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Growing; a Woman who refuses to let TCI tradition rot in the field

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By Shanieka Smith

Features Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 5, 2022 – From Banking to Psychology to Farming, Mrs KacyDee Higgs, a forty-seven-year-old farmer from North Caicos resolutely confesses being a woman farmer has not been the easiest, but with equal determination, she tells the many challenges, I have grown to like you!

“My kitchen garden turned into my backyard garden and my backyard garden turned into a

farm,” she said as she chuckled and reminisced on the 10-years it took her to realise success as a farmer.

KacyDee Higgs started commercial farming in 2009. Higgs now has a thriving business patriotically called, Caicos Traditions, and her goal is to rejuvenate the staples of yesteryear.

Even as she balances her passion – farming, she currently works in the Mental Health Department for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government as a substance-dependence client counsellor.

“I get that question all the time [why farming?], especially from persons who know me and the jobs that I had before farming. I think they ask me that because, for years, we’ve been looking at agriculture as a demeaning job, so I get that question,” she admitted when we interviewed her following her recent awarding of a Government Agro-Grant.

Mrs Higgs was open and shared, one person asked why she would hang up a corporate jacket to do farming. “It came across pretty derogatory at first, but then I had to realize that they just didn’t see the vision that I had,” Higgs expressed.

Her vision for her Turks and Caicos Islands is to be a self-sufficient island nation, capable of feeding itself.

“A nation that cannot feed itself is not a growing nation,” Higgs expressed.

Her firm perspective is that  food security is essential and agriculture should be the TCI’s top goal.  In fact, the owner of Caicos Traditions said she believes farming should be taught from birth.

Though she acknowledged that farming is now being taken more seriously in the country, she emphasised that “food security is not only planting or giving a grant to plant food.” Higgs said, “for me, food security is making certain that should something strike this very moment, if you can give an account of 30 thousand people being in North Caicos, those 30 thousand people can be fed.”

The realisation of the significance of food security is the inspiration and motivation behind Caicos Traditions, where produce and herbs like corn, papaya, okra, sugar cane, sugar apples, sweet potatoes, cassava, basil, pepper, and a variety of peas like pigeon, cow, and dry beans bloom straight from the ground and are hanging off the trees.

She said she stuck with these foods, (staples of yesteryear) because they are more adaptable and conducive to the environment in the TCI, even with global warming and other existing environmental issues.

“The reason why Caicos Traditions has started this venture is to make certain that our heritage is carried on and our culture stays alive,” she added.

Higgs is married with four children and manages to be a star farmer.  She also wears her jacket in the corporate space, and it would be remiss not to ask, “how do you do it all?”

“It is a work of art, I don’t have it all under control and sometimes I focus more on my job and my farm gets left behind but I try my best to keep my children on a good foot. She added, however, that most of her children are grown and are helpful in the farming department.”

When reflecting on how her children support agribusiness she drove home a profound point – farming is multifaceted. It is not just physical work on a farm; many other things are done behind and beyond the farm.

In all doings, there are challenges and successes. For Higgs, her series of challenges spiralled into her biggest success yet when it comes to her agribusiness.

“My biggest success for farming is seeing that my mills and my grits and corn flour are finally on the shelves of a grocer,” she expressed.

In a truly open exchange, revealing the length and breadth and depth of this Woman Farmer KacyDee said it was in a simple black and white composition book where she drafted her grand plans.

A cousin told her she is ten years ahead of her time – that was discouraging.

“…everywhere I twist and turn, I was getting knocked down. I had to move off the property that I was on, I had a three-year break from farming and I was like, if you want me to do this Lord, why are you making it so difficult?”

She lamented and she waited.  In the waiting, throughout her three year break, KacyDee Higgs studied Psychology and had given up on farming or so she thought.

But as passion is a peculiar thing.  It can go to sleep and be revived and so it was for her and the passion she has for farming and supporting the vision for national food security.

This champion businesswoman showed grit and picked it all back up.

