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Crime climbing, Budget support increasing while Police Commissioner seems in denial



By Deandrea Hamilton &Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff


#TurksandCaicos, June 15, 2022 – Despite a double-digit increase of 10 percent in overall crime and a 13 percent spike in serious crimes, Royal TCI Police Commissioner Trevor Botting maintains the rhetoric that the police have got crime “under control.”

The crime statistics for 2021-2022 were released on Monday; they measure the number of incidents recorded between April 2021 to March 2022; running concurrently with the country’s fiscal year.  It is a departure from previous years which counted crime and arrests over a calendar year.  This methodology was announced in 2021 as the new standard for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police.

The increase in incredibly violent crimes against residents and visitors is especially concerning at a time when the Turks and Caicos is experiencing exponential growth, with investors listing it as one of the most desirable places in the region for investments. Real Estate and Tourism have recorded banner years in terms of arrivals and revenue, which has pushed government income to $391 million.

The police budget for the year 2022-2023 is $ 32.5 million, nearly half of the $ 67.3 million allocated for public order and safety. The figure shared during the May 2022 Budget communication  is an impressive $3 million higher than the 2021-2022 allocation; then at $29.4 million.

Botting’s rationale for stating the police have crime under control is linked to significant arrests he said.  Royal TCI Police have caught suspects who drove up the crime rate early in quarter four of this past year (January and February.)

In this January/February 2022 period, a spate of violent crimes was carried out against locals and tourists alike including shootings, a chopping, armed home or villa invasions, armed carjackings, parking lot and beach ambushes and store robberies.

In some cases people were shot at; at least a tourist and a little girl were hit by bullet.  Both, thankfully survived.

“Whilst overall crime and the number of serious crimes have risen by 10 percent and 13 percent respectively, the Turks and Caicos suffered a very significant surge in crime during January and February 2022. This surge accounted for 68 additional serious crimes when compared to the year before and in relation to overall crime, the same two months saw an additional 121 crimes when compared with January and February 2021.

We believe these additional crimes were carried out by a very small number of prolific offenders, offenders which are no longer active,” said Commissioner Botting.

Overall there were 1,738 crimes committed in the Turks and Caicos during the April 2021 to March 2022 period which is 157 more crimes than the 1,581 committed in the previous 12 months April 2020 to March 2021, causing the 10 percent increase.

For context, without the ‘68 additional serious crimes’ perpetrated during the January/February 2022 spike, there would have been a total of 1670 crimes in the 12-month period, an increase of 5 percent over the previous period regardless.

Additionally, the Police Commissioner did not give any details on the operations connected to these ‘prolific offenders’ and he did not say what he meant by them being no longer active.

Commissioner Botting did provide reasonably detailed statistics.

There were a total of 355 serious crimes, 42 more than the 313 recorded in the 12-month period before accounting for the 13 percent increase. This also puts the number of serious crimes 12 percent higher than the 5-year average of 315.

The number of burglaries held firm with the same 286 as the period before. There was a rise in aggravated burglaries with 19 more offenses than the year before, a total of 53.

It is important to note that the recent spate of robberies and car thefts in late May are not included in these statistics.

Another unsurprising rise was in Firearms Offences with an additional 37 crimes compared to the same period the year before.

There was no report on the gun amnesty in March and how many, if any firearms, were recovered from that effort.

The only reductions included in the report were a one percent reduction in the number of robberies and a 20 percent reduction in the number of murders. There were 20 people killed in 2020–2021 compared to 16 in this period.

The decrease in murder at least is cause for celebration, Commissioner Botting described it as ‘very welcome’ and said the police would be continuing with targeted operations throughout the year to get the figures down. He noted that while the police work hard other issues had to be tackled if they are to be successful in their crime-fighting efforts

“Whilst policing is at the forefront of crime prevention and detection through enforcement and the Officers and staff within the Force have worked very hard to tackle the surge in crime committed by prolific and dangerous criminals, the societal issues that are the causes of crime must be tackled to see a sustained reduction in crime, especially serious crime.”

