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Open letter to Governor Dakin’s speech to the HOA

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Dear Governor Dakin,

A few years ago, I had the privilege of meeting you in person on a more positive note. This time, I felt compelled to address you in an open letter relative to the passionate speech you delivered during your opening address to the House of Assembly.

I would also like to commend you on your accomplishments over the years. In the short span of time in your position as head of state, you have made a significant contribution to the Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly with spearheading the establishment of the TCI Regiment which is crucial to any developing country.

However, as a concerned citizen and I do believe echoing the voices of many, I felt obliged to provide a response to a few of the comments you made. With all due respect, there are also some questions that the country needs further clarification on and answers too.

First and foremost, as you pointed out, there are too many external factors that play into the hands of this escalating crime which are entirely out of your control.

To some degree that is correct, but I beg to differ on a few points especially when it comes to accountability. When crime is at a new dimension, it’s certainly a rite-of-passage test of any leader and their ability to make decisive decisions. At the end of the day, the buck stops with you, the Premier and those who are entrusted with our safety and security.

With that being said, criticism will come and as concerned citizens, we should not be complicit in any kind of silence and I refuse too.

Way too many precious lives are being loss to gun violence. Regardless of who they are, be it gang members or innocent civilians at the right place at the wrong time it is stoking fear across our communities.

As a people, we must not be afraid to demand change from our elected leaders, appointed Governor or Police Commissioner and rightfully so. Both you and the Commissioner have sworn to provide the highest quality of leadership and the necessary resources to protect our nation from harm and we should expect nothing short of that.

Secondly, although crime fighting is a collective effort and there is no silver bullet to its resolution, in my professional opinion, we failed to nip this in bud when we were in a better position to do so.

Sadly on many fronts, from the initial onset of this unrelenting violence, our leaders continued to be reactive rather than being proactive.

Whilst some initial progress was made to arrest serious crimes under the leadership of the Commissioner and his team, it’s not near the levels it should be based on the population of our size. I honestly believe he has given it his all and does care about the escalating crimes and the future of his department.

Nevertheless, as an avid supporter of law enforcement and will always be, I do have some reservations on how the force is currently being managed and some of the missed opportunities.

At some point, as the Governor, you will have to decide if it’s in the best interest of the country to raise the leadership bar or just keep playing defense.

The Commissioner’s performance is certainly on display, and he will have to decipher whether or not he has reached his capacity level in this particular position. It is my belief, every individual regardless of how good you are in your position has a capacity and is dispensable.

For the sake of argument, perhaps he wasn’t challenged enough or given the necessary tools he needed within a reasonable timeframe to do his job effectively.

From my observation, what I have seen over the years is too often when there is a spike in violent crimes, we put a band-aid on it. It appears, we rush to bring in more senior level police personnel from the UK to assess the situation with the hopes of finding short term solutions.

In essence, isn’t this is what we are paying the Police Commissioner to do? Its leaders who are supposed to set the stage for success. Of course, ultimately, it’s the field officers who will win the battle against these violent crimes, but they will need to be properly trained and provided the necessary tools to do their jobs.

Where is the accountability of leadership at top level? Sometimes when your boxed in, it’s hard to think outside of that box. Unfortunately, many citizens have lost confidence in the Commissioner’s ability to stabilize crime. Once this occurs, it’s harder to get cooperation between the general public and the police.

You also mentioned the successful efforts that were made to reenergize TCI’s relationship with the US and Bahamian Coast Guard. This was done to support intelligence collection on migrant vessels. It’s a good thing, but can you honestly say we have gone far enough?

It’s been over 5 years now, and the citizens of Grand Turk have yet to see a permanent marine vessel station on its shores. This is despite having wide open borders and several deserted cays where criminals can stash their illegal weapons and drugs.

Great Sand Cay which is in closer proximity to Salt Cay then Providenciales, a number of illegal vessels have been spotted either scouring our fishing banks or running aground without any knowledge of law enforcement. Thanks to concerned citizens who have assisted with responding to the calls. It certainly underscores the need for a stronger security posture in that area.