Caicos Traditions would soon be outputting grits, corn flour and today, those products sit on shelves at Graceway IGA. The down home North Caicos product has also given birth to the idea and production of other traditional ingredients like grated coconut.

North Caicos is called the green island as the second largest in the TCI chain.  It is home to farming and ingenuity.  Though removed from the capital, Grand Turk and the main economic hub of Providenciales, it is not that far away.

A short ferry ride now does it, and perhaps soon a 12-minute flight will make the connections to key domestic markets more seamless.  As farming undoubtedly turns a significant corner and mounts up as a dominant priority for smaller nations given the negative effects of geo-politics and the merciless health crisis, country leaders are now forced to pay proper attention to agriculture.

In the rich ‘brown gold’ of North Caicos, there grows the products island children were raised on and nourished with; there grows the value and offerings of KacyDee Higgs’ Caicos Traditions

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Stolen Vessel Recovered

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***MEDIA RELEASE***

 

July 20th, 2024.

 

#TurksandCaicos, July 20, 2024 – Shortly after 10 am yesterday (July 19th), the Police Control Room received a report of a stolen boat in the Turtle Cove district.

The description of the vessel given to officers was a black, 26-foot Hurricane boat with two Yamaha engines. Officers were told that the owner had secured the vessel on Thursday evening and had discovered it missing the following day.

Inquiries were conducted, and based on information received, Marine Branch Officers and Response and Operation Unit Officers searched a mangrove just off Five Cays today (July 20th) and recovered the vessel.

Two suspects were seen, one of whom was a 23-year-old from the Bight, Providenciales, who was caught and arrested for suspicion of stealing the vessel. The other suspect managed to escape.

The RTCIPF is asking anyone with information on illegal activities that may assist the police with enquiries to contact 911, the closest police station, the Serious Crime Unit at 231-1842, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and anonymously give any information.

Additionally, persons are being asked to download the CrimeStoppers P3 app.

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Crime

Firearm and Drug Charges

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Media Release

 

July 15th, 2024.

 

SHAIWANZO MISSICK of South Back Salina, Grand Turk, has been charged with six counts of firearm-related offences.

Missick, 30, was charged on July 13 after police officers consulted with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The offences against Missick are:

  • One Count – Discharging Firearm
  • One Count- Discharging Ammunition
  • One Count-Possession of Firearm with intent to commit a serious offence
  • Two Counts-Possession of Ammunition
  • One Count –Possession of Firearm
  • One Count-Possession of Controlled Drugs
  • One Count- Possession of Controlled Drugs with intent to supply.

The charges against Missick came following a report made on Saturday, 29 June 2024,  following a shooting incident in Breezy Brae.

Officers obtained a warrant and searched the accused’s residence based on the information received.

The RT&CIPF is asking the public to notify the closest police station, contact 911, the Serious Crime Unit at 231-1842, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477, and anonymously give any information on illegal activity.

Additionally, persons are encouraged to download the Crime Stoppers P3 app from the Google Play Store or Apple Apps and share information anonymously.

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Crime

Five Cays Shooting Update

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Shortly after noon on July 12th, the Control Room of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force received reports of a shooting in Five Cays, Providenciales. A team of offices was dispatched to Granny Hill.

Upon arrival, several interviews were conducted, and evidential items were retrieved.  Thankfully, no one was injured.

Given the investigation’s sensitivity and lines of inquiry, the RT&CIPF cannot comment further.

We are aware of audio videos and photographs purporting to be the location of where the incident allegedly occurred and ask that persons circulating such be mindful of exposing victims.

The RT&CIPF is again reaching out to the public, emphasising their crucial role in this investigation.

We urge you to notify the closest police station, contact 911, the Serious Crime Unit at 231- 1842, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477, and anonymously provide any information on this shooting or any illegal activity.

Your cooperation is vital in ensuring justice is served. Additionally, persons are encouraged to download the Crime Stoppers P3 app from the Google Play Store or Apple Apps and share information anonymously.

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