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An end to ‘terroristic’ gang-led crime, five nations join the effort to restore peace in Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, October 12, 2022 – For five weeks criminals both local and international have terrorized the Turks and Caicos leaving death in their wake, now those criminals are facing a police force dozens of officers stronger and much more far reaching.  Security leaders hope it will be enough to crush any gang activity; already, thankfully the violence has been dialed down.  And Co-Chair of the National Security Council Governor Nigel Dakin says if this show of force is not enough there’s more in reserve.

In recent video addresses, both Dakin and Police Commissioner Trevor Botting detailed the partnerships that have been cashed in and the resulting ‘boots on the ground’.

The Frontline

As an immediate addition to the everyday force, a Bahamian Contingent has arrived, all are sworn in and some have already been integrated into the tactical unit.

The TCI’s sister country responded immediately when the TCI requested help  and gave some of her best.

Kendal Strachan, 38-year member and Assistant Commissioner in the Royal Bahamas Police Force on Friday October 7, was sworn in as special constable with the mission to keep the peace and to stop anyone who threatens that peace.  Strachan is well versed in technologies which can be employed to crack down on crime, and has trained at Quantico and the FBI in the United States.  Strachan also brings Human trafficking and tactical response training and 23 other officers with him.

In addition to Bahamians, a significant number of TCI island police officers have been moved from desk duty and the Marine office and placed on frontline duty.

Intelligence

Behind the frontline but still directly involved, is a now beefed up intelligence unit according to Dakin.

Not only is a National Emergency Operations Group composed of top security officials meeting every day for updates, the National Crime Agency, the UK equivalent of the FBI, is on the ground already and meeting with local intelligence.

Jamaican intelligence partnerships are in play as well, and on the way are 24 trained and UK-funded detectives who Dakin said  “provide the heart of any anti-gang operation.”

The Borders 

To help stop the guns and drugs that play a major role in the violence in the Turks and Caicos several international agencies are in place and still more are arriving.

A team with canine capabilities from The Bahamas is already in the TCI and has started duties at the airports checking for contraband.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is already on the ground with a helicopter to man the channel between Hispaniola and the TCI, ready to spot and catch smugglers.

On Sunday, UK Border Force experts will land on the islands to add another link in the chain of defense.

A Royal Fleet Auxiliary and its Wildcat Helicopter are also inbound.  “The UK Foreign Office is paying, and this airframe provides outstanding day and night surveillance,” Dakin explained.

In Reserve 

Miami Dade Police and the Jamaica Constabulary Force have made offers to the TCI for immediate help.  The UK is putting together a reserve Police Force should it be needed and as a last resort the UK Military can be called on.   .

For weeks, residents have been demanding support and had the first peaceful Sunday in over a month, only days after Bahamian officers stepped into the islands.  Dakin promises that peace and serenity will become the order of the day once more.

“With intelligence now being provided through sources on the ground; future intelligence provided by those monitoring telecommunications; intelligence collected from the aerial surveillance platform the UK are procuring, and; intelligence provided across the region; we will have built a Policing machine that can outmatch any gang.”

Bahamas News

Cruise Trippers bought big with Carnival Cruise Line on Cyber Monday

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

December 1, 2022 – Cyber Monday isn’t just for electronics!  Potential vacationers broke a Carnival Cruises Cyber Monday record for bookings, purchasing 50 per cent  more tickets than 2019’s pre-pandemic shopping day.

The cruise line announced the record bookings on Tuesday, November 29th.

The company cited a successful launch campaign of the new Carnival Celebration which visited Grand Turk recently and the three additional ships joining the fleet over the next 18 months, as major ticket pushers.

“The Cyber Monday sale activity showed consumer demand across the fleet, and we were particularly pleased with the booking activity for Carnival Venezia’s new year-round service from New York, and our new extended six-month program for Carnival Magic out of Norfolk,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“Our very successful naming ceremony for Carnival Celebration on November 20 and all the media coverage it generated clearly kept Carnival top of mind as vacationers got started on their holiday shopping yesterday.”

They say the pent-up demand for cruising has manifested in multiple ways in 2022, as Carnival was the first major cruise line to have its entire fleet back in operation and it now has more rooms than it was sailing in 2019.

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AG Pinder Makes a National Statement Regarding FTX Digital Markets Limited

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By LLONELLA GILBERT
Bahamas Information Services

 

#TheBahamas, December 1, 2022 – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Ryan Pinder made a National Statement on behalf of The Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, on the current situation regarding FTX Digital Markets Limited.

The AG explained that The Bahamas is a place of laws and the rule of law, and the exercise of due process, characterizes the integrity of its jurisdiction. “As the third-oldest democracy in the western hemisphere, our legal, regulatory and financial sectors have stood the test of time.”

