Human Smugglers targeting TCIs Uninhabited Islands, over 200 Illegals & Marijuana nearly made it ashore
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, March 9, 2023 – Human Smuggles are finding new ways to exploit the vulnerabilities of TCI’s porous borders; a recent capture of over 200 illegal migrants exposes that increasingly boats are pointing their sterns toward the uninhabited or lesser inhabited islands; once again it was West Caicos.
Three children, 40 women and 162 men were found crammed in a vessel, spotted trying to make its way to the island, which sits close to the economic hub of the country, Providenciales.
Only days before, a Magnetic Media informant sent photographs of dozens of hurried foot prints in the sand on the beach in northwest Providenciales; those prints are often a sign that illegal entries are happening and an unknown number of people and other contraband are making it to shore, mostly from embattled Haiti.
These voyages are not unassisted.
In January, information to police allowed a commercial cargo vessel carrying irregular migrants from Haiti to be discovered; also at the start of the year, the Royal TCI Police charged one of its own with harbouring illegals.
In a statement on Wednesday night, Police say they were acting on information received. Police also say they found packages of marijuana floating near the vessel.
“… at around 2.51 pm, the officers, via the Sea Protector vessel, intercepted a blue, 44 ft migrant vessel about 3.5miles south-west of the Bluff, Providenciales. The migrant vessel was found carrying a total of TWO HUNDRED AND TWO (202) illegal migrants…The illegal migrants were handed over to the Immigration Task Force.”
Video of that vessel showed a crush of people on the boat. You could hear the person filming the dangerously overloaded craft say to someone else, “I gave them some water, but I cannot stay.”
“Marine Branch Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force were dispatched yesterday (March 08th) afternoon following reports that a suspicious vessel was seen making its way towards West Caicos. Additionally, Marine Officers seized four packages containing what appeared to be cannabis, floating in close proximity to the illegal migrant vessel. The suspected drugs were handed over to officers of Grace Bay Police Post.”
The RTCIPF confirmed this latest capture as the eighth interception for the year, the TCI now having arrested at least 1,053 illegal migrants since Christmas, based on a presentation made by Arlington ‘Chuck’ Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.
On February 9th, during a national press conference, Minister Musgrove announced that since Christmas, 851 illegals had been stopped from disappearing into the Turks and Caicos. This newest number adds to that figure.
Rodney Adams, Commissioner of Police (acting) in the statement offered thanks to the public for sharing the information, encouraging further partnerships. Adams named the agencies involved in the operation.
“Through several agencies, including the RTCIPF Marine Branch, Maritime Operations Center and the Immigration Task Force working cohesively, this sloop was identified and intercepted, preventing over 200 irregular migrants from entering the TCI illegally.”
Photo Credit: RTCIPF
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
JAMAICA: 12,362 Seniors Registered Under New Social Pension Programme
#Kingston, March 28, 2023 – There are currently 12,362 seniors registered under the Government’s new Social Pension Programme.
Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Karl Samuda, made the disclosure during the sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House on March 2, at Gordon House.
The initiative targets all Jamaican citizens 75 years and older who are not currently in receipt of a pension (overseas or local) or any other retirement, old-age or disability benefit or regular income, and are not living in a government institutionalised care facility.
“We are evaluating the manner in which we qualify persons to go on the programme. This is a discussion we will have to have, as some people fall through the cracks simply because they might have a refrigerator, or they might be lucky enough to have a television at home,” Mr. Samuda said.
“The direction in which we are heading, to have those things, does not move you from poverty to prosperity. So, the Government has an obligation to do everything possible to improve their quality of life, and so we will be looking at that,” the Minister added.
Mr. Samuda said between March 2022 and January 2023, the programme disbursed $446 million.
To register for the social pension programme, persons may visit any of the Ministry’s parish offices islandwide.
They will be required to complete a social pension application form, accompanied by their Tax Registration Number (TRN), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) card, and proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or a valid passport.
They should also take along a valid identification (ID), such as a driver’s licence, passport or voter’s ID, proof of bank account and any other document that may be required to process the application, for example, proof of citizenship.
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