Furthermore, to my knowledge the Port Authority in Grand Turk, still does not have a dedicated and properly trained Harbor Master. This has allowed a number of private yacht captains and crew to come ashore with God only knows what, before requesting to see Customs Agents.

Are we as a country that naive to believe illegal trafficking of any kind is only limited to speed boats from Jamaica and illegal Haitian vessels?

What’s even more troubling is the fact that these criminals are indiscriminately targeting businesses and have no regards when it comes to inflicting harm on our dedicated law enforcement officers. We have seen this with recent incidents.

With many of our law enforcement officers battling this new frontier and, in some cases, outgunned by these criminals. What plans are in place for compensation of their families God forbid an officer succumb to a permanent injury or death?

I can go on and on, but by no means is this an opportunity to bash you or the Police Commissioner. It’s just my observation and maybe it could be a wakeup call for a change of strategies with more focus on the low hanging fruits.

Sometimes, we take big and bold steps and simply overlook the small ones which could have made a big difference.

We realize for safety and security reasons, certain strategies will remain off limit to public knowledge to protect law enforcement personnel, but where is the imminent plan of action?

Where is the 10, 30, 60 days and beyond plan of action to restore order? If we fail to provide stability, it will have profound implications on our fragile tourism driven economy.

In order to provide that sense of security for residents in those affected communities, police tactics like roadblocks, lockdowns, random search and seizure etc. is of paramount.

We the people, should expect to see some serious debates in the HOA, as TCI is currently faced with some enormous challenges and big decisions to make. In the end, although the situation is precarious, I’m confident we will prevail and together shape a better future.

 

Sincerely,

Ed Forbes

Concerned citizen of Grand Turk 

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13th Annual Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament (WCGFT) Check Presentation Ceremony – 5th April, 2023

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#TurksandCaicos, April 10, 2024 – We are proud to announce that this year’s proceeds from the 13th WCGFT were presented to 3 youth-oriented organizations: Edward Gartland Youth Centre, TCI Amateur Athletic Association (TCIAAA) and TCI Swimming Federation (TCISF).

The Edward Gartland Youth Centre is a non-profit organization providing a space of learning for the youth of Providenciales with activities ranging from tutoring to sports and recreation, arts and craft and so much more.

TCIAAA and TCISF just represented the Turks & Caicos Islands in the CARIFTA Games in Grenada, 2024. We are proud of their achievements and happy that we could help in time.

The Charities were presented cheques totaling $70,000:

Edward Gartland Youth Centre:          $35,000

TCIAAA:                                            $20,000

TCISF:                                                $15,000

This brings the total donated by the WCGFT and its Sponsors to $530,000. We look forward to giving even more next year.

This concludes this year’s 13th WCGFT Event and Cheque Presentation. We would like to thank our sponsors and organizers who were key in our efforts to give back to the youth of the TCI Community.

We look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event.

Thank you all.

 

CONTACT: Desmond Williams, desmond@winecellar.tc, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament

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News

Provo Water Company Boosts Water Distribution Infrastructure in Providenciales with Key Improvement Initiatives

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PROVIDENCIALES, TCI, APRIL 9, 2024: Provo Water Company (PWC) remains steadfast in its commitment to enhancing the water distribution network in Providenciales by making significant progress on various improvement projects while innovatively addressing short-term distribution challenges.

The company is currently working on two projects to enhance water distribution on Providenciales. The first project will see the installation of a new city water transmission main line from the TCWC Production Plant along June Plum, Gardenia Way, Kakeka Streets, and Garden Loop to the Leeward Highway, extending from the Long Bay Hills Drive junction to the roundabout near Crackpot Kitchen. This pipeline upgrade will provide increased water supply to the network and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2024, enhancing water reliability and ensuring better service for the community.

The second project, which is set to be completed by the end of September 2024, will focus on upgrading the fittings at major water junctions along the Leeward Highway. These improvements to the water supply network’s central artery will increase water flow to the Suzie Turn Reservoir, and enhance water availability and quality for customers located west of Turtle Cove.

