Connect with us


United States Works to Combat Gun Trafficking in the Caribbean Region



March 26, 2023 – The United States is satisfied that its work in tandem with Caribbean Law Enforcement Agencies is yielding good results, explaining it has devoted nearly $1 billion dollars to programs “designed to reduce illicit trafficking, increase citizen security, and prevent youth crime and violence.”

The reveal, which included a list of efforts specifically being undertaken in the region, came in response to media questions.  It also comes as regional countries appear to be enjoying increased involvement of US law enforcers in the fight against gun crimes and gun trafficking.

The US Department of Homeland Security just this month announced that there had been a significant boom in arms trafficking to Haiti from Florida.

The U.S. Embassy Nassau says it’s been a 12-year battle alongside Caribbean governments, trying to thwart traffickers who are finding ways to funnel guns into the region from the US.  However, there appears to be no reduction in the impact of gun-fueled crime for some of these smaller states.

Murders and violence is higher than ever before.

“We partner with law enforcement agencies across the region to take down the networks of those who profit from the illicit gun trade.  Our attachés from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in Jamaica, The Bahamas, and Trinidad support host country investigations into firearms trafficking cases.  In collaboration with their regional counterparts from the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) they enforce U.S. export laws and investigate firearms and ammunition smuggling operations that violate these laws.”

There is no country in the developed world which compares to the United States when it comes to gun violence and the lives it is claiming year in and year out.  The record for the US far outpaces all rich countries cited a BBC report; the only countries which can come even close are the poorest on the planet.

Another attempt at suing the United States, with its liberal approach to gun ownership and legal gun possession  is on right now; even cartel ridden-Mexico is fed up and has renewed its efforts to hold the US responsible for the human and social toll.  The Bahamas, other Caribbean countries including Trinidad and Tobago and now at least 16 US attorney generals have joined the suit, aimed at making the United States of America responsible for the proliferation of guns.

Still, the US Embassy lists these efforts as tangible support and evidence of the US being supportive of the mission to curb gun crime.

  • In September 2022, law enforcement officers from 19 Caribbean countries along with INTERPOL, CARICOM, World Customs Organization, ATF, and HSI cooperated in a joint operation that led to the seizure of 350 weapons, 3,300 rounds of ammunition, and 10 tons of cocaine.
  • In March 2022, through Operation CITADEL, HSI deployed agents and analysts throughout the Caribbean to bolster host country firearms smuggling investigations and intelligence sharing capabilities.  These efforts and multiple coordinated international sting operations resulted in 111 firearm related seizures including 446 firearms and 188,256 rounds of ammunition.

To counter illicit arms trafficking, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), with U.S. interagency support, inaugurated in November 2022 the Caribbean Crime Gun Intelligence Unit (CCGIU).  The CCGIUs main objective is to improve intelligence and information sharing among Caribbean and U.S. law enforcement agencies.  The CCGIU supports CARICOM member states with seizing firearms, related parts, and components as well as in identifying, charging, and prosecuting co-conspirators for firearms crimes.  The CCGIU works with U.S. and international law enforcement partners including ATF and HSI, UK National Crime Agency (NCA), INTERPOL, and the Regional Security System (RSS).

Over the past two weeks, HSI Nassau and CBP Preclearance Nassau have provided training to the Royal Bahamas Police Force Anti-Gang and Firearms Unit (AGFU) at Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau, Bahamas.  Two separate 16-hour training blocks provided a total of 12 participants with classroom instruction and practical experience to operate a new inspection device.  Effective utilization of this technology will help detect contraband concealed in parcels being shipped to The Bahamas and keep those guns off the streets.   AGFU participants included constables, inspectors, seamen, and officers from RBPF, Bahamas Customs, Bahamas Immigration, and Royal Bahamas Defense Force.

Our actions demonstrate the U.S. government’s commitment to helping The Bahamas and the Caribbean effectively address firearms trafficking.  We will continue our mission to remove illegal guns from the streets and work with our partners to address violent crime.



Over the last two weeks, HSI Nassau and CBP Preclearance Nassau provided training to the Royal Bahamas Police Force Anti-Gang and Firearms Unit (AGFU) at Lynden Pindling International Airport. This is a practical exercise, not a real-life gun seizure.

