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TCI: Restored Smith’s Reef Snorkel Trail Reopens with Welcome Renovations for Improved Marine Education, Life and Livelihoods

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#TurksandCaicos, June 10, 2021 – Turks and Caicos Islands, June 9, 2021 – The breathtaking sights of the underwater ecosystems at the Smith’s Reef Snorkel Trail are all set to be explored by local communities, students, and international guests thanks to rehabilitative work funded by the Sandals Foundation to ensure the protection of the enchanting marine life, the safety of snorkelers and the sustained livelihood of those who earn a living from using the nearby boating channel.

On Tuesday June 8, in commemoration of World Oceans Day, the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources proudly reopened the more than 20 year old near shore trail after implementing upgrades valued at just under US $30,000 from the Sandals Foundation.

Restoration works included the cleaning and continued maintenance of existing snorkel trail markers, installation of beach signage and marker buoys around the snorkel site, introduction of swim zone lines outside the snorkel area to prevent snorkelers from accidentally entering the boating channel, and the provision of signs and other collateral noting guideline for reef etiquette.

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation was pleased to see the reopening of the iconic site, bringing with it opportunities for sustained education and economic exploration.

“The new underwater trail signs will add to the rich educational experience of students and local community members who’ll be able to develop a deeper appreciation for and understanding of how they too can help protect the beautiful natural resources,” said Clarke.

The site’s reopening is even more significant, Clarke continued, as the theme for this year’s World Oceans Day, “Connects the importance of the Ocean to what we know all too well as Caribbean nationals – our lives and livelihoods. The marine space is part of our identity as a region and we are very happy to have this beautiful snorkel site reopened with restored amenities to not only protect the natural ecosystems that are present but also the life and livelihoods of persons who share in its resources.”

Alizee Zimmermann, Executive Director at the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund expressed gratitude to the Sandal’s Foundation for the Smith’s Reef restoration works funded.

“Smith’s Reef is an iconic off-shore snorkel site enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. The restoration efforts have created a safe space for snorkelers, alerting them to where the boat channel begins through the addition of a swim zone line. Additionally, the snorkel ring itself serves to keep people off of the shallow, fragile areas of the reef, protecting our vulnerable corals all the while taking the snorkeller on an informational tour through the placement of underwater trail markers. The beach signs and waterproof but recyclable maps will make this a fun, educational and memorable experience for all.”

Turks & Caicos is home to the third-largest barrier reef in the world with more than a million travelers venturing to the island each year to explore the wonders of the marine space.

Speaking at the Trail’s brief reopening ceremony executed under strict safety protocols, General Manager at Beaches Turks and Caicos, James McAnally beamed that, “As the island’s tourism industry continues its upward trajectory, the newly reopened snorkel site will be a welcome addition to marine adventure seekers.”

McAnally added, “Many guest travel here to enjoy the vibrant aquatic life and that’s why the Sandals Foundation, Turks and Caicos Reef Fund and Beaches Turks and Caicos believe this restoration project will enhance the sea life activity and options for both residents and tourists.”

Coral reefs are threatened throughout the Caribbean and the tropical Atlantic. Near shore reefs are particularly valuable assets as they allow visitors a one of a kind opportunity to easily access and learn about the wondrous ecosystem. Renovations of the Smith’s Reef Snorkel Trail began in late 2019 but had numerous setbacks due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The project continues the longstanding partnership between the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund and the Sandals Foundation who have over the years implemented a number of activities towards the sustained conservation of the island’s marine spaces.

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STATEMENT FROM THE HONOURABLE C. WASHINGTON MISICK, PREMIER TURKS AND CAICOS GOVERNMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, May 22, 2024 – As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I assure our American friends that the Turks and Caicos Islands prioritizes hospitality, cultural exchange, and mutual respect.  You will find our doors open and our hearts eager to share the warmth and beauty of our homeland.  We value the trust and confidence travelers from around the world place in us when they choose the Turks and Caicos Islands as their destination.  Transparency and accountability are paramount in our operations, ensuring that our decisions are made lawfully and in the best interests of all residents and visitors.