These projects not only tackle the current water distribution issues causing nightly restrictions but are also essential components of PWC’s long-term strategy to support the island’s population growth and flourishing tourism industry. In the immediate term, the organization has resourcefully repurposed a newly built water tank located in the Industrial Park area. Originally designated for a future project, the water company has utilized the new tank as an additional source to replenish the Suzie Turn Reservoir, addressing the water supply issues that began in March.

In response to the new development, Managing Director Robert Hall stated, “We are pleased to have found a way to utilize this water tank as a temporary aid in addressing the high-water demand. The activation of this tank reaffirms our commitment to fulfilling the water requirements of our community in response to the growing demands of our customers and stakeholders.”

Situated in the heart of the Industrial Park area, the new tank boasts a capacity of 1.5 million gallons. This tank will work hand in hand with the Suzie Turn Reservoir to meet the water supply needs in the northern and southwestern areas of Providenciales, bridging the gap until ongoing projects deliver a lasting solution.

Once the two current projects have been completed, the new water tank will serve a critical role in a future project and in safeguarding Providenciales with an emergency water supply during crises like hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“This water system investment speaks volumes about our proactive approach to directly addressing water challenges. Through expanding storage capacity and optimizing distribution efficiency, we are well-positioned to deliver reliable, high-quality water services to our customers,” Hall said.

He also added that, amid these efforts, advocating for water conservation practices is crucial. Small actions, such as fixing leaks, using water-efficient fixtures, and practicing mindful water consumption, can play a significant role in safeguarding our valuable water resources.

In addition to these initiatives, the organization will continue to optimize and promote its robust educational campaigns and community engagement programs aimed at raising awareness about water conservation and the importance of sustainable water practices. By empowering individuals with knowledge and tools to make informed choices about water usage, Provo Water Company aims to foster a culture of responsible water stewardship that benefits both the environment and future generations.

“As we move forward, we remain committed to serving our community and look forward to the positive impact that these new initiatives will bring to this island.” Hall concluded.

For additional details about Provo Water Company and its water efficiency and conservation initiatives, visit its website, provowater.com and social media pages at @ProvoWaterCompany for tips and announcements, or contact our customer service team at customerservice@provowater.com.

 

Pic: Provo Water Company’s Managing Director, Robert Hall, and team working to expand water storage capacity to optimize distribution efficiency.

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Bahamas News

Saxons Brass Section Thanks CWCO for Continued Commitment

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS (April 9th, 2024) Behind the vibrant costumes and electrifying beats of Junkanoo parades are committed members, mentors, and supporters such as Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO). In a heartfelt acknowledgment of years of generous support, the Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited the water supplier to present a plaque of appreciation.

Jeremy Adderley, speaking on behalf of High Voltage Brass, said, “Without CWCO’s support, we would not have had the brass costumes needed to compete and secure our two-straight victory. Their support also helps us as we plan lessons for our young members to enhance their musicianship skills, not just for Junkanoo but for college and beyond.”

Adderley highlighted that the plaque is a token of High Voltage Brass’ immense gratitude for CWCO helping the Saxons Superstars keep culture alive and for being a steadfast partner in developing future leaders.

He added, “Every year, it is a struggle to make it to Bay Street. Many of our members are eager to participate, despite their circumstances, and every year our group continues to grow. Thanks to CWCO’s generosity, we look forward to continuing to grow and succeed alongside their great team and establishment.”

Henderson Cash, CWCO’s General Manager, said, “Receiving this plaque from the Saxons Superstars is a profound honor for us at CWCO. It symbolizes the strong relationship we’ve built over the years, rooted in mutual respect and a shared commitment to preserving Bahamian heritage.

“Our support for the Saxons Superstars’ brass section is emblematic of our broader mission to invest in our community’s vibrancy and the potential of its young people. We are deeply committed to continuing this support and fostering the traditions that make our culture so unique.”

 

Photo Caption: The Saxons Superstars’ brass section, High Voltage Brass, recently visited Consolidated Water (Bahamas) Ltd. (CWCO) to present a plaque of appreciation.

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