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Crime

October begins with murders, wild car chase and teenagers caught in gun violence  

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, October 6, 2022 – A new month has come with little change for the residents of the Turks and Caicos as October, like September, began with a weekend of violent crime.

A public shootout in Long Bay on Sunday afternoon between police and criminals resulted in several injuries including that of a police officer and at least two bystanders. Videos of the event show one man prone in the road, bleeding profusely after obviously having been shot and another bleeding from the face in a supermarket as residents try to offer assistance in both cases.

The shocking incident is even more proof that the criminals that have taken up residence in the Turks and Caicos Islands are ruthless, uncaring of whether their violence spills over onto innocent people.

Later, the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands would confirm, three people died on Sunday October 3; one a guest at the Ritz Carlton resort, visiting Turks and Caicos from Virginia.

Several conflicting reports have emerged from the Cheshire Hall Medical Center regarding violent events that might have taken place there.  The police have not confirmed anything but the hospital was under heavy police guard last night.

Less than 24-hours before the incident a 14-year-old child was arrested by police for allegedly being in possession of ammunition at a youth sporting event. Whether the incident was as a result of idle curiosity an attempt at intimidation or one of countless other probabilities one thing is for sure our teenagers are being exposed to violence much too early.

It was also reported in local media that a second 14-year-old was shot at the same event.

As if that weren’t enough, two men were shot in separate incidents on Friday night; one was killed, the other fighting for his life in hospital.

Police say around 8 p.m. on Friday, multiple residents reported hearing gunshots in School Hill, Five Cays where on arrival, members of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands police found the body of a young man with gunshot wounds marking the 23rd murder victim this year.

Less than 30 minutes later, a man was dropped off at the Cheshire Hall Medical Center after being shot in the chest.

While they say they believe the first shooting was targeted the police have admitted that they are not sure about the circumstances surrounding the man in hospital who is in critical condition.

By Sunday morning, three more men had been arrested for gun possession after a car chase along Millennium Highway.

A police report informed that about 1 a.m. on Sunday, officers on patrol saw a white vehicle and indicated it should stop. When the men inside refused, a chase ensued and the white car crashed into a ditch trying in an attempt to evade police.

Police say one tried to run, leaving his compatriots behind and the two other occupants were trapped in the vehicle. Video evidence of the incident shows the car badly damaged, resting in bushes as those on scene freed the occupants from the car.

After rescuing the men and providing first aid, during a search a gun was discovered in the vehicle along with ammunition.

All three men were summarily held and arrested.

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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Crime

North & Middle Caicos Realtor says Crime Wave did hurt, a little

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 30, 2022 – What would’ve likely been amazing year for real estate in the Turks and Caicos hit a bump in September with the Violent gang war but Forbes’ Realty in Middle Caicos says despite the “Physical and emotional battering” the country remains a safe haven isolated in the ocean, with tremendous natural beauty and overall a population of decent folk.

Maintaining that, the future bodes well for tourism and realty.

Longtime realtor, Sara Kaufman says real estate prices are holding and will climb.  Kaufman expressed hope, especially for the twin islands of North and Middle Caicos revealing that the sustainable investment projects which could flourish in the two greenest islands have not yet arrived … but, Kaufman shared confidence, concluding her report with: “they will.”

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Caribbean News

Police Academy Commissioner Shot Dead in Haiti

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#Haiti, November 29, 2022 – The police in Haiti have launched an investigation following the assassination of the director of the National Police Academy, Commissioner Rigaud Harington.

Reports from the police are that Harington was shot dead on the grounds of the police training facility in a gang-controlled neighbourhood in the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince on Friday, November 25.

The spokesperson for the National Police of Haiti (PNH), Inspector Garry Desrosiers, in confirming Friday’s killing, said the commissioner was “shot in the head not far from the Academy” and the attackers “stole his [Harington’s] vehicle and kidnapped his driver.”

Harington’s killing is the latest in several attacks against law enforcement in Haiti. The killing also happened at a time when international leaders are trying to help Haiti’s political leaders control the surge in gang violence in the country.

The police have not released any information on who might be responsible for the commissioner’s death.

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