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TCHTA Calls for Swift Collective Action in the Fight Against Crime

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#TurksandCaicos, April 14, 2022 – Through its Advocacy and Crime & Security Committees, the TCHTA has maintained regular communications with leaders of the Royal Turks & Caicos Police Force team with a view to lend assistance where possible in the collective fight against crime in our country.

During a recent meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Trevor Botting, the association was given an in-depth overview of the country’s current crime statistics, and the comprehensive initiatives the RTCIPF has launched to curb the pervasive uptick in crime that is infiltrating our communities.

Despite the positive steps being taken by the RTCIPF, there has been an appalling increase in brazen acts of crime over the last few months which have begun to paralyze the residents of the Turks & Caicos Islands.  Daily, there are cries from the community for swift resolution and firm action against the criminal element.  Sadly, these cries are muffled by reports of shootings, aggravated burglaries, crime sprees, and murders.

These flagrant acts of crime have continued amid an ongoing Gun Amnesty, giving evidence to the fact that the criminal element residing amongst us do not seek to live within the confines of the law and are not fearful of the fallout from their crimes.  This does not bode well for our society.

The TCHTA joins the community in the appeal for swift, firm, and immediate action against this building problem. The effects of crime on our society are far-reaching.  It incites fear amongst the population, economical and psychological long-term damage, and harm to social peace and development which are critical to any nation.  In a society as small as ours, our socio-economic health is at risk against a scourge such as this.

In a recent statement, Commissioner Botting declared that “Such acts are ruining young lives in the TCI and have no place in our society”.   The TCHTA wholeheartedly agrees and affirms its commitment to partnering with the RTCIPF in whatever way the organization is allowed.

President of the TCHTA, Mr. Trevor Musgrove shared, “We are pleased to have an excellent channel of communication between the association and the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force executive team. Commissioner Botting is always very forthcoming and works closely with our Crime & Safety Committee Chairs, Tappa Tibble and Todd Foss, sharing updates and providing answers to queries as best as possible within reason.

“Unfortunately, we have seen more brazen acts of crime displayed over these past few months which is of great concern.  Though we represent the members of the TCHTA and hospitality professionals, crime does not only pose a threat to the stability of the tourism industry but can swiftly erode the very fiber of our communities if left unchecked and untethered.”

“Residents of this country should feel safe in their homes, moving about their communities, and operating their businesses, and we must not allow the fearless criminal element to gain confidence that they have the power or freedom to victimize and terrorize law-abiding citizens.”

Sadly, victimization and fear have been recurring themes in our communities recently, and residents are left wondering how much longer they will be terrorized by these abhorrent acts.

In a recent informational video, the Superintendent of Divisions and Community Policing, Dwight Gardiner, told the public that members of the RTCIPF are the “stewards of security” for the country.  The association is encouraged by the push for strong Community Policing as the police team battles the “serious crimes, firearm related offences, and long-standing issues of re-offending” that the Superintendent says are some of the prevalent challenges we are faced with in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

The association hopes for a wider approach to tackling the underlying issues that are at the root of these inexcusable acts.  Commissioner Botting has referred to what is being experienced in TCI as a “cycle of violence”, and that the young men in our society “have to find another way to live their lives rather than through violence and guns”.

The TCHTA believes that not only do we need to act collectively to protect law-abiding citizens, but there must also be a grand push to save our youth from being enticed into a life of crime by those who seek to recruit more of our promising young men and women, robbing them of their bright futures.  The organization’s Educational Committee and Directors who are already engaged in mentorship initiatives are hopeful for the opportunity to assist the RTCIPF in this vein.

The February and March Turks & Caicos Crime Updates released by the Police have included statements from Commissioner Botting that speak of a “trail of tragedy across these beautiful islands that is unacceptable in any civilized society”.  This particular statement came on the heels of a 5-day period where a high volume of serious and violent crimes was committed across Providenciales including armed robberies, shots fired at a business establishment, the shooting of two young men, and the murders of three individuals bringing the murder count in early March 2022 to four.

More recently, shots fired in broad daylight in a densely populated area of Turks & Caicos has caused heightened concern by residents as fears rise in the wake of these alarming incidents.  It is clear that our response to crime as a community must be as vociferous as the unabashed acts being perpetuated by these unlawful individuals.

The TCHTA sincerely applauds the bravado shown by members of the Royal Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force and the commitment of these men and women who are put in the line of fire daily to protect and serve our communities.

The association is also encouraged by the RTCIPF’s long-term crime-fighting plans that are forward-thinking and will position our Police Force to provide a more sophisticated and aggressive approach to curbing crime in the long-term.

Initiatives like the recent Gun Amnesty are a positive move toward ridding our communities of the tools used by offenders, and the TCHTA is pleased that the RTCIPF has extended the term for the program.

The organization encourages its members as well as stakeholders and residents to move collectively and collaboratively to give any assistance possible to stem the surge in the immediate, as the Police team works to implement those long-term solutions that will position us for the future.

The TCHTA reminds those at the helm that the association is eager to partner in this fight, if allowed, and firmly believe that any efforts moving forward will only see success if the visions and actions of all stakeholders are aligned as we push toward a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to ridding our country of these senseless and debilitating crimes.