The Turks & Caicos Islands welcome over one million visitors each year, more than half of whom are American.

Respect for the rule of law and an independent judiciary are key tenants of our justice system, and all persons are equal in the eyes of the law.  Judges are permitted to use their discretion in sentencing individuals who have been convicted of violating our Firearms law. In fact, in cases that occurred prior to the five cases that have generated media coverage, the mandatory 12-year minimum sentence has never been imposed by the Court because judges determined in each case that exceptional circumstances warranted shorter sentences.

Our justice system is designed to uphold the rights and freedoms of all individuals, regardless of their place of origin, while maintaining the security and integrity of our Islands.  Our judicial and law enforcement institutions are dedicated to impartiality and consistency in enforcing our laws.

Recent events have underscored the importance of adhering to the principles of justice and accountability.  Let me be clear: In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the law stands firm and applies to everyone equally, without exception.  Our commitment to the rule of law is unwavering and remains a cornerstone of our democratic values.

We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all citizens, residents and visitors.

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EXCLUSIVE!  Police black CID Vehicle shot up by bandits in Five Cays

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Wilkie Arthur

Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 15, 2024 – It was an uneasy night on Tuesday May 14 for some residents of Five Cays, Providenciales owing to continuous, serious fire power with gun shots blaring in various areas of the community.

Some say they heard shots in Granny Hill and reported a man walking around with a gun, randomly shooting at unidentifiable targets. Some say shots were heard behind the Enid Capron Primary School.  Some say they heard gun shot sounds coming from a residential area as well.

The most compelling accounts, however, were on reported events in another area called “The Wells”; a community in the depths of Five Cays and South Dock.

Criminals took on law enforcement in a gun battle involving the armored truck and a CID vehicle.

No members of the Royal TCI Police were hit.

Not the same for the other side.  One person was hit, a young man not known to police and it’s not clear if he was one of the men shooting at the police or an innocently caught in the crossfire.

The man was arrested as a possible suspect.  He is also in hospital with an “entrance and exit” gunshot wound.

During the shootout in The Wells, the CID vehicle was shot at repeatedly, disabling its movement as gunfire damaged the engine. Concerning to us, these shootings were at different times and locations but came in rapid succession; one right after the other, I was told.

Most described the sounds as coming “from some big guns.”

Police the morning after allowed me in to see up close.

Video, photos feature my EXCLUSIVE, close-up look at the damage done by criminals; it is clear high powered rifles were used by these suspects still at large.

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Charred Remains Found in Back Seat of Completely Burnt Vehicle

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – A gruesome discovery was made around midday today (Sunday, May 19th, 2024) when police and fire rescue teams responded to a call at a location on Blue Hills Back Road, off Millennium Highway. The area, situated next to the Fortis Sub-Station, is accessible via a long, secluded dirt road.

Upon arrival, authorities found a vehicle completely engulfed in flames. The vehicle was later removed by police after being alerted by an anonymous source to its burnt-out location. Local residents indicated that the fire had been ignited around 2-3 a.m. earlier that morning, but authorities were not notified until later in the day.

Residents could not provide details about the individual inside the vehicle or even discern its color due to the extensive damage caused by the fire. Videos of the discovery location are available, but footage of the vehicle itself will be provided once it has been located. The vehicle was reportedly still burning when police arrived at the scene.

Official Royal TCI Police Report:

Media Release – May 19th, 2024: Active Investigation Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) are currently on the scene of a vehicle fire in the Blue Hills, Providenciales area. Acting on received information, officers arrived at the location along North Side Close and discovered a burnt vehicle with what appeared to be a body inside.
The RTCIPF is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances of this incident. As this is an active investigation, more details will be provided to the public as they become available.

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