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Chris Forbes: TCIs worst criminal gets dramatic relocation to Maximum Security in the UK

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#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.  

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Caribbean News

Understanding Sargassum with help from the TCI’s Department of Environment & Coastal Resources  

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – Sargassum, also known as seaweed, is a natural brown macroalga that lives in temperate and tropical oceans of the world. The floating micro eco-system is important to many species, including baby turtles, little crabs, and tiny fish. All these animals use the floating rafts of the sargassum for protection, shelter, and food.

Over the years, sargassum has been increasing its quantity in the Caribbean due to climate change. As water temperatures increase, sargassum blooms, and as this continues, it occurs in large amounts. This can be dangerous for some marine life because when seaweed washes up on the shore, some species become trapped in the sargassum mat.

Environmental Outreach Coordinator at the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources for TCI, Amy Avenant, says the Turks and Caicos Islands has not seen the worst of the overgrowth.

“In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we have not seen the full severity of sargassum blooms. Our neighbours in Bonaire, for example, experience up to six feet of sargassum, and they have found stranded dolphins, sea turtles, and sometimes even birds,” said Amy Avenant.

“When the sargassum washes up on shore, it starts to decompose, and when it decomposes, it emits methane, and that is the stinky sulfuric eggy smell that you can smell when you walk past it on the beach. It is a bad thing for climate change because of the methane, but it is not harmful to your health.”

Turks and Caicos saw this in extreme amounts in October; so severe, resorts were forced to bag and bury the stinky seaweed which for over a week covered the usually sandy white stretch of Grace Bay beach.

Avenant noted that in the TCI, we have a balance between managing the influx of sargassum and impacting the areas where it lands because its influx is correlated to the cycles of the moon.

She also said sargassum can be used as a fertilizer in farming. If you collect it, the advice is to spread it out and ensure you wash the excess salt off before adding to your gardens or farms.

There are also hidden dangers and habitat threats to the piles of sargassum on shorelines.

Avenant informed, when you see sargassum on the beach, ensure you watch out for wildlife that might be stuck and species which might have made a home of the ocean’s deposit which has washed up, this is heightened on rocky shores.

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