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St. Vincent PM Recovering from Attack, may address attack on Monday

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#StVincent&Grenadines, August 9, 2021 – One day after being treated in Barbados at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for a head wound received in a melee, Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines said he was still a little “giddy”.

“I still have headaches, when I bend my head down, I still have it, certain dizziness.  Gonna rest up a little while, today, tomorrow, Monday hopefully we will see what happens.”

On Monday, the prime minister wants to again address the nation about the attack which has captured international headlines and which is the second on a CARICOM country leader in a month.  The first resulted in the assassination of Haiti’s Prime Minister, Jovenel Moise.

CARICOM is not taking the attack lightly.

Chairman of CARICOM, Gaston Brown says he is appalled by the physical assault on the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Brown, who is also the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, says the attack on the Gonzales was serious and almost fatal, and introduction of violence into CARICOM is “shameful and deplorable.”

He says persons responsible for the assault must be brought to justice and stating that there is no place for violence and personal physical assaults in democracies where the rule of law prevails, including the right to protect.

Prime Minister Gonsalves, promised those behind the attack will be exposed.

“I will speak later about who I will hold personally responsible for this attempt upon me,” said Ralph Gonsalves from the hospital over national radio; NBC Radio.

The people who need to be condemned are those who instigated and continue to instigate against my personal life.”

Protest erupted in resistance to mandatory vaccine measures for the public sector.  Weeks before, the prime minister said public sector workers who are not willing to take a vaccine to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COPVID-19) pandemic will be required to test regularly to prove their status.

“You have to pay for it … you don’t want to take the vaccine, why should we pay for your test every Monday morning? Why don’t you just take the vaccine?” Gonsalves said in a national radio broadcast.

On Thursday afternoon, an angry crowd was protesting near the Parliament, over proposed changes to the country’s emergency laws, where it will become mandatory for the population to be vaccinated.

According to reports, and images on social media, the Prime Minister was hit in the head by a stone, suspected to have been thrown by a protestor.  He was particularly incensed by those who celebrated the attack.

“I am sure the vast majority of right-thinking people are revolted as to what occurred and what had been advised in my view which is completely unacceptable, was that some persons stayed on for a while beating drum and celebrating the attack upon me.”

The 74-year-old has undergone an MRI scan to determine the severity of his injury; after images hit social media of Mr. Gonsalves bleeding profusely.  His white shirt was bloodied.

Many local and international political leaders have condemned the attack on the Prime Minister.

“No group of instigators, no handful of provocateurs or those who are instigating violence, or authority violence against the person of the prime minister and the representative of North Central Winward would be able to subvert the work of parliament or the parliamentary process.”

The Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines was on his way to a parliamentary session when he was confronted by a mob; protestors were said to be from unions representing nurses, police officers and other workers.

Parliament carried on with its agenda, said the Prime Minister in his Friday statement.

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138 illegals add to the over 900 migrants captured by TCI Joint Forces

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FILE PHOTO

#TurksandCaicos, June 25, 2022 – RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre and partners continue to work together to protect our borders and keep TCI secure.

During the evening of Wednesday 22nd June 2022 the RTCIPF Marine Operations Centre identified a target of interest and immediately started to track the vessel around 5 miles North West of Providenciales travelling at around 7 knots.

The operator immediately updated colleagues within the Royal Turks and Caicos Marine Branch who made their way to the location and intercepted a vessel containing irregular migrants. Following a delicate, coordinated operation with the necessary stabilization of the vessel which was unsafe, severely overcrowded and the occupants were without life vests, the RTCIPF Marine Unit was joined by a second RTCIPF Marine crew and a third vessel crewed with TCI Regiment to support the delicate operation.

The vessel was carefully offloaded at sea to ensure the safety of the occupants and then the boat was towed to South Dock where it arrived around 4:45am with a total of 138 persons, 98 males and 40 female including 1 juvenile, who were then taken into custody by the Immigration Department. One male needed immediate medical attention in relation to a leg injury sustained.

Superintendent Martyn Ball said, “Again working with partners we have safely intercepted another vessel that was desperately overcrowded, unsafe and risked the lives of those on board. It continues to demonstrate the professionalism and dedication of the RTCIPF Marine Unit, working together with colleagues in the Marine Operations Centre, TCI Regiment, TCI Immigration and Health to save lives and keep our borders here in the Turks and Caicos Islands safe.

