high schools and higher education.
“We will have to align the courses that are offered in high school also in the community college. Persons may not be aware but the Caribbean Vocational Qualification is actually level one of TVET, so when our students finish with the carpentry and the masonry and data entry, they can move into level two at the community college.”
In order to make that happen there are several things the government must do, she explained.
“Currently, we have to get onboard additional manpower at the community college [that] has already been budgeted.” She said that interviews were already taking place for adult learning assessment officers and a larger space at Alliance Business Plaza had been procured.
“We have recently purchased Club Pillows, which will be our new Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, which will provide us a better outlet to introduce additional courses.”
Referencing the new program geared towards inmates, she said, “The first phase of the MOU is the introduction of the Commercial Food Preparation and Customer services so we will definitely increase the offerings. We will have that dialogue with the inmates in terms of the — kind of training they would want to receive.”
Increased TVET offerings had been one of the major requests from young people during a recent youth survey. The Bahamas Technical Vocational Institute has also been flown into the TCI to consult and help broaden the offerings provided in the technical, vocational programme.
Claudine Ewing Appointed CEO of United Way TCI
November 25, 2022 – United Way Turks and Caicos is pleased to reintroduce Ms. Claudine Ewing as our Chief Executive Officer.
Inciting change and promoting growth are major attributes of one that leads a Nonprofit Organization; attributes that is regularly exhibited by Ms. Ewing, who was among the founding leaders of this 4 years old Non-profit Organization, she held the post of Executive Director for 2 years and was able to incite change and growth for many young people through our various programs and initiatives. During the severe period of Covid she was forced to leave, to become a caregiver for her parents who demanded much of her time.
However, her love for philanthropic work always held a place in her heart and she knew that one day she needed to continue on the path of changing the lives of young people for the betterment of our country.
Ms. Ewing’s ability to be a creative thinker, forge relationships with community partners, promote volunteerism, leverage the community to be consistent and get involved, are just some of the qualities that she bring to this role in such crucial times to strengthen the fabric of our community.
Ms. Ewing said “ I’m excited to be back on the team and even more excited to get our program initiatives back up and running, with creative ideas and community conversations that will have everyone engaged. “
Chairman of the Board, Mr. Mark Fulford said “As a Board we are please to pledge our support to our Executive Director Ms. Claudine Ewing. We encourage the community to get involve, as we reignite our Program Initiatives and continue to forge relationships with fellow Non-profits to have a greater impact in our community”.
About United Way Turks and Caicos:
United Way Turks & Caicos was established in 2018 by a group of Turks and Caicos Islands business leaders, together along with an established international donor. Our vision for ‘giving back’ and contributing to society is aligned with United Way World wide’s mission and values. This was the driving force behind the desire to replicate the success of the United Way model in the Turks & Caicos Islands. United Way Turks & Caicos Islands is comprised of 15 Board Directors within diverse sectors of our society and business community.
Together we set the goals for UWTCI and envision a community where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through Education. Our Mission is to improve lives by cultivating and inspiring the caring power of the community to advance the common good of all which is being executed by an Executive Director and Staff supported by hundreds of volunteers.
Contact info: 6493334545
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