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Illegal immigration, still a real threat in TCI

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#TurksandCaicos, March 24, 2023 – Immigration reform is perhaps the most complex policy to enact, let alone enforce without stepping on individuals human rights or on the toes of a certain group of people.  I realize there is an undercurrent of tension right now as it relates to this delicate topic, but it’s important to discuss. This is why in my opinion, no one has the perfect solution or answers, not even major developed countries.  Nevertheless, elected politicians have an obligation and a duty to come up with a comprehensive approach and viable solutions in the best interest of our the Turks and Caicos.
The impact of the recent pandemic have created even more of a nightmare for many countries around the world.  As a result, many people are suffering and in dire straits of basic needs.  Amid the fears and instability in our neighboring country like Haiti, it’s pretty evident. As we can see, without intervention, it is forcing hundreds, if not thousands of illegal migrants to risk theirs lives to reach our shores.
Years ago, political pundits were taken  back when the former premier stated that she cannot stop the illegal Haitian sloops from coming. Although, not politically correct, it has proven to be factual. Despite their tireless efforts, with some progress being made in recent months, which political party has yet to show they can?
For decades our country has dealt with illegal immigration, primarily Haitian and Dominican nationals and there seems to be no real solutions or end in sight.  Recently, many other nationalities are seizing on the opportunities and taking advantage of the loopholes in our immigration system and porous boarders.
I’m inclined to believe we literally have thousands of undocumented immigrants living in our country under the shadows, be it from undetected illegal boats coming ashore or persons who have overstayed their visas.
The recent voters list published by Tci Sun, which showed only 9,034 registered voters out of a population of approximately 45k, could be indicative of the magnitude of our illegal immigration problems.
Currently, there are ongoing discussions of enlarging our franchise through a legal framework with descendants of TCI. Looking at it through this prism, although noteworthy, we ought to be careful not to rush this initiative. In doing so, it could be consequential. In the interim, why not deal with the problem at hand?
In a small island nation like TCI, unchecked immigration could threaten the very fabric of our society in terms of our culture, the burden on our existing welfare system, etc.  What we need is zero tolerance for illegal immigration. Although we are advocates for human rights, our country has a rule of law that must be adhered too.
In order to properly enforce our current laws and bring about real change, the government will need to have stronger checks and balances in place, in addition to implementing more aggressive deterrent tactics.
Such as, a better tracking system for overstayed visas under the “Operation Guardian programme”.
-Imposing hefty fines for hiring illegals or aiding and abetting illegal entry.
-Housing enforcement of make-shift shacks erected on vacant properties, be it government or private.
-Investing heavily in border control and protecting our sovereign water ways.
-Increasing unannounced worksite immigration inspections, etc.
It’s unfortunate, but given the rapid decline of our indigenous population over the years and the construction boom, the country cannot continue to thrive and survive without foreign workers.  The reality is, our country does not have sufficient local labor force to meet the construction demands and the growing need for workers in the service industry.
The question is, at what point are we willing to accept this reality? I also believe there is a broader appetite by the public for the government to make some necessary amendments to our current immigration policies.  It’s evident, the British government who is ultimately responsible for our external security, is only spoon feeding us when we cry out.   I’m afraid, the road we are currently on, its putting the country in a very precarious position which will be difficult to rebound.
With that being said, there are other options the government should also consider to help mitigate the internal and external impending threats.  The first option: Whilst developing bilateral security partnerships is great, let’s ramp up the pressure on the British government to station their own coastguard ship in our waters on a semi-permanent basis. This will help to deal with the constant interceptions of illegal vessels and less reliance on the US and Bahamian Coastguard.
With our limited Marine resources, why are we processing hundreds of illegal migrants on our shores? Our system was not designed to house and support such levels of immigration.   The high cost of repatriation is draining our already strapped fiscal budget, which in turn creates other economic shortfalls for the country.
The second option: Consider passing an amnesty bill with a path to citizenship for those without criminal records who can prove they have entered the country prior to XYZ date.   For eligibility, such persons would have to provide some form of legal documentation, work history, passport and credible references.
Obviously, this will need to be a well thought out process and will require some kind of “Think Tank” committee to brainstorm this to see what the legal ramifications may be. It will also need to include our census bureau embarking on a countrywide effort for a more accurate headcount.
By doing this, we may accomplish a number of things, for one, it will decrease what I would characterize as the “slave labor pool” in our country. In addition, it will allow those who were once illegal to pay into our NHIB, NIB health and retirement system rather then draining it at our own expense.
“ The bottom line is, it’s a broken system and we cannot continue to kick the can down the road. If we operate the same way we will get the same results”.
As we have seen over the years, even though many of these voyages could be very treacherous, these migrants are undeterred by the seemingly odds of dying to get to TCI.
Therefore, it is futile to just sit back, complain and think it will magically go away. Because, at the end of the day, they are here, living and working among us undetected and have been for years. Something unprecedented must be done.
Illegal immigration is a matter that should concern all of us. Whether or not we choose to confront the problem, or just put a bandaid on it, it’s definitely something we need to tackle head on.
Ed Forbes,
Concerned citizen of Grand Turk 

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News

Subject identified

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SERVICE WITH PRIDE AND INTEGRITY

 

***MEDIA RELEASE***

May 18th, 2024.

Following a police shooting incident on May 14th, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) is now able to name the deceased male subject, with the permission of the family.

