By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2022 – Governor Nigel Dakin issued a statement in the early hours of today, speaking to the almost incomprehensible level of crime of the past five days. Three new murders were recorded, bringing homicides for 2022 to four.
In the detailed statement of the Governor, who is effectively the TCI’s Minister of National Security (if we had one), we heard his personal feelings about the trend and learned of professional efforts to curb it.
“Next week I will be in the UK twinning our Force with the second largest UK Police Force that will bring us not only extra practical support, but also a continuity of support. On this the Commissioner and I had already commissioned an outside Team to come and review the RTCIPF approach to Serious Crime to ensure the investments that have, and are being made, are being used not only to good effect, but seeking to replicate very best practice.”
Residents, since the release of this and the Commissioner of Police, Trevor Botting’s statement say they are tired of the talk. They want to see some action. Pre-empting those expressions, Nigel Dakin offered national security insight on what has been done.
“Two years ago the public would have had low confidence that the perpetrators of these murders would face justice. I now have significant confidence that those who committed these murders will be identified and arrested. The Police’s record of being able to identify and charge those involved in serious crime changed in the early part of last year. The drop in murder rate in 2021 was directly attributable to this. It seems those in HMP Grand Turk have now been replaced, and the Police will now do exactly as they did in early 2021, and seek, arrest and charge those who do so much harm.
This change is linked to a set of reforms presently ongoing – laid out in the Police’s strategic plan – and that change is underpinned by strong moral and financial support from this Government, and the last Government, who are delivering year-on-year growth in funding to the Force which allows them to build and also from the UK who are delivering significant training and uplifts in capability which allows them to modernise. The National Security Council allows the Premier, Commissioner and Governor to work as one and increasingly bring in other Ministries to start to tackle underpinning causes of crime.”
For long-time residents of the Turks and Caicos, it has been both heartening to watch their unseen gem of islands become a bustling and leading tourism destination, but disheartening has been the realization that too many of the social safety nets were not fitted in as the destination blossomed. In recent years, we are paying a price as criminals are more menacing, vicious, active and more armed than ever before.
“Two of these murders were entirely innocent victims – one it seems targeted because it was known he would be in possession of a significant amount of money, and was in an isolated place, the other randomly abducted off the street, taken to an ATM, and – having offered no resistance – killed. It’s hard to find the appropriate words to express ones heart-felt sympathy to those they leave behind nor utter words of sufficient condemnation to those who took their lives,” said the Governor in his March 17 statement.
He admonished for residents to participate by supplying information on crime which can help in boosting detection, arrests and hopefully convictions.
A father of an adult son himself, the Governor inserted that there is a component of loss which has to also be pricking at the hearts of Turks and Caicos residents.
“This cannot be the future we want for our young men, who were once young boys with all the hope that childhood brings. Those involved now in gang violence are someone’s son, someone’s brother, someone’s friend and it is this group – who knows them best – who has to either keep them away from this future, or if they find they are involved, speak out early to literally save them from themselves and certainly to protect the innocent and community whose lives they will blight.”
One of those murdered was a described to Magnetic Media by those who knew him as a “menace to society.” In his statement the Governor of the TCI corroborated this characterization.
“One of the victims – shot in Mary Jane Lane – and we await formal identification – is believed to have been one of the most wanted men in TCI, himself wanted for a catalogue of the most violent crimes. There had been a series of pre-planned policing operations closing in on him that included, for example, the operation that involved a helicopter over Blue Hills in the New Year. He was considered extremely dangerous and Police Officers from our Tactical Unit were prepared to execute warrants, going through doors at night in search of him, believing they would be fired on by him. It seems though he was gunned down by like-minded individuals – by those he had either threatened, intimidated or double crossed – his chosen way of life catching up with him.”
Although the Royal TCI Police continues to be supported by the public purse in the area of modernisations through new equipment, additional manpower, world class training and lately greater inter-regional collaborations, residents remain frustrated by what they do not see happening.
Crime overall was down for last year, however gun crimes were not.
An amnesty, though incentivized by a cash reward, has not brought in any illegal weapons or ammunition so far and it appears the crime strategies are not working to see an abatement of offences.
Even the Justice System appears to be futile as issues linked to insufficient evidence, poor processing of criminals, lack of protection of proceeds of crime and hesitant witnesses is working to dampen public confidence in leaders.
The Governor, however, is optimistic: “I now have significant confidence that those who committed these murders will be identified and arrested. The Police’s record of being able to identify and charge those involved in serious crime changed in the early part of last year. The drop in murder rate in 2021 was directly attributable to this. It seems those in HMP Grand Turk have now been replaced, and the Police will now do exactly as they did in early 2021, and seek, arrest and charge those who do so much harm.”
Governor Dakin, added, “The skill of the Tactical Unit has been much enhanced – their courage is boundless- and every night they are engaged in high risk armed operations led by intelligence. On that the development, training and growth of an intelligence unit – with considerable UK support – is already paying dividends. There’s further growth to follow in numbers and technical capability.
