Governor touts a NEW APPROACH to tackling serious crime; will this new, new approach be enough?
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.”
Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce. Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.
As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.
The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee. For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB. As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.
Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.
The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.
As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.
The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts. On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.
Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts. Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.
These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
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