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DECR Experts Identify Alleged Christmas Tree Snake in Social Media Forward  

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#TurksandCaicos, December 15, 2022 – On Saturday 10 December 2022, the Department of Environment and Coastal Resources (DECR) Research and Development Unit was able to review the photos attached to the social media forward messages about a snake allegedly found in an imported Christmas tree.

Based on the photos attached to the message, the snake pictured was a female striped-phase Turks and Caicos boa Chilabothrus chrysogaster.  The snake was not one that would have entered the Turks and Caicos Islands on the Christmas tree. It is a native, harmless snake common throughout the Caicos Islands.

Further to this, the farm origin of the trees was ascertained as North Carolina. There are 38 native species of snakes in North Carolina and none of them fit the colour, size, and patterning of the snake in the photographs.  The highest temperature in the weeks the trees were shipped was 59°F, below the usual activity temperature of reptiles there.  The trees were also inspected and packed in North Carolina prior to shipment and were certified as free of pests and disease.

The trees were trans-shipped via South Florida, which has 44 native snake species, again none of which match the size, colour, and patterning of the snake in the photographs.

The snake in the photos, being a native boa, was not a dangerous or venomous species.

DECR Director Ms. Lormeka Williams stated, “We are fortunate to have on DECR staff biologists who are both intensely familiar with our native wildlife, and the wildlife of other countries.  I was able to concur with the identification, given as I am familiar with our reptilian wildlife myself.  It is of course important that we monitor our biosecurity closely, so reports of suspected incursions should always be made to authorities like DECR and Department of Agriculture.”

The DECR reminds the public that the Turks and Caicos boas provide a valuable ecosystem service in rodent control, and they do not constitute a threat to humans.  In the event it is suspected that a snake or any other animal has arrived into Turks and Caicos Islands through shipping means, it is important to contact the Department of Agriculture or DECR and not attempt to capture or kill the animal.  Both departments have staff trained in animal handling to minimize any potential danger.

Government

Washington MISICK challenged, and holds onto Leadership of the PNP

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#TurksandCaicos, February 24, 2024 – Magnetic Media can report that WASHINGTON MISICK has emerged and remains LEADER of the governing Progressive National Party.It has been a contentious battle today at the PNPs National General Congress (NGC) for party leadership with interest coming from: Jas Walkin, the party’s 2021 campaign manager who this week publicly withdrew his bid; Dameko Dean, former Wheeland candidate who had published an article revealing his quest to lead the PNP and E Jay Saunders who today unsuccessfully challenged MISICK for the role.Saunders has tried for leader before and has served as the party’s deputy leader, at the pleasure and selection of Washington Misick since June 2019.The run for party leader was a risky maneuver by Saunders, son of former PNP Party leader and Chief Minister Norman Saunders.Delegates cast votes, giving E Jay Saunders 58 votes and Washington Misick 88. The elder statesman convincingly retaining delegates’ confidence.It is also reported that, based on the PNP Constitution, Saunders needed 70% support from delegates in a preliminary run off.  He was unable to secure that much backing.A constitutional motion to change the selection process of the deputy leader to a delegate vote reportedly failed.It is therefore unclear what the immediate future, politically is for Saunders whose party and government roles are hinged on Washington Misick’s prerogative to have him or someone else in these posts.However Misick is already promoting a strict focus on uniting the party following the NGC meeting held at the Shore Club.

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Crime

TCI Community College staff struck and robbed, another chased in car by attackers

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – Attacks against several of its staff members last week have forced the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College to reassess its security.

“The college is robustly ending in immediate steps to review and reinforce our campus security protocols,” said a February 16 letter to staff seen by Magnetic Media.

The letter puts the date of the incidents as February 15th at one of its Providenciales campuses.

In the first,  a male member of staff was attacked and his car stolen after he left a meeting. When Magnetic Media queried police about the event, they released additional details of the robbery.

We were told around 9:15 pm, Thursday February 15, a 39-year-old male and his colleagues were leaving the TCI Community College Campus, Princess Drive, Providenciales, when a group of men surrounded his vehicle.

The man, noticing that one of the men had stopped at the rear of the vehicle, approached him to investigate and was struck on the head. In the immediate aftermath, the assailants escaped in the victim’s car, leaving the TCICC staff member injured at the scene.

The victim was transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center by police officers, and up until news production time, the car had not yet been recovered.

Following this incident, the Community College also revealed that a car chase had taken place.

A female member of staff this time, was chased down by suspected criminals as she left the campus. The employee managed to outdrive the people pursuing her and arrive safely at her destination, but she was described as shaken.

Now both, police officers and campus administration are urging residents to remain vigilant, especially when heading into their cars at night.

Safety tips that can help residents avoid attack, robbery, injury, or worse include:

  • Stay alert when heading to your vehicle; don’t be distracted by your phone; pay attention to your surroundings.
  • if you see anything or anyone suspicious, do not investigate on your own; go back and get a security guard or similar personnel to assist.
  • Have your keys ready in your hands before approaching your car, so you can enter the safety of your vehicle immediately.

The police have not yet arrested anyone for the robbery attack against the employee.

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News

Royal TCI Police share CAREER DAY Highlights

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#TurksandCaicos, February 23, 2024 – On Thursday, 8th February 2024, between 9 am – and 2 pm, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force attended a Career Day event at the Enid Capron Primary School, Five Cays, Providenciales.

Under the theme “Be aware, choose a career”, the RTCIPF showcased the many career options available in policing.

Members of the Community Policing Unit, Safeguarding and Public Protection, Anti-Gang and Drugs Unit, Marine Branch, Traffic Enforcement, Air Support Unit and Mechanical Department were present.  Officers answered questions posed by the young, impressionable minds.

Insp Ensa Wilson lectured students on various topics, including: “Good Touch, Bad Touch”, alerting adults to inappropriate situations and the importance of calling 911.

Students were asked questions following the lecture and were given RTCIPF tokens.

Sgt. Kavin Mars, along with PC Fitzlewis McDonald and Kiyon Doughty of the Anti Gang and Drug Unit, freestyled “Don’t Huff, Don’t Puff, Don’t Do That Stuff” and warned students of the dangers –health and legal – of using drugs.

Superintendent (Community Policing and Divisions) Dwight Gardiner commended the school’s initiative and applauded the representation of officers present.

Supt. Gardiner said: “Career Days often highlight the importance of community policing and underscore law enforcement’s vital role in fostering trust, collaboration, and safety within neighbourhoods.

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