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Crime

TCI Police forming special unit to interview Witnesses to Crime

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, September 16, 2022 – A new unit separate from the day-to-day police force has been created and will soon be active to collect information from witnesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The creation of the unit is in an effort to bridge the gap between the police and the residents amid officials at the highest level admitting the people do not trust the police.

Trevor Botting, Turks and Caicos Islands Police Commissioner made the announcement in a press conference September 5 addressing recent violence in Five Cays

“We’ve now formed a dedicated team of trained officers who work discreetly with people who want to provide information. They are separate from the mainstream force and they deal with your information discreetly and professionally.”

Botting and Premier Washington Misick both admitted during that press conference that there was a serious breakdown of trust in the island’s police force.

Neither official speculated on the reason behind this breakdown. But in a concerning twist, dozens of residents during the live accused the Police Force of having serious confidentialities issues. Some of them gave outright examples of witnesses whose information had been leaked putting them in danger.

Despite this, Botting said the team has been extremely carefully selected.

“We’ve made this change and invested in making this change as we know how difficult it is in a small community and a community which is in fear, to provide information.”

Botting admitted that police officers in the past had spoken inappropriately regarding witnesses but said.

“This is why we have invested so heavily in a small heavily vetted unit— they are extraordinarily well trained and extraordinarily well selected and their whole purpose is to deal with this kind of information. They are separate from the Force, effectively, they won’t be on the streets.”

The commissioner said the team was so confidential they would be reporting directly to him and not even he would be aware of who the witnesses were. He stressed that the team was trustworthy, describing them as “unmatched” in policing.

Residents were not totally convinced, in addition to leaks in the force the Islands’ low conviction rate was also a bone of contention addressed both by the commissioner and by viewers.

When queried about the low conviction rate the Commissioner referenced residents’ reluctance to speak to the force as a major problem. He stressed that while he understood that people were afraid challenges in the investigative process hampered convictions.

“I am going to be blunt here. You can’t just look at the police to solve all the crimes. If you look elsewhere around the world where they have good conviction rates it’s the cooperation of the community that starts to make a difference” he said.

In 2022 alone there have been multiple failures to secure convictions based on missteps from all sides of the justice system. The consistent failures have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and put suspected molesters and murderers back on the street.

The Police Commissioner has promised that in the near future, a number will be circulated that will put witnesses in direct contact with the new team.

Crime

Too Many Unknowns, Scandalous Rumors emerge about Murder-Accused Brandon Rahming relationships

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, December 2, 20222 – Just over a week now since the death of suspected murderer Brandon Rahming  and social media chatter is raging; accusations, speculations, voice notes, photographs and undeniable discontent despite the country’s most notorious suspect now being himself, dead.

Magnetic Media has been privy to strings of communication which are unsubstantiated, but which point to the ongoing apprehension and legitimate musings about the light which could have been potentially shed if Rahming had been taken alive.

The alleged gang leader had been fingered by police for his involvement in drugs, arms and several murders.  It’s very likely that Rahming had significant information on who may have  been funding him, who was providing drugs and how they were entering the TCI.

With the gang leader dead, a wealth of information that could have validated the Governor-announced ‘transnational gang activity’ and likely put a real monkey-wrench into the nefarious activity in the TCI is lost.

Meanwhile, Police announced a man was charged in the Dock Yard arrest and take down of Brandon Rahming.  It said: “A Dock Yard man has been remanded into custody, after he appeared before a Magistrate yesterday (November 30th).

Guilene Jean-Baptiste, 25, is charged with the following offences:

(1) Possession of Controlled Drugs namely Cannabis
(2) Possession of Controlled Drugs namely Cocaine
(3) Possession of Controlled Drugs namely Methamphetamine
(4) Possession of Controlled Drugs with Intent to Supply namely Cannabis
(5) Possession of Controlled Drugs with Intent to Supply namely Cocaine
(6) Possession of Controlled Drugs with Intent to Supply namely Methamphetamine

Jean-Baptiste was arrested on November 19th, 2022, following a joint operation by police officers.

He is scheduled to re-appear in Court on December 19th, 2022.”

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Crime

Letter Bomber Hunt on in Spain

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

#Spain, December 2, 2022 – Police in Spain are desperately trying to find the culprit or culprits behind a series of letter bombs that have targeted high profile government officials and embassies since the start of the week.

So far the bombs which have arrived in inconspicuous cardboard boxes with handwritten addresses targeted six places: the Spanish Prime Minister’s office; US Embassy; Ukrainian Embassy; Spanish Defense Ministry; a weapons maker;  and a Spanish Air Base.

At least one individual from the Ukrainian embassy was hurt when the bomb targeting it went off.

All of the areas targeted have some connection to the EU or to the war in Ukraine.   A European newspaper Euractiv quoted the Ukrainian ambassador as saying that the package came with a box inside.  Suspicious, a security guard opened the package, pulled out the box, opened it, heard a click and tossed it.  Despite tossing it before it exploded he still received a concussion and hand injuries.

Police say they believe someone in Spain sent the packages and that they were all connected.

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Crime

Study reveals Online Sexual Exploitation of Children rose in Pandemic; Philippines among the worst

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

A recent study from UNICEF and investigation by the BBC have revealed horrific levels of child abuse in the Philippines fueled by pandemic lockdowns and increasing poverty. The study  revealed that country has become a den for Online sexual exploitation and abuse of children (OSEAC) in which adults sometimes even parents force children to perform sexual acts on camera for paying pedophiles on the internet.

A key finding of the study was that certain cultural beliefs contribute to the spread of OSAEC such as ‘if the children are untouched, they are not harmed’ and ‘OSAEC provides easy money and almost everyone does it.’

The BBC’s Laura Bicker visited Preda, an orphanage in the country that specifically helps abused children. Located in the orphanage is a dark padded room outfitted with an on hand therapist. Bicker described what she saw and heard.

“Some of the toughest healing at Preda happens inside a dark room with soft music playing in the background. There are large pads on the walls and floors – the kind gymnasts would use for a soft landing. The only light comes from the open door. About five children are kneeling, each in their own space.  Most of them are facing the wall. The overwhelming sound is the erratic thud of their fists and feet as they pummel the pads. The first raw, anguished cries make your heart stop. And then it starts again, but it’s difficult to keep listening, even from a distance, even for a few minutes. The questions hurled at the cushioned walls – “Why did you do this to me? Why me? What did I do?”

The situation is becoming increasingly dire.

Only around 20 per cent of Filipino children are listed by UNICEF as not vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and the pandemic has made it worse. UNICEF says a good grasp of the English Language, availability and ease of access to technology, well-established financial transaction facilities, and ‘absence of perceived conflict between sexual exploitation and significant social norms are some of the reasons the gruesome industry is allowed to thrive and expand.

While instances of online abuse may not be as prevalent in the Caribbean instances of sexual abuse are still high.  A recent study revealed that nearly 15 per cent of children aged 11–12 years and, 35 per cent of young people, 14–15 years old reported having had sexual experiences. Since the onset of the pandemic in 2019 those numbers have spiked.

In  Jamaica alone pediatricians said cases abuse rose 70 per cent during the pandemic but cases reported to the police dropped significantly indicating extreme underreporting.

Sexual crimes are some of the most underreported crimes in the world for various reasons including fear, coercion and shame. Protection of children from sexual abuse in all its forms must then become a community effort with adults taking on the responsibility of investigating and speaking up on behalf of children who may not be able to do so on their own.

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