By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, October 12, 2022 – Ten policy changes to bolster law enforcement in the Turks and Caicos were approved at the Cabinet level and the raft of proposed regulations put forth by the National Security Council are aimed at ending a deadly gun rampage in the UK overseas territory; but some wonder if that is the long and short of it.
The changes had been announced by both the Governor and Premier of Turks and Caicos in early September, now, a summary of the October 5 (2022) meeting was on Thursday publicized confirming the dire reforms are pending.
The maneuver will put some fangs on the current legal capability of the Royal TCI Police and has led to 11 bills going to the Turks and Caicos Bar Council for consultation including one that introduces anti-gang legislation; firearms bills as government is now moving on a promise to institute harsher sentences for gun possession and authorities want to be able to extended, as needed, the detention time for suspects being questioned for murder or firearms offences.
Other more welcomed measures were itemized as empowering the Royal TCI Police to erect road barriers and requiring that SIM cards for cellular phones be registered to a purchaser. If passed in parliament, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions would also have the authority to appeal verdicts; especially key in serious crimes cases. Additionally, the changes in law, if approved by the House of Assembly, will slap those who assault police, TCI regiment members, judges and court workers, and other law enforcement officers with stiffer sentences.
Still, there are members of the general public skeptical about at least some of the proposed amendments: including an adjustment which would allow a court order to stop a person’s anti-social behavior; many want authorities to distinctly define ‘anti-social behaviour’ and potentially discriminate profiling of suspects to allow the act of stop and search of individuals and vehicles.
Residents, speaking to Magnetic Media say they are also not keen on the idea of personal communications being intercepted, legally, by Police. It is informed in the cabinet summary that this seizure of private communications to assist police in gathering intelligence will aid in criminal investigations and successfully close criminal cases.
Despite, the red flags are raised with many offering that while these amendments sound good as Turks and Caicos grapples with an out of control killing spree which they agree must be contained, there is a fear that the new laws could be manipulated to victimize and spy on law-abiding residents.
It is not the end of the road for the legislation and according to Akeirra Missick, the PNP government’s leader in the House of Assembly, the TCI Bar Council, as part of a consultation on the changes, is reviewing the bundle which includes the Interception of Communications Bill 2022 and a Telecommunications Amendment Bill 2022.
Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly
#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.
Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests. The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.
The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:
- House of Assembly in Grand Turk
- Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
- Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
- Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.
The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.
For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:
By telephone at: 946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU
#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.
This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.
This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper, was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”
The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.
Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”
Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.
Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.
Guyana to build regional food hub
#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.
In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.
“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean. What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have. We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”
Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.
Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.
In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh, Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.
Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.
Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.
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