The Police are also getting back to basics in terms of the roll out of Community Policing. For example the local member for the House of Assembly’s early and constructive engagement with the Police, over the last five days, a class act in terms of the Police and community representatives seeking to work together.”
Leslie Gibson, first Bahamian to land in Royal Caribbean’s Corporate Offices, looking for others to join the company he praises for diversity and inclusion
Job fair to fill open positions at the cruise line’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay resulted in 62 offers
MIAMI, August 10, 2022 – When Leslie Gibson accepted a position on Royal Caribbean International’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay during the height of the COVID pandemic, he didn’t imagine the opportunity would lead him to his dream job.
“The craziest thing is that what I’m living now, I dreamt about,” said Gibson, who is now based in Miami. “I studied engineering, but I prayed for a job where I would be traveling and working outside of where I’m from. I love The Bahamas and I’m always ready to go back home, but I’ve always wanted to get more exposure, see the world and all it has to offer. And Royal has been able to provide me that.”
Gibson said he found his footing in human resources after friends and family saw his natural affinity for working with people and problem solving.
Gibson began his journey with Royal Caribbean as a human resources specialist on Coco Cay in June 2020, where he worked for 11 months before he was selected to move to corporate and take on a larger scale of recruiting for private island experiences around the world, a role that has expanded to include shipboard recruiting.
Gibson’s promotion reflects a corporate culture of promoting from within. Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, started as a purser onboard the company’s ships before rising through the ranks to head the cruise line that now has 26 ships and more than 77,000 employees.
In just two years, Gibson has helped to recruit more than 300 people to work in The Bahamas, along with another 100 for Labadee in Haiti and more than 1,000 to work on Royal Caribbean’s ships.
“I think that’s why I love being a recruiter, because of the fact that I’m able to help people find their dreams,” Gibson said. “Some people who don’t even know they’re good at certain things, I’m able to help them navigate through that by giving them the opportunity to work with us.”
Gibson recently traveled to Dominica and St. Vincent as part of Royal Caribbean’s recruiting efforts, and he was on the ground for the job fair in Nassau recently when Royal Caribbean made offers to dozens of people in the hopes of filling several different positions on Coco Cay.
The exercise was part of a larger regional hiring effort to attract more Bahamian and Caribbean talent for Royal Caribbean’s private destinations and its ships. Royal Caribbean’s Director of Talent Acquisition Cindy Williams, said the company is coming back “better than ever.”
“We have a strong employer brand, and we are committed to making our return to service better than ever by bringing new crew members to Royal Caribbean,” she said.
Gibson said the magnitude of the post-pandemic boom is evident in Coco Cay’s guest numbers.
“We went from seeing as little as 2,000 to 3,000 guests a day at Coco Cay to now up to 10,000 guests and two ships a day,” Gibson said. “So, that went from our head count being 350 to 450 employees to now almost 600 who are needed for a call day.”
Royal Caribbean President Michael Bayley earlier this year announced the company’s intention to hire more Bahamians.
Gibson said that goal is just a microcosm of the company itself, which maintains diversity and inclusion as key priorities.
“I have coworkers from all around the world,” he said.
Recalling Royal Caribbean’s swift response to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Gibson said the company’s passion for its employees was a considerable factor in his decision to accept his first job with the cruise line.
“I chose Royal because of some of the things they have done,” he said. “When Hurricane Dorian hit those islands, Royal Caribbean were some of the first people on the ground. I wouldn’t even talk about the people who were employed by Royal Caribbean — they spent millions of dollars helping employees get back on their feet.”
And although Dorian made history as one of the most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded, Royal Caribbean’s response — rushing in to provide food, water, shelter and medical supplies for those impacted — was not particularly unusual for the company.
“When I say this, I mean throughout any disaster,” Gibson said.
“In 2020, there was a typhoon in the Philippines,” he added. “We assisted so many of our team members with helping their families back home. And this happens all the time. Our company is always about putting its employees first.”
Photo Caption: Leslie Gibson, 30, is the first Bahamian to have landed in Royal Caribbean’s corporate offices, but pledges to be far from the last. At a job fair held recently in Nassau, Gibson and his team of recruiters sought to fill a wide range of openings at Perfect Day at Coco Cay, the cruise line’s private island destination in the Berry Islands.
Release: RCI / DPA Media
TCI Premier and Delegation visit NCI in Jamaica
#Manchester, Jamaica, 14 August 2022 – The Honourable Charles Washington Misick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and his delegation have arrived at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU) in Central Jamaica.The Premier will give the address at the second commencement ceremony and will be conferred with an Honorary Doctor of Commerce Degree. The Premier completed high school at West Indies College which is now NCU more than 50 years ago. Premier Misick and his delegation are on a four day visit to Jamaica. The Office of the Premier and Public Policy will bring commencement live on its Facebook page at 2PM EST. The Premier’s delegation includes: First Lady, Mrs. Delthia Russell-Misick; Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services; Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Mr. Wesley Clerveaux, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Labour, Employment and Customer Service; Ms. Althea Been, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Immigration and Border Services; Mr. Miquel Swann, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Office of the Premier and Public Policy; Mr. Edwin Taylor, Commissioner of Labour; and Mr. Bentley Johnson Aide De Camp.