He said given how quickly things have moved, it is hard to believe that it was only on November 2, that an article first appeared on the news site CoinDesk, with the details of a leaked financial statement of Alameda Research, a trading company also founded by Sam Bankman-Fried founder and CEO of FTX US Derivatives.

“I want to pause here to emphasize that among the over 100 companies located in dozens of jurisdictions around the world, FTX Digital Markets is the only entity regulated in The Bahamas,” AG Pinder said.

“Alameda Research is NOT regulated in The Bahamas. To the extent Alameda Research is found to have committed any improprieties in The Bahamas, then of course it will be subject to our jurisdiction.”

He said the balance sheet of Alameda Research, CoinDesk reported at that time, revealed that a large portion of their assets were held in FTT, a token issued by an FTX entity, that granted token holders a discount on trading fees.

The AG said four days later, on November 6, Binance, a crypto exchange that is a major rival to FTX, announced that it was selling off all its substantial holdings in the FTT token.

He said this announcement prompted many FTX investors to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars in digital assets from FTX – causing a liquidity crunch.

“In short, FTX was experiencing the equivalent of a ‘run on the bank,’ when customers all rush to withdraw assets simultaneously. Two days later, on November 8, it was reported that Binance had entered into a non-binding agreement to buy FTX. However, the very next day, November 9, Binance pulled out of the deal.”

Attorney General Pinder noted that one day later, November 10, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, announced that it had taken action to freeze the assets of FTX Digital Markets, had suspended the registration of FTX Digital Markets as a licensee under The Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Act, also known as the “DARE Act”, and applied to the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, pursuant to its regulatory authority under the DARE Act, to place the company into provisional liquidation.

“The speed with which the Securities Commission was able to move was remarkable by any standard. Over the course of eight days, market confidence was lost in a company which at one point had a $32 billion valuation.”

He said, “The Securities Commission deserves the highest praise for moving so swiftly and decisively to suspend FTX Digital Markets’ license and appoint provisional liquidators.

“In addition, the Securities Commission recognized that given the nature of digital assets, and the risks associated with hacking and compromise, placing FTX Digital Markets into provisional liquidation was not sufficient to protect the customers and creditors of the company.”

The AG said, therefore, pursuant to their authority under the DARE Act, and pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, the Securities Commission secured the assets of FTX Digital Markets to be held on behalf of and for the benefit and restitution of clients and creditors of FTX.

He explained that the Commission was the first regulator in the world to take significant steps with respect to the FTX group of companies, which has operations and regulated activities throughout the world. This was done for the purpose of protecting the interests of FTX’s customers and creditors, as well as the integrity of the Bahamian financial services industry.

Attorney General Pinder said, “The Securities Commission was able to move so quickly because of the strength of the legislative framework which was already in place in The Bahamas to regulate digital asset companies like FTX Digital Markets. No other jurisdiction in the world moved or could have moved this quickly in circumstances such as these.”

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Bahamian Family Islands record a rise in traffic fatalities; warnings from Officials

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

#TheBahamas, December 1, 2022 – A number of traffic fatalities have occurred across The Bahamas over the past few weeks.  Among the recent tragedies was a young boy overnight, and though he died on his bicycle on Rock Crusher Road in the country’s capital, Nassau it was another opportunity to sound the alarm.

Just days before, on Monday around 2 pm when the life of a 48-year-old male was lost in James Cistern, Eleuthera.

The Royal Bahamas Police lost Sgt Shamar Edgecome, 43 years old, on November 19 when his service jeep was found turned over in bushes; Edgecombe ejected.  Island Administrator for Acklins, Wilma Colebrooke revealed the officer was assigned to duty at the Lovely Bay area.

Chief Superintendent, Shanta Knowles from the Eleuthera Police Division has called on motorists to be more vigilant and pay attention to road regulations. She said road checks are done regularly to remind drivers of traffic regulations such as the use of seatbelts and driving within the speed limit.

To date, there have been recorded fatalities in the areas of Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, New Providence, Acklins, and North Andros.

Eight Mile Rock Island Administrator, Ricardo Ferguson believes that lighting is an issue in his area and plans to meet with the police Chief Superintendent, other traffic officials and the Grand Bahama Power and Light Company to discuss a solution. Ferguson stressed that waiting until things happen before addressing issues will only result in further loss of life.

The Officer in charge of Family Islands Assistant Commissioner of Police, Bernard K Bonamy Jr was asked about the infrastructure and condition of roads to which he said driving carefully is crucial, regardless of available infrastructure and road conditions.

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