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
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Police Reveal Identities on Double Homicide Victims
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2023 – Shot male victims identified The two male victims shot dead on Friday, 17th November 2023, have been identified as 26- year-old Jean Mryola and 45-year-old Salomon Innocent Nevilia of Five Cays, Providenciales.
Based on preliminary information, a call was placed to the Police Control Room around 6:31 a.m., reporting the discovery of two bodies on a track located off Five Cays Road in the Five Cays community.
The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Serious Crime Unit officers are continuing investigations into this senseless crime.
The public is being asked to contact 911, the closest police station, the RTCIPF Serious Crime Unit at 232-8752, or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 and give any information on this murder or any other illegal activity anonymously.
Maternity care and orphanages in Haiti shutting down with another Bloody Day on November 13
Haiti, November 24, 2023 – Some Haitian women, mothers specifically and soon to be mothers are left somewhat if not entirely without access to the special care they need, as maternity care is being severely impacted by the growing lack of safety from gang activity.
On November 15th, 2023, discord which led to clashes, resulted in the unwilling, indefinite closure of the Fontaine hospital, a private facility that provides important maternity care service to women.
This was not the first instance unfortunately as a few weeks prior, in late October, another maternity center called Saint Damiens had to halt treatment as well; closing its doors because of insecurity.
Some medical centers are still operating in other parts of Haiti as the staff of the shut facilities were transferred; they are relocated to Port-au- Prince, according to a November 20th report by OCHA, for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was giving its weekly update on the crisis in Haiti
This comes following a disturbing resurgence in violence on November 13; it saw rival armed groups in a deadly clash causing displacement and injuries in areas like Citè Soleil, “a commune in the capital, Port au Prince,” the report informed.
The record reflects that 1000 people were forced out of their home and 166 were killed.
Now, with so many displaced, this not only decreases the people in the area as some would naturally flee, but also the number of nurses being relocated and for good reason. What this does is reduce the access to medical care in the affected areas, Cité Soleil.
With other medical institutions closing by force, the number of facilities is clearly reducing.
In fact, in Cité Soleil, there is only one medical center left open.
Among the recent evacuees, 58 children, said the report.
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