Continue Reading


Environmental Health Department Recognizes Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week 2023



Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands May 12, 2023 – Mosquito Awareness Week is fast approaching, and its an important initiative which was established with the approval of CARICOM in 2014 to raise awareness about the link between mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit and to strengthen initiatives aimed at eliminating mosquito breeding sites. Caribbean Mosquito Awareness Week will be observed this year from May 8th – 14th, 2023 under the theme “Small bite, big threat” and slogan “Beat the buzz: Prevent, Protect, Control”.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is present in the Turks and Caicos Islands, can spread diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika.

During the Month of May, the Environmental Health Department will be discussing ways to control vector populations and prevent the spread of diseases. This can include using insect repellent, eliminating breeding grounds, and properly disposing of waste.

Vector Control Awareness Month in the TCI is an extension of Mosquito Awareness Week, recognizing the threat posed by mosquitoes and is a reminder that we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of vector-borne diseases. Let’s work together to keep our communities healthy and safe.

For additional information, please contact the Environmental Health Department on 1649-338-2143/44.

Continue Reading


Social Services hosts Special Event for TCI Younger Ladies



By Dana Malcolm

Staff writer



#TurksandCaicos, May 2, 2023 – Another edition of the government’s mentorship program “The Lady in Me” was held this week. This time young ladies in Providenciales were the ones being treated. The program targets at-risk adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.

Photos of the beautiful setup shared with our news team show branded gifts waiting for the girls as they spent the two-day event sponsored by UNICEF focusing on how to cultivate healthy physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being.

Students from various schools arrived in uniforms immaculately pressed for the event put on by the Department of Social Services.

Acting Governor Anya Williams was in attendance and expressed faith that the initiative would cause true change.

“It was a pleasure to share with them my insight into the importance of making the right decisions in their youth, which will help to shape their futures and why they should see and value themselves as their greatest asset and to hear from them their goals, aspirations and the challenges that are currently being experienced by our younger generations,” she said.

In introducing the program the Government had said it was aiming to help participants: “examine the adolescence values, competencies, belief systems, inner feelings, motivations, critical thinking, and communication skills,” in order to “build their self-awareness and interpersonal relationships to strengthen their self-esteem— to create a sense of pride and enhance self-respect, self-worth, and self-esteem as they mature and improve personally and professionally.”

The Department said the event was expected to impact 100 girls.

Continue Reading


What’s at LJMMA? President explains snazzy equipment 



Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 



#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – Situated on a Cay of its own, the LJM Maritime Academy (LJMMA) is the Bahamas’ only school of its kind and with sponsorships from Campbell Shipping, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Carnival Cruises, Disney Cruises, and more it boasts an extremely well-equipped campus. The Turks and Caicos Community College (TCICC) is now partnering with the LJMMA to bring those amenities to TCI students through TCICC.

Brendamae Cleare, President of the institution, joined in on a maritime stakeholder meeting introducing the partnership to the Turks and Caicos’ residents on Tuesday, March 21, detailing everything that the LJMMA had to offer.

“We have– classrooms, workshops, a bridge simulator room, a crane simulator, an engine simulator and we also have a GMDSS simulator and radar simulator as well,” she explained.

The simulator building was commissioned to the tune of $30 million and is only in phase one. Also included alongside the fancy simulators, which give students hands-on experience with the boat engines and cranes that they will work with in the future, there are temporary administrative offices, libraries, nurse’s stations and more.

Other buildings on the Cay include, a firefighting simulator and the school even has lifeboat simulators, which mimic what it would be like pushing the lifeboat off the side of a huge vessel and maneuvering it in the ocean.

The Maritime Academy was birthed in 2011 when executives at Campbell Shipping including Lowell J. Mortimer (which is the only Bahamian-owned shipping company Cleare says), realized that there were no Bahamians working on their ships and were determined to change that.

“We had the college of the Bahamas, which is now the University of the Bahamas. We had a technical and vocational institution. We had banking and tourism colleges, but nothing like maritime but [we said] why not maritime?”

And the LJMMA so was born, named after its founder Mortimer. In its first year, it fielded over 180 applications and accepted just over 40 students. It is semi-regimented, which means strict rules for students, just as they would have to abide by on vessels.

The institution is accredited by the National Accreditation and Equivalency Council of the Bahamas, the Bahamas Maritime Authority, the Institute of Materials, Minerals, Mining and others.

Cleare said the vision of the school was to become a globally recognized institution of excellence, in maritime education and training.

Continue Reading