Cleveland Clinic Performs First-In-World Full Multi-Organ Transplant to Treat Rare Appendix Cancer
#USA, August 13, 2022 – Cleveland Clinic has successfully performed a first-in-the-world full multi-organ transplant to treat a patient with a rare form of appendix cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Upon completion of the lifesaving transplant surgery, the patient received five digestive organs: liver, stomach, pancreas, duodenum, and small intestine.
Anil Vaidya, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Program co-director, led the seven-surgeon team that completed the pioneering operation on a 32-year-old man in September 2021.
“The patient had one of the more advanced cases of PMP I have seen,” said Dr. Vaidya. “While about 80% of patients with the condition can be treated with traditional therapies, what do you do with the 20% for whom the traditional therapy isn’t successful? In some cases, the answer may be a multi-organ transplant.”
During the 17-hour operation, surgeons removed the patient’s diseased organs. He then received the following deceased donor’s organs all together and at the same time: liver, stomach, pancreas and duodenum (pancreaticoduodenal complex), spleen, small intestine, and right colon. The donor spleen was initially transplanted to boost the immune protection of the newly transplanted organs and improve blood flow to the pancreas until fully transplanted. The donor right colon was initially transplanted to help protect the new intestine from infection and improve its ability to absorb nutrients. Both the donor spleen and donor right colon were removed prior to the completion of the transplant after they successfully served to protect the other organs during the operation.
“As far as we know, it is the first time in the world that a full multi-organ transplant, including the liver and four other digestive organs, is performed to treat PMP,” said Dr. Vaidya.
Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic in 2020, Dr. Vaidya performed in England the world’s first modified multi-organ transplant (excluding the liver) to treat a patient with PMP who had exhausted all other management strategies.
PMP is a rare cancer that typically originates as a tumor in the appendix. When the slow-growing tumor ruptures, its jelly-like content spreads to other digestive organs, with additional tumors developing that impair gastrointestinal function. Malnutrition and life-threatening complications ultimately occur.
Following the diagnosis in 2019, the patient began a long odyssey of treatments. He was one of the 20% of patients with PMP for whom the traditional treatments were ineffective. Often, this population of patients is left with few to no treatment options.
The patient was referred to Cleveland Clinic in 2021 in the end stage of his disease. He was receiving hospice care at that time. The patient had stopped working and could no longer eat solid foods. He was receiving nutrients intravenously through total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
“We needed to perform an evaluation to determine if transplantation in his case was safe, feasible and could provide long-term benefits,” said Dr. Vaidya.
Dr. Vaidya completed a thorough assessment of the patient’s case and received approval from Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Selection Committee to proceed. The patient was placed on the national transplant waiting list in July 2021.
“The patient – who needed a liver and four other digestive organs – had started to deteriorate quite rapidly,” said Dr. Vaidya. “It was touch-and-go that he would make it.”
In September 2021, a donor was found, and less than 24 hours later, the patient was undergoing the groundbreaking
surgery. The first three hours were preparatory, in essence removing the diseased abdominal organs. Next, the donor organs were inserted into the abdominal cavity, all the necessary vascular connections were completed and a left-sided ileostomy was created to handle bodily waste and let the body recover from the surgery.
“The operation was well planned and went like clockwork,” said Dr. Vaidya. “The team members knew exactly what they were going to do, and the timing was perfect. It went really well.”
Following the transplant, the patient remained in the hospital for 51 days. Soon after he was discharged, he returned because he was suffering from a case of graft-versus-host disease, a common occurrence following intestinal or bone marrow transplants where the donated organs’ immune cells recognize the recipient’s tissues as foreign and attack the recipient.
The patient underwent a procedure perfected and performed by Amy Lightner, M.D., colorectal surgeon and director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Lightner administered three doses of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-derived exosomes, a first ever, novel treatment in solid organ transplants — another first for a patient who received a full multi-organ transplant to treat PMP.
According to Dr. Vaidya, “The patient’s recovery was absolutely amazing. His symptoms abated within two hours of the first dose.”
Nine months post-transplant, the patient, now 33, can eat and digest solid foods again and has energy to do what he loves, including walking and biking outdoors.
“There is currently no evidence of cancer recurrence,” said Dr. Vaidya.
Header: Masato Fujiki, MD, (center) and the Cleveland Clinic surgical team, led by Anil Vaidya, MD, performing the first-in-world multi-organ transplant to treat a rare type of appendix cancer. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic)
1st insert: Anil Vaidya, M.D.
2nd insert: From left: Anil Vaidya, M.D., Shannon Jarancik, physician assistant, Amy Lightner, M.D., Andy Voge, patient, Rachel Voge, Andy’s wife, and Anita Barnoski, transplant coordinator.
Release: Cleveland Clinic / DPA media
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