Still the sense of urgency felt by Islanders seems to be absent for the Commissioner of Police.  Residents have openly stated, it is the longstanding secrecy about crimes which are happening, the ongoing negative advisory and warning about the safety of the destination which is so heavily tourism dependent by the US Department of Homeland Security, the low rate of crime detection and convictions and the high rate of individuals seemingly getting away with murder which creates the unshakable angst.

Bottom line a crime rate on the rise is simply not under control.

Caribbean News

TCI Police Detective Holden Speaks Up on Blue Hills Rapes



Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  



#TurksandCaicos, March 27, 2023 – Following the announcement that several women had been robbed and assaulted in Blue Hills in the past weeks, Magnetic Media queried why the Police would wait until they had a man in custody to release an alert. 

TCI’s newest addition to the top brass Detective Superintendent Dean Holden, Head of Crime, Safeguarding and Public Protection, told us that it initially appeared to be an isolated offence and not part of a series of incidents. 

“The full circumstances needed to be investigated to ascertain the facts before a public alert could be considered. Misinformation in such a case would only cause unnecessary public concern and confusion and could adversely impact the investigation and the safeguarding of persons involved—” he said. “Even now there is no definitive information that these offences are linked, and investigators remain open-minded.”  

Holden claimed an early alert with limited information could have hindered the investigation and they were trying to protect the women who may not have wanted to be identified based on where they lived.  

As it turns out, the public concern was very much warranted, because there have been more violent sexual attacks, and more victims got hurt, forcing their hands.  

“When further similar offences were committed, the overriding principle of sustained public protection was considered, hence the alert/release issued,” he said. 

That alert was coupled with the news that a man had been arrested. Whether those further similar incidents could have been prevented if the public was informed earlier and taken extra precautions, is the underlying question. To date, we don’t know how many victims there are. 

Police have increased patrols in the Blue Hills area and condemned the crimes as unacceptable. They have not indicated if anyone was charged for the offences yet.  

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Bahamas News

FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death  



Dana Malcolm  

Staff Writer  



#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February.  The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.

The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful.  The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.  

In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one.  The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.” 

The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’  The FBI also searched the couple’s car.   

No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.   

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Caribbean News

Police Week Speech brings welcomed report for Police Marine Branch



By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, March    , 2023 – All around growth for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force and its initiatives is what Commissioner Trevor Botting is promising with the revelation of several personnel additions in his address to the nation during Police Week. 

The Marine Branch of the police in particular, is getting some much needed support.

“We are currently procuring new vessels for our Marine Branch, along with recruiting 12 marine officers for the team. The UK Government is funding a dedicated and highly technical aircraft for the Force to provide a critical capability to detect threats at sea,”  he explained.

The capabilities of the Marine Branch have been a sore spot for some residents because as the team in Providenciales repeatedly proves its efficiency and indispensability, residents in Grand Turk remain without the aid of their own branch in emergencies. It makes the announcement of expansion doubly significant.

More expansions are coming on land, with the promised UK backup, finally active, shared Botting.

“Whilst colleagues from the RBPF came to support us so magnificently, there have been other key additions to the ranks within the Force. We have welcomed a new Head of Crime, Superintendent Dean Holden and 17 investigators, funded by the UK Government to support our Serious Crime Team. Our staffing numbers have been bolstered by a number of highly trained and experienced police officers that have joined us from across the region, as well as 18 new recruits who have just left for their initial training in the Bahamas,” Botting said, also promising that promotions were underway for Assistant Superintendents, Inspectors and Sergeants.”

A drone unit has been launched, along with the expansion of the community policing project. 

“Working with our young people is critical in building safer communities. The assistance and encouragement we have received from the people we serve is truly appreciated,” he said, maintaining that the Force is ‘growing its capability fast– to meet the demands of the future in order to best protect communities.”

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