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TCI: A Protest to Stop SIPT resulted in a Stop of Traffic; Residents demand an end to the expensive trial

#TurksandCaicos, March 3, 2021 – They say enough is enough and are calling for the UK to stop the ravaging of the Turk sand Caicos public purse after the Director of Public Prosecutions determined the government corruption case and trial, which have dragged on for 12-years to the tune of over $100 million should continue.

“The financial burden and strain placed on our country because of this case that has been going on for over 10 years is funding that could have been injected into major projects, infrastructure, health, funding our police better, giving them better insurance and I mean, all different areas and departments in the country … the unfairness of this case is just too much for us as a people to bear and we have to come together in unity and unify and stand up for something because if we don’t we are going to fall for whatever they feed or shove in our mouths,” said Nikita Skippings, aka Chef Nik, local culinary ambassador.

“And the taste of this is very bitter!  We had over a hundred people out there today, strong and it was community people, business people, man and woman who just got tired of just accepting whatever has been thrown at us,” he continued and described the protest as peaceful and serious.

Protestors may have been peaceful in their stance, but it was where they stood which literally created a show-stopping situation in front of the courthouse where the Special Investigation and Prosecution Trial is held.  Lined across the street, the individuals bearing placards caused a major traffic was jam which lasted around an hour.

The group shouted its objection to the decision to move forward with the trial, although the “judge and jury” in the matter, Justice Paul Harrison is now deceased.

“We plan to continue on with the protest until we get the results that we need.  WE can no longer sit and accept the decisions which are made by these ‘Johnny come Lately” people throw at us.  What do they think?  They don’t think we have a voice, have a say?  This is our country, we are Turks and Caicos Islanders and we should have a say in whatever is passed on to us and today we used  our voice in a most positive way and I am very proud of what came from today.”

Some dismissed the protest however; calling the residents an unruly “PNPs” trying to stop Michael Misick, the former and embattled premier of the Turks and Caicos from paying for his alleged crimes of corruption while in office.

“They had a road block, they were blocking the road and stopping the court process. Stopping people from going into the court (house) yard down there and the Police had to come down there; the riot police had to come and stop all of what was going on,” informed a driver caught in the traffic clog.

“I have a message for the UK, who is our overseer and its straight, plain and simple. If you aint helping us, you’re hurting us. Over $100 million dollars could have been injected into this place and could have been used in protecting our borders better from illegal sloops and immigrants entering this country – day and night and night and day. It could gone to our education system and scholarships; healthcare  and could have gone to special needs… you need the department and a hundred million dollars could have gone a long way in our country.  So the UK needs to let that sink in for a bit,” added Mr. Skippings. 

Chef Nik,  in response to our question about blocking traffic along the critical section of Leeward Highway that, “I would say there were a lot of stiff legs out there, slow to move.”

In a live stream on Facebook you could hear a female protestor, over the blaring sirens of a police vehicle saying:  “…the people are fed up, the people are angry, the people are mad, they’re tired of SIPT!  SIPT must go!  We had enough!  We are not sitting down anymore!  Enough is enough!”

High Court judge, Paul Harrison, 85, died on Sunday February 7 in his native Jamaica after a short bout of illness.  The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had until Monday March 1, 2021 to present a plan for a way forward in the matter to the Chief Justice of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Andrew Mitchell, QC and lead prosecutor made the presentation which included dropping charges against two defendants and proceeding with the trial against the remaining six men, including the ex-premier.

Traffic flow was impacted and by shortly after 1 p.m., Police managed to get it going again.  Protestors vow, they will be back.

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