In the last couple of months over 900 individuals on 9 dangerous and unseaworthy vessels have been intercepted here in the TCI.

I would appeal to anyone if you have any information relating to such activity that you call CrimeStoppers free and anonymously on 1-800-8477, not only will you be saving lives but also supporting our national security here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

 

Caption: FILE PHOTO

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International joint forces seize $99 Million in Cocaine in Caribbean Sea

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

The US Coast Guard, and ships from the Netherlands made drug busts in the Caribbean Sea over the last few weeks resulting in a cumulative seizure of 5,237 pounds of cocaine.  The Coast Guard says the illegal narcotics which were offloaded at Base Miami Beach last Friday value $99 million.

The drugs were seized in the international waters of the Caribbean Sea by crews from: Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Friesland, His Netherlands Majesty’s Ship Groningen.

Coast Guard Commanding officer of the Thetis, which transferred the drugs to the base in Miami, Justin Nadolny praised the partnership between themselves and the Netherlands which led to the massive seizure.

“Interdicting drug traffickers on the open ocean is challenging work and every interdiction is complex and unique,” he said. “This offload is a testament to the teamwork and devotion of every crew assigned to carry out this mission, and it showcases the strength of the valuable international partnerships united to combat transnational organized crime.  The fight against drug cartels in the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in districts across the nation.”
The Turks and Caicos also have an agreement with the US Coast Guard signed in recent months which allows for tighter partnerships between the two countries (and the Bahamas) in the fight against illegal migration and drug trafficking in the county’s waters.

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Turks & Caicos Airline becomes first International flight at Ian Fleming in Jamaica

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#Jamaica, June 25, 2022 – As the Turks and Caicos and Jamaica celebrated a new connection on June 16th as Intercaribbean Airways launched their newest flight to Boscobel, St Mary, half an hour from the famous city of Ocho Rios on Jamaica’s North Coast.

The Ian Fleming Airport is named for the famous author who penned the James Bond series just miles away from the airport. Never one to miss a theme, InterCaribbean dubbed their flight the JY 007.

The 007 departed Providenciales at 9:30 am Thursday (June 16) with Lyndon Gardiner, Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways; Trevor Sadler, InterCaribbean Airways CEO; Chris and Kayon Stokes of NCS Money Services; Team Beaches TCI, some media namely SunTCI and Magnetic Media as well as a few Jamaicans anxious to get home.

The 007, Ian Fleming Airport’s first international commercial flight, was received in Jamaica with much fanfare.  It was met by a Jamaican delegation including Audley Shaw, Minister of Transport for Jamaica and Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister and a cheerful water cannon spurt to sweeten the arrival of the first international flight at Ian Fleming.

Bartlett was enthusiastic about the prospects that Inter-Caribbean was bringing to Jamaica.

“The presence today of this inaugural flight from a Caribbean island into Boscobel is a bigger statement than what has been made because what it does is to put together the idea of connectivity in a material way. It is how we as a region are going to be able to connect with each other in a way that brings economic value and prosperity to each other and that’s the power of this movement that begins today.”

The minister noted that Tourism was a booming business if only we were aware of how to take charge of it.

“We are about ideas and how to convert ideas into things that have a material value, we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth. “ he added “the next critical consideration that has to be looked at …is that we need a single visa regime for touristic purposes that can be provided for visitors coming into your space… a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”

Gardiner expressed his excitement for the venture telling the media,“Only the sun covers the Caribbean better than we do.” He also told the gathered press. “We will now have the ability to bring people from across the Caribbean, whether it be for business, pleasure, or furthering multi-destination vacations, by offering Boscobel residents and visitors direct service across the Caribbean and vice versa.”

InterCaribbean Airways will run their flight monthly initially and then upgrade to weekly flights. It would be the third flight between Turks and Caicos and Jamaica; already Kingston and Montego Bay are serviced by the airline based in Providenciales, TCI.

American Airlines and QCAS Aero are also scheduled to begin flights to the Ian Fleming International this year.

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