The Serious Crime Unit contacted the relatives of the deceased, and formal identification has taken place, with the subject being identified as 14-year-old Antorens Dorcely, also known locally as ‘Toto’.

During this challenging time, the RTCIPF also expressed its deepest condolences to the deceased’s family, and the force will continue to offer support through our Family Liaison Officer.

In light of this incident, the RTCIPF is urging the public to show respect and sensitivity towards the grieving family by refraining from sharing any footage of the deceased on social media.

Sharing such material can cause additional distress and harm. We emphasize the importance of empathy and respect for the family’s privacy as they navigate their grief. The death of any young person is a loss to the TCI.

The RTCIPF is committed and dedicated to conducting a thorough investigation and ensuring that all aspects of the incident are carefully examined and the findings are communicated transparently to the public.

A request has been made to an external police force to conduct a review of the incident. This is a routine procedure and intended to ensure an independent and objective review of the facts. The community’s cooperation and respect during this time are essential. The RTCIPF assures the public that we remain dedicated to upholding justice and accountability.

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InvestTCI facilitates the Development Agreement Between TCIG and Molo Hotel Group 

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – May 14th, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos Islands Government and Molo Hotel Group reached a pivotal juncture on Monday, May 13th, 2024, with the ceremonial signing of a development agreement at the Premier’s Office on Providenciales. The agreement, which received official Cabinet approval on March 13th, 2024, signifies a steadfast commitment to advancing the economic landscape of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Molo Hotel Group is a family-owned business, renowned for its distinguished portfolio of high-quality hotels worldwide. The development initiative encompasses the construction of three distinct IHG branded hotels: InterContinental Turks and Caicos, Kimpton Turks and Caicos and Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos. Scheduled for completion by 2027, each resort boasts a distinctive design from luxury to laidback sophistication spanning across the shores of Grace Bay Beach.

Kimpton Turks and Caicos – an epitome of luxury lifestyle living, will feature 192 guest rooms including three outdoor pools, a luxury spa and a fitness center. Additionally, seven dining options ranging from a beachfront restaurant to a rooftop bar.

Adjacent to the Kimpton, InterContinental Turks and Caicos will offer 59 classic luxury suites with panoramic ocean views. Mirroring its counterpart, this resort will offer an array of dining options and upscale facilities.

Steps away from the Intercontinental and Kimpton resorts, Hotel Indigo Turks and Caicos will embrace a sense of community and contemporary elegance, offering 56 bedrooms. The resort will feature an onsite restaurant, lobby bar, outdoor pool, and fitness room.

Beyond the realm of hospitality, this development agreement underscores the government’s commitment to fostering economic growth and enhancing employment opportunities in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Molo is partnering with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College (TCICC) to actively promote hospitality as a career choice and support in developing training programs, career fairs, seminars, workshops, and events to raise awareness about hospitality careers. Molo has committed to provide employment and apprentice opportunities to TCICC students and provide mentoring and practical on property training to students.

The signing event was graced by Hon. Charles Washington Missick, Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon. Jamell Robinson, Deputy Premier, Hon. Kyle Knowles, Minister of Public Safety and Utilities, Hon. Rachel Taylor, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture, Łukasz and Marcin Slominski, Owners of Molo, Ross Morrow, Managing Director Molo, Arik Kono, Vice President Upscale Development for IHG, Dr. Candice Williams, President and CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Angela Musgrove, InvestTCI CEO, Dr. Barbara Ambrister, Chairperson of the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Dr. Delores Stapleton- Harris, Vice President of Academic, Vocational and Student Affairs for the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, Mr. Kevin Baxter, Dean of Technical Vocational Education Training (TVET) and Sheryl McLaughlin, InvestTCI Investment Services Executive.

Commenting on the development agreement, Premier, Hon. Misick, stated “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing of IHG/Molo Hotels is a significant step towards a sustainable future for hospitality in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Three hotels, Kimpton, Intercontinental, and Hotel Indigo, will be introduced, enhancing our tourism product and creating employment opportunities.”

He further added, “Partnerships with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College and Turks and Caicos Islands Sports Commission are underway, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to developing human capital and elevating tourism offerings. This project will bring economic growth, embrace local talent, and enrich our economy.”

Additionally, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, CEO of Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, emphasized “This collaboration confirms our commitment to fostering economic growth and prosperity within our country. We have worked closely with Molo Hotel Group, and we are confident that this transformative project will further position the Turks and Caicos Islands as a premier destination for travel and investment. Much to our delight, it will also provide opportunities for engagement with our Community College and small business community.”

The Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, operating through its primary Investment Promotion

Agency, Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, remains committed to attracting and facilitating Foreign Direct Investments to the country by providing a comprehensive suite of services. Through strategic initiatives and targeted promotion, the agency catalyzes sustainable development, driving innovation and small business opportunities across various sectors of the economy.

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Crime

Male Charged with Robbery

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#TurksandCaicos, May 13, 2024 – Detectives of the Serious Crime Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have charged a man who allegedly stole a vehicle.

The accused, DANVANTE  BRISCO, 30,  of  Kew Town, Providenciales, was charged with:

  • One Count: Robbery
  • One Count: Taking Motor Vehicle Without Authority
  • One Count: Using Offensive Weapon to cause fear

Mr. BRISCO appeared in court today (May 13 ) and was granted bail of $7500.00 with one surety.

The matter was adjourned to July 05 for a Sufficiency Hearing.

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