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Container Scanners; TCI waiting years for activation at sea ports and Minister Musgrove updates



By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer


#TurksandCaicos, November 17, 2022 – Tuesday’s revelation that multiple shipments of guns bound for the TCI were intercepted before they could reach the country’s shores and suspected smugglers were arrested in the US is likely to have brought a sigh of relief to many residents.  The less illegal guns available on the streets the better; especially considering the indiscriminate violence meted out on residents by those who wield them.

But the bust of those gun smuggling suspects highlights the need for sophisticated security options for the Customs Department by raising the question; just how would those guns have gotten into the islands?

Smugglers across the Caribbean are known to use boats to ferry goods and people between islands.  Human smuggling via boats in particular is a recurring problem for the Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas especially with their many islands.  Smugglers sneak in on unguarded shores bringing hundreds of people at a time for lucrative paydays, which make foiling these risky voyages more than a full time job.

But contraband also turns up at legitimate ports all the time.  In the US, a member of the 400 Mawozo gang was caught trying to send guns to Haiti in a barrel of clothing passing through customs.

In Jamaica at least twenty guns were found in a cardboard box during routine checks at the airport in January. Seven more were found after being imported in flat screen televisions in March of this year, disassembled and cleverly hidden behind the panels.  In October twenty pistols were found hidden in cereal boxes in Dominica, and the list goes on.

In Dominica law enforcement credited x-ray tech for finding the guns hidden in those cereal boxes, in other situations physical checks of the offending shipments were engaged.

Container scanners have been on the list of needs for the ports of The Turks and Caicos for years.  So far though, none have been procured for the docks.

In the 2021/22 period alone the Ports Authority said it recorded a 59 per cent increase in imported cargo volumes, handling just shy of 600,000 tons compared to 374,194 tons in the previous year.

In a statement obtained by Magnetic Media, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services admitted government was aware of the need and was working toward implementation.

“Our visit to Barbados confirms the effectiveness of operating container scanners. Funding for scanners is included in the redevelopment of South Dock.  It is proposed to seek expedited approval to procure a mobile scanner for South Dock.  Technical assistance will be sought to assist the Ports Authority and Customs Department with preparing tender documents to procure the scanners.  Container scanners are custom built so it would take 4 to 6 months before the scanner can be in place.”

He maintained that TCIG was seeking expedited approval based on National security concerns.

Governor Nigel Dakin has also indicated that a UK Team is conducting three months of work to write a business case and prepare the tender process for “e-gates” and “e-borders”, the timeline on actual implementation though was not provided.

What is documented however, is that within weeks of improving security at TCI airports there were deeply troubling finds.  It was reported by Minister Musgrove that adding scanners and at least one special trained canine at TCI airports unearthed disguised illicit drugs.

There had also been unconfirmed reports of handguns discovered in unclaimed luggage flowing between Providenciales and Grand Turk.

With the exponential increase in cargo and the increase in gun crime, especially vicious shootings, the need for high tech security options at the sea ports in the Turks and Caicos also increases to cut off any chance of criminals using legitimate channels to import killing machines as legitimate cargo.


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:

  1. House of Assembly in Grand Turk
  2. Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
  3. 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.)
  4. 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: or

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Bahamas News

Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU 



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#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.

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Caribbean News

Guyana to build regional food hub



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#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.

Guyana seems to really want this to become a reality and Zulfikar Mustapha, Agriculture Minister, expressed this, highlighting what Guyana has over its Caribbean sister Islands.

“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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