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Legal Year Opens, TCI’s DPP reveals conviction rates

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 11, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos preliminary conviction rates for 2022 were revealed in the recent Legal Year Opening ceremony held on January 4th.  Eugene Otuonye, KC, Director of Public Prosecutions made the statistics public but before getting into them he revealed that data was missing in some areas notably January to March but did not say why.

Based on the available numbers, the Magistrate’s court had a conviction rate of 84% with 184 convictions from the 209 cases tried.  The cases at the magistrates level are usually minor including theft, break ins etc. or preliminary trials for cases that will move on to higher courts.

At the Supreme Court of the 66 cases tried, 50 ended in convictions based on guilty pleas or verdicts, only seven cases came back not guilty or were dismissed.  Sixteen cases were withdrawn, resulting in a 76 percent conviction rate, the DPP said.

Otuonye detailed some of the offences tried during the year citing forgeries, homicides and firearm and ammunition offences.

Only three cases went to the Court of Appeal, two were dismissed and only one criminal case went to the Privy Council which awaits a verdict.

Several high profile misses in the justice system were recorded in 2022 in both criminal and civil matters, one of which put a suspected sex criminal back on the street.  They ranged from a conflict of interest with the police provided translator in one case to huge payouts because of poor treatment of migrants and permanent residents, and improper introduction of evidence by prosecutors in others

The DPP maintained that convictions were not the sole aim of prosecutors.

“While the rate of conviction dismissal and acquittal may more reflect the state of the criminal justice system it can hardly be used to assess the effectiveness of a prosecutor whose primary focus is not to seek conviction at all costs but to act as a minister of justice.”

He admitted that the DPPs office was not where it needed to be but said they were working on getting it better in the 2023 year.  The courts of the Turks and Caicos Islands are now officially opened for 2023.

A contrast to last year’s opening which had to be downsized because of emergence of the omicron variant within the Coronavirus pandemic and the attendees having to be spaced out for safety in an open air ceremony, this year was held at the St Monica’s Anglican Church and the Annex courtroom.  Attended by members of all three arms of Government.

Caribbean News

PAHO Calls Americas to Increase Aedes aegypti Mosquito Control

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

 

#PAHO#Dengue#Americas, February 23rd, 2024 – With nearly seven thousand cases of dengue and 102 deaths reported in the Americas as of early February 2024, the Pan American Health Organization is once again calling for stronger measures to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the main transmitter of dengue. These numbers indicate a 157 percent increase in cases over the same period in 2023.  In the first five weeks of 2024, Peru, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay reported an increase in cases.

 

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Caribbean News

Dark Tourism Efforts in Jamaica – Colonial sites Preservation

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#DarkTourism#Jamaica,February 23rd, 2024 – British Colonial sites in Jamaica like Georgian plantation houses and slave infrastructure, are being preserved as slavery monuments to boost what authorities are calling the “Dark Tourism” industry. According to reports, Dark Tourism refers to tourists visiting places marked by historical tragedy. For Jamaica, the history of Britain’s 300-year rule will be explained at the preserved sites. Tourism minister Edmund Bartlett says work is being done with the ministry of Culture and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

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Bahamas News

Bahamas as Caribbean top 2024 Spring Destination

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Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#Bahamas#Tourism, February 23rd, 2024 – The Bahamas has been categorized as the most popular Caribbean destination for travel in the upcoming spring season by travel insurance company Squaremouth, in a new report. It was the only Caribbean nation to make the list for the top 10 destinations. The report is derived from travel insurance purchases made through Squaremouth.

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