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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

Crime

TCI Community College staff struck and robbed, another chased in car by attackers

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – Attacks against several of its staff members last week have forced the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College to reassess its security.

“The college is robustly ending in immediate steps to review and reinforce our campus security protocols,” said a February 16 letter to staff seen by Magnetic Media.

The letter puts the date of the incidents as February 15th at one of its Providenciales campuses.

In the first,  a male member of staff was attacked and his car stolen after he left a meeting. When Magnetic Media queried police about the event, they released additional details of the robbery.

We were told around 9:15 pm, Thursday February 15, a 39-year-old male and his colleagues were leaving the TCI Community College Campus, Princess Drive, Providenciales, when a group of men surrounded his vehicle.

The man, noticing that one of the men had stopped at the rear of the vehicle, approached him to investigate and was struck on the head. In the immediate aftermath, the assailants escaped in the victim’s car, leaving the TCICC staff member injured at the scene.

The victim was transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center by police officers, and up until news production time, the car had not yet been recovered.

Following this incident, the Community College also revealed that a car chase had taken place.

A female member of staff this time, was chased down by suspected criminals as she left the campus. The employee managed to outdrive the people pursuing her and arrive safely at her destination, but she was described as shaken.

Now both, police officers and campus administration are urging residents to remain vigilant, especially when heading into their cars at night.

Safety tips that can help residents avoid attack, robbery, injury, or worse include:

  • Stay alert when heading to your vehicle; don’t be distracted by your phone; pay attention to your surroundings.
  • if you see anything or anyone suspicious, do not investigate on your own; go back and get a security guard or similar personnel to assist.
  • Have your keys ready in your hands before approaching your car, so you can enter the safety of your vehicle immediately.

The police have not yet arrested anyone for the robbery attack against the employee.

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Royal TCI Police share CAREER DAY Highlights

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – On Thursday, 8th February 2024, between 9 am – and 2 pm, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force attended a Career Day event at the Enid Capron Primary School, Five Cays, Providenciales.

Under the theme “Be aware, choose a career”, the RTCIPF showcased the many career options available in policing.

Members of the Community Policing Unit, Safeguarding and Public Protection, Anti-Gang and Drugs Unit, Marine Branch, Traffic Enforcement, Air Support Unit and Mechanical Department were present.  Officers answered questions posed by the young, impressionable minds.

Insp Ensa Wilson lectured students on various topics, including: “Good Touch, Bad Touch”, alerting adults to inappropriate situations and the importance of calling 911.

Students were asked questions following the lecture and were given RTCIPF tokens.

Sgt. Kavin Mars, along with PC Fitzlewis McDonald and Kiyon Doughty of the Anti Gang and Drug Unit, freestyled “Don’t Huff, Don’t Puff, Don’t Do That Stuff” and warned students of the dangers –health and legal – of using drugs.

Superintendent (Community Policing and Divisions) Dwight Gardiner commended the school’s initiative and applauded the representation of officers present.

Supt. Gardiner said: “Career Days often highlight the importance of community policing and underscore law enforcement’s vital role in fostering trust, collaboration, and safety within neighbourhoods.

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Astwood Rejects Foreign Interim Commissioner Appointment, Advocates for Locals

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Dana Malcolm ‘

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – “Hell no” would have been the response from Edwin Astwood, Opposition leader, to the prospect of hiring a foreigner to the position of interim acting Police Commissioner; instead, he brought out a list of locals the Governor should have considered.

“I have nothing against the individual [hired]––but what I am saying is we have 16 top right ranked Turks Islanders,” he continued, “and if I was a part of any meeting–– concerning this acting post and bringing in someone from the outside, I would say no.  In fact, I would say hell no.”

Astwood gave his reasons:

“I strongly believe that promoting Islanders from within to the position of commissioner is crucial. Internal promotions foster a sense of loyalty and commitment among the department ranks. Officers, who worked their way up through the organization, have a deep understanding of its culture, values, and operational procedures,” he said.

The Leader of the People’s Democratic Movement was speaking after the funeral of the late Jayden Joshua Smith, five days after UK national Chris Eyre was appointed to the role of interim acting commissioner following the announcement that the man who was hired for the police commissioner post would be unable to take on the job until May, for medical reasons. The opposition leader believed those in charge namely: Washington Misick, Turks and Caicos Premier and Daleeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, TCI Governor should have considered locals for the post.

”You cannot tell me, looking at these 16 names of the top brass of the police, at the level of inspectors and up, that no one from these 16 can at least act as Acting Commissioner until the Commissioner comes here,” said Edwin Astwood.

Citing what he described as the abundance of skilled officers, Astwood chided Washington Misick for allowing the appointment.

”I am disappointed in the Premier and the Ministers; in whatever meeting they had, for not representing our people, I surely would have.” He continued, “I was very disappointed at the House of Assembly on Thursday when I heard members—afraid to come to the defense of our people in this position.”

Astwood also pointed out that it was not unusual for the country to have a local commissioner, and the record of the last 14 years where the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) had been under a foreign national. Citing the government’s desire for results, he said,

”[In] fourteen years, have you seen law enforcement and crime fighting and prevention getting better, getting worse, or has it stayed the same?”

“We have had commissioners and activity commissioners from the Turks and Caicos in the past, did we get results? I would say yes. We’ve had commissioners and deputy commissioners from outside; did we get results? We gave them 14 years, and we’re still saying that we need to bring someone from the outside to give them another 14 years? Are we saying that our local people cannot do the job? I say they can Yes, we can,” he maintained.

Eyre, who is holding the fort for Edvin Martin, Commissioner Designate, will only be in the post for three months; Martin is expected to arrive in May.

Rodney Adams, Deputy Commissioner and Kendall Grant, Assistant Commissioner had both been serving in the post since November, when Trevor Botting demitted the office.

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