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Gilbert Selver matter makes TCI Cabinet agenda in June 12 meeting

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024 – Her Excellency the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam chaired the 19th meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday June 12th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Grand Turk.  All members of Cabinet were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Approved a remission/exemption of stamp duty in respect of real property purchased by the National Insurance Board.
  2. Agreed to advise the Governor to approve the Planning Application GT 5281 in line with Section 39 (2) of the Physical Planning Ordinance 2021.
  3. Granted approval of the Chief Justice General Power to Make Rules to Court Ordinance 2022 and for the same to be submitted to the House of Assembly.
  4. Granted approval for various negotiations to be undertaken in relation to the Gilbert Selver matter.
  5. Granted approval for the Legal Profession (Admission and Other Matters) Procedures Regulations 2024 to be made under the Legal Profession Ordinance to govern the admission of attorneys at the Bar as well as connected purposes.
  6. Granted approval of the Fire Arms (Amendment) Bill 2024 to go to the House of Assembly.
  7. Granted approval for the following persons to be appointed to the Water and Sewerage Board: Permanent Secretary-Ministry responsible for Utilities-Chair, Chief Engineer or delegate-member ex-officio, Chief Environmental Health Officer or delegate-member (ex-officio), Director of Planning or delegate-member (ex-officio), Director of Environment & Coastal Resources or delegate-member (ex-officio), Government Economist or delegate-member (ex-officio) Akeem Missick-private sector-member, Larry Swann-private sector-member for a period of 1 year. It approved the appointment of the Secretary for a period of two (2) years effective 1 July 2024 Shanetta Thompson-Head of Secretariat-Ministry of Public Safety and Utilities.
  8. Approved the Health Professions (Amendment) Bill and Regulations and for the same to proceed to the House of Assembly.
  9. Noted the information paper from the Telecommunications Commissions on the regulatory regime.
  10. Noted the concerns being raised regarding boating services at Heaving Down Rock and identified steps to be taken in relation to this matter.

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course.

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Grand Turk Donkeys heading to Jamaica; update in June 5 TCI Cabinet Meeting

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#TurksandCaicos, July 19, 2024  – Her Excellency the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam chaired the 18th meeting of the Cabinet on Wednesday June 5th, 2024, at the Office of the Premier on the island of Providenciales.

All members of Cabinet were present with the exception of the Attorney General Hon. Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles and the Minister of Public Safety.  Ms. Yaa McCartney attended in the capacity of Acting Attorney General.

At this meeting Cabinet:

  1. Granted approval for the Attorney General’s Chambers to commence settlement negotiations in regard to the outstanding compensation due to the Estate of an individual.
  2. Granted approval for the waiver of Import Customs Duties and all associated warehouses rent on a quantity of roll-off container sanitary tubs.  It also agreed to a review of the tariffs in respect to waste management.
  3. Granted approval for the acquisition through direct purchase of a plot of land at the southeast corner of the Enid Capron Primary school for the expansion of the campus and construction of an eight classroom Early Childhood Development Centre.
  4. Approved the Proposed Amendments to the Economic Substance Legislation, Regulations and Guidance Notes.
  5. Granted approval for Invest TC to enter into negotiations for a Development Agreement with Blue Conch Holdings IV Ltd.  for a branded luxury condo hotel and villa development.
  6. Received an update from the Ministry of Tourism regarding the transport of donkeys from Grand Turk to Jamaica.

Further information on these matters will be provided by Ministers in due course

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Demolition coming as South Base to Undergo Testing for Asbestos

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Turks and Caicos, July 18th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government would like to advise the public of Grand Turk, that a consulting firm has been contracted to carry out testing of the buildings on the South Base Compound for the presence of asbestos.  A week of testing began Wednesday, July 10. This is to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations and to protect workers, residents, and the public from possible asbestos exposure risks once comprehensive works on the base commence.

This is the initial consultation necessary to determine the methodology for the demolition and disposal of derelict buildings in the assessed area.  It is believed that low-risk micro-fibres are present in some of the buildings, owing to the period of construction and the types of materials used during that era.  Testing will confirm whether asbestos is present and if so, at what levels.

As a precautionary measure, signs have been erected to advise the public to avoid entering any of the dilapidated structures; as building materials containing asbestos, if disturbed, can release tiny asbestos fibres into the air.  Currently only the consultants are authorised to traverse the buildings until further notice.

Residents of Grand Turk have for years demanded that Governments address the unsightly area. The requests were mainly in relation to the aesthetics of the buildings. However, the interventions were deferred at various times for varying reasons.

The South Base is a huge compound, by island standards, with an area containing over twenty-one (21) building sites. It was formerly used as a United States Government base, and then as administrative offices by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government. Some of the structures were renovated and are in acceptable condition, whilst others were destroyed over the years by hurricanes and normal wear and tear. 

The South Base, which has mostly been left as a decrepit and ghostly development of obsolete structures is finally being remedied. The area, which is a main thoroughfare for tourism and commerce when cleaned up, will provide space for numerous governmental and civilian uses.

Residents of Grand Turk sharing the optimism of a prospective demolition should adhere to this notification and any precautionary warnings erected for their health, safety, and well-being.

Subsequent phases of the works will be published via a public tendering.

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