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TCI: Sean Astwood resigns as Interim Leader & Deputy Leader of PDM, 100 days on

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Sean Astwood is resigning frontline politics, saying he will step aside as interim leader and deputy leader to allow the People’s Democratic Movement the opportunity to re-invent itself.

“As the PDM continues to reengineer, reimagine, rethink, reboot and reconnect with the wonderful people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I want to assure the Official Opposition Leader Hon. Edwin Astwood, the NGC, our various branches, especially the Provo Branch (my home branch), PDMs everywhere and all people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, that I remain committed to the orderly development of our party and country,” said Astwood in a statement issued on Sunday May 30.

The former Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos said he never anticipated rising to such ranks in his early days as a member of the People’s Democratic Movement, but is grateful for his experiences in the political arena.

“As a believer in the Party of JAGS MCCartney I started this political journey nearly two decades ago. Initially, as political neophyte who always assisted people but never contemplated political service. My journey began with great hope and soon what I thought, at the time, was a devastating legal and political defeat. Since then, this journey with its many ups and down has afforded me to raise to the position within the party politically as Interim Leader and from governance standpoint of Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands holding multiple Ministerial posts. This journey has provided me a profound appreciation for the beauty and potential of our country and its people.”

One day from commemorating the impact of the first chief minister and founding father of his party, the People’s Democratic Movement and Rt Most Excellent JAGS McCartney; Sean Astwood has decided that on June 4, 2021 his resignation should take effect.

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“I take pride in my membership of the PDM and the outstanding work we have done; especially in the past term in protecting the environment, positively impacting every constituency throughout our islands, particularly through infrastructural works, and our focus on transforming the way Government does business. I am proud of my service in the various capacities over these many years. I do not claim perfection, but I am resolute in my belief that every single day I got up thinking and doing what I could to provide better for all the people of the TCI; and to protect our country and its environs for those yet unborn. On Monday, May 31st, 2021, our Country will be celebrating JAGS McCartney Day, formerly National Heroes Day. We will be celebrating the father of our Nation and of the PDM. As the JAGS McCartney holiday quickly approaches, the party of JAGS must continue to rebuild,” he penned in the statement.

The People’s Democratic Movement suffered a staggering loss at the polls on February 19; the day after its party leader Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson resigned from the leadership position.  Now, 100 days later so does its deputy and interim leader, Sean Astwood.

“As I step aside as Interim Leader and the position as Deputy Leader of the PDM effective this 4th day of June 2021, I know our party will continue to be strong, and represent the people of these beautiful islands, we call home.”

The party has been silent.  Holding no media conferences or in person sessions with the wider press core since its 14 to 1 defeat in the 2021 General Election.  The PDM lost significant ground; nine seats lured away by the now governing Progressive National Party, even as the PDM held 45 per cent of the vote. 

Sean Astwood’s Five Cays and Chalk Sound constituency was one of the major upsets.  The two-term member of parliament, who had enjoyed huge popularity just four years prior, was unseated by Rachel Taylor.

“My undying love for our people, our country and our party, the People’s Democratic Movement, will forever burn. My passion for modernizing our government systems, party, and country, I trust, will continue to be advanced as we grow from strength to strength,” he added a thank you, “I am thankful to God and the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands; especially my people of Five Cays, South Dock and Chalk Sound for the wonderful opportunity.”

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Caribbean News

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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