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TCI Premier gives half; House dissolved but still no General Election date

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#TurksandCaicosIslands – December 24, 2020 – “I have met with the Governor and I have advised him to have the House of Assembly dissolved today, 24 December…our legislative work has been done and so the people will get to decide on who will form the next legislator,” said Sharlene Robinson, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

With bated breath residents waited for more from the Premier, who was flanked by her parliamentary colleagues, but the morsel of a date for the next national poll was not served by the premier and PDM party leader.

“The date for general elections however, will be announced in short order.”

For those, who have been demanding a date for months, namely the Opposition PNP; the dissolution of parliament without an accompanying date was a disappointment. 

The Premier explained, “We thought it important to let you the people go enjoy your holidays first.  Now that the House has been dissolved, it means the clock has truly begun to tick.”

There was also very little in the way of clues about the date to be announced; only that, as the constitution allows, it would happen within 90 days.

“And the people of the Turks and Caicos will get to decide their government by the end of the first quarter…But exactly when the next vote will be, will be announced after the Merry Christmas,” she smiled.

Prior to the announcement, the Premier listed accomplishments of her administration including Child Safety legislation, Cooperative Credit Union legislation and measures to protect the financial services sector and reputation of the TCI. 

Now a caretaker government, the cabinet ministers and members of parliament were praised for their performance.

“I want to thank my colleagues here who have faithfully served this nation in the last four years and whose counsel and wisdom  I have depended on during my tenure as Premier.   At another time, in another place, I will surely declare that one good term, deserves another.  But just for now, let me state that I am proud of this team, OI want to also publically thank their families who have  made sacrifices of their own – the wives and husbands, sons and daughters who labored in the national vineyard for and on behalf of the people of the Turks and Caicos.   Sometimes we do not stop long enough to appreciate the contribution of families, but indeed these communities of the islands are in essence one big family.”

Premier Robinson, who informed the press conference held at the Office of the Premier in Providenciales on Christmas Eve would be her final for 2020; she and her team are optimistic about the New Year and certain of a re-election.

“Through the grace of God, we have a feeling that 2021 will be a great year because we are confident that the people of the Turks and Caicos will vote to don’t stop the movement.  Let us not lose our gains and remember, ‘Don’t stop the Movement’. God bless you.”  

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Police De-Briefing with TCI Governor Daniel-Selvaratnam

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#TurksandCaicos#Anti-Crime, February 23rd, 2024 – De-briefing Acting Commissioner of Police Christopher Eyre held a meeting with Her Excellency the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and Member of Parliament for Grand Turk North, the Hon. Otis Morris, today (February 21st ) at Police Headquarters, Airport Road, Providenciales.

The debriefing was to discuss concerns raised by residents during last evening’s Anti-Crime Town Hall meeting at the H.J Robinson High School, Grand Turk. Commissioner Eyre expressed his deep appreciation to Her Excellency and Hon Morris for their attendance, saying that work was already underway to address the community concerns.

Commissioner Eyre said: “I acknowledge the challenges raised and wish to assure you that the Executive of the RTCIPF remains steadfast in ensuring the TCI is safe. We listened to your concerns, and I assure you that rebuilding trust and strengthening community-policing relations are top priorities.“

The RTCIPF has taken a holistic approach in the fight against crime. Increased visibility, greater stakeholder collaborations and ongoing dialogue forums to appraise you will occur. We are accountable to you.”

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Too much secrecy with Airport Tax increase says former Deputy Premier Sean Astwood

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Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicos#Tax, February 23rd, 2024 – “The TCIAA should not be allowed to announce and implement new or increased taxes or fees in this already difficult financial climate without more details,” says Sean Astwood, Former Deputy Premier regarding the increase in the  Airport Development Fee from $20 to $35 describing the increase as not proactive but premature.

Astwood said there were a number of questions that he believed every Turks and Caicos Islander should ask and have the right to know the answers to including ‘Why now?’

The Opposition PDM member pointed out that only one airport has international flights and it would soon undergo a change in structure, paired with the ‘unexplainable’ delay in the completion of the airport in South Caicos and the possibility of ongoing negotiations in relation to the one in North Caicos, he queried: ‘Why not wait to see what amount or step may be needed in facilitating services in these Airports before a hike in fees?’

“In this climate, taxpayers must have more information and the benefit of a complete picture from not just the TCIAA Chiefs but from the Premier himself. The people must know what the current earnings of the TCIAA is; how has the management of the Airports increased to warrant such a large increase; how much does it cost to operate all of these airports; what is the estimated increase in revenue and how will these monies be used,” the former DP said.

He also questioned the avalanche of resignations that had recently affected the TCIAA

“I have serious concerns with the Premier’s oversight of this matter knowing that the TCIAA is no doubt experiencing a major problem with the vast number of Turks and Caicos Islanders resigning from their positions including high level positions. This alone requires a more in-depth investigation.”

Astwood also demanded information about the ongoing canopy project at the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International which should have been completed in less than six months but was running on two years.

“TCIAA has quickly developed a reputation for big spending recently and stalled projects. We need answers as taxpayers. Why now? How much do you intend to raise? How will it be used? The people deserve a response. In a “proactive” step, this information must be provided to the public before this increase is implemented,” he ended.

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Caribbean News

Justice system instructed to improve coordination 

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Dana Malcolm
Staff Writer 

#TurksandCaicos#Violence, February 23rd, 2024 – Violence exploded in the Turks and Caicos between January 26 and February 2nd, and with signs pointing to the involvement of recently released convicts the National Security Council is on a mission to reduce the risk of flare ups when offenders rejoin society.

The Police Force, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and other criminal Justice partners have now been instructed to review how they coordinate with each other and complete their specific roles to support case progression. Assessments about public safety in respect to offenders during bail hearings are also to be given keen attention.

The NSC is also planning to engage with the Judiciary as part of this review to help with delivering verdicts in a timely manner,

Called after the January 26 killing in Grand Turk which allegedly involved a former inmate, the meeting gathered law enforcement and other partners so that the NSC could get a sense of how effectively they were working with each other to ‘secure criminal justice outcomes.’

“The NSC— sought briefings on the effectiveness of liaison between the RTCIPF, the office of the DPP and wider criminal justice agencies in respect of case progression, including the assessments made to public safety that inform representations at bail hearings,” a statement revealed.

The information detailing the January 30th NSC meeting was released on February 2nd.

With senior leadership from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF), the TCI Regiment, TCI Border Force, HMP and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the room, the NSC looked into two incidents involving recently released inmates.

Two days after the meeting the NSC chairs had to be briefed again about another incident involving a former inmate where two men were left dead on February 1.

The Council headed jointly by Washington Misick, TCI Premier and Dileeni Daniel Selvaratnam, TCI Governor says the risk reduction strategies discussed in the meeting NSC will seek to address HMP exit arrangements and risks to public safety.

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