By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, June 6, 2023 – The momentum and support is growing for the international commemoration of Gun Violence Awareness Day in the Turks and Caicos Islands; for a third year Sharla Walkin and those who have partnered with her has ensured there was a time of reflection and open grievance for the scores of people killed as a result of gun violence.
Walkin, whose brother Ervin Walkin was shot several times in the back as he walked on Albacore Close in Providenciales in 2018, was just 27 years old and left behind a devastated family including two sons. His sister was shattered when she got the call, struggled to sleep after the savage way her “humble” brother was killed but found a way to cope. Walkin tells the story that she found out about a day to remember as a community and as a nation and put plans in motion to commemorate Gun Violence Awareness Day in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
That was in 2021.
In picking up the pieces of her life, Ms. Walkin stood initially with just a few people to mark the moment on the first Friday in June. Three years later and the Turks and Caicos event has attracted more victims’ relatives, prominent members of society and senior leaders of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police.
“To the families, friends, and loved ones gathered here, we are here for you; we will continue to be with you. I wish to say to you that I am sorry for your loss, I am sorry for the years of pain that you have endured. I am sorry for the fact that there are too many young people turning to a life of crime. Even though sorry will not bring your loved ones back, I empathize with you. The tears you shed also wet our faces too often,” said Rodney Adams, Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The Turks and Caicos Islands has seen a dramatic escalation in gun crimes with losses far beyond what anyone could have imagined for the cluster of close-knit islands, which enjoyed almost surreal levels of peace. Now, with consecutive years of record breaking murder figures and a per capita homicide rate that puts the TCI at the top of the heap, it stands with CARICOM in sounding the alarm about the devastating loss in human lives due largely to the overwhelming surge in gun trafficking flowing from the United States into the islands; which ‘do not manufacture weapons.’
The US has become a stronger ally in recent years, stopping several gun shipments from its shores including one such interception to the TCI, thwarted in November 2022.
Gun Violence, Wear Orange Day is a relevant reminder and was again this year held in the Memorial Garden of the Turks and Caicos National Trust managed, Cheshire Hall Plantation.
The Royal TCI Police provided photographs of the support drawn to the tranquil spot to reflect as a community on the heavy price being paid due to the infiltration and savage use of illegal firearms.
Deputy Commissioner Adams, in addressing the gathering which included the wife of the late, Rev Percy Williams, who was gunned down inside his Blue Hills home in another shocking, unprovoked attack in 2020, said about the investigations “ into the murders of your loved ones are ongoing and we continue in our sustained efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
In the United States is where the day was born, following a random shooting that took the life of a little Chicago girl in 2013. Hadiya Pendleton, a 15 year old honour student had just been part of a parade with the ushering in of second term president, Barack Obama a week prior, when she was shot at a playground in her hometown.
Orange is the colour selected because it is also the colour worn by hunters to protect themselves from becoming a target and shot, when out on hunting expeditions.
For Sharla, who also uses her business, Healing Haven to remember her brother, a series of beautiful bracelets have been designed, featuring orange jade and a message of love for her lost brother.
“If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”
She explained, “I think a lot of people thought I was doing it only for my brother, he was the reason I started but I also wanted to acknowledge because we have quite a few young men that we lost to Gun violence and even young women.”
Header: Relatives of the deceased victims join hands and sing “Bind Us Together”.
1st insert: The widow of Percy Williams chats with DCP Rodney Adams. Williams was shot dead on May 03rd, 2020, at his Blue Hills, Providenciales home.
2nd insert: Nadidja Parker reads the names of murdered victims.
Airport Investor Deadline Extended, says TCIAA
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – Bidders are showing interest in the Providenciales Airport Redevelopment Project as the deadline for pre-qualification has been extended at the request of potential investors, according to the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA).
In a September 19th update, the TCIAA revealed that to allow adequate time for the submission of applications, the closing date has been extended from Wednesday, 27th of September 2023 to Wednesday, the 18th of October 2023.
The Government is hoping to find an investor willing to front the $360 million cost to redevelop the airport within five years and subsequently manage it and its revenue.
The investment to expand the terminal has also been estimated at $400 million.
No comment has yet been shared by TCIG on the level of interest in the project since it opened in August, but the Government had begun to receive unsolicited drafts from multiple investors before they had even decided on the structure of the redevelopment which is to be a Public Private Partnership.
The redevelopment is a necessary step in the Turks and Caicos’ tourism evolution according to consultants as the country prepares for a sustained increase in travelers.
The Government has set an ambitious timeline for the project with contracts to be signed by early 2024.
Provo Town Hall Meetings canceled
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – The six National Town Hall meetings set for Providenciales this month have been postponed until further notice.
Announced on August 30th, the meetings came as the Government was put on blast for not communicating effectively enough with residents.
The postponed meetings were supposed to be as follows:
Five Cays — 20th September;
Wheeland — 21st September;
Cheshire Hall —22nd September;
The Bight — 25th September;
Blue Hills — 26th September And ;
Leeward And Long Bay —27th September
Providenciales residents, especially in Five Cays, have been clamoring for a meeting with the elected representatives to talk about several matters, first and foremost the criminal activity that disproportionately affects the densely populated island.
There was no indication whether other government agencies including the police, would be on hand to answer questions during the meetings.
The meetings for the rest of the country listed for October will run as normal.
TCI attends the 25th Annual Caribbean Postal Union Conference & 19th Caribbean Council of Ministers of Postal Affairs Meeting held in Kingston, Jamaica
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – The Minister of Home Affairs, Public Safety and Utilities, the Honourable Otis C. Morris led a four-member delegation to Kingston, Jamaica for the 25th Annual Caribbean Postal Union’s (CPU) Conference and 19th Caribbean Council of Ministers of Postal Affairs Meeting, which was held from 10th – 15th September 2023, under the theme: “The CPU at 25: Evolving for Economic Sustainability”.
The opening ceremony which was held on Monday, 11th September 2023 was attended by ministers with responsibility for post, permanent secretaries, postmasters general from around the Caribbean, as well as representatives of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and other regional and international postal officials.
The keynote speaker for the event was Senator the Honourable Dr. Dana Morris Dixon, Minister without Portfolio, Office of the Prime Minister responsible for with responsibility for Skills and Digital Transformation. She noted the post office remains relevant and plays a crucial economic role in many Caribbean societies. The gathering of so many practitioners in the industry was a testament to their commitment to making postal services throughout the Caribbean more efficient and competitive.
Other areas of focus during the conference included:
- The importance of public partnerships in creating an e-commerce infrastructure, to stimulate economic sustainability.
- Best practices and initiatives throughout the Caribbean
- Technology and CARICOM-CPU cooperation on how to access modern postal technology.
- Growth of the country’s economy while helping citizens and protecting the environment
- Achievement of United Nation’s sustainability development goals
Commenting on the conference, the Hon. Otis Morris stated that it was a very good opportunity to meet as Caribbean ministers and postmasters general to discuss challenges and as well as opportunities for collaboration in the area of postal services.
He recognised that there remains a need for the improvement of services within the post office as well as the exploration of new goods and services.
He concluded by thanking the Postmaster General and her team for their continued work in the area of post in the TCI and pledged his continued support to the Postmaster and her team.
Postmaster General of the Turks and Caicos Islands Mrs. Elizabeth James, noted: “I am happy that I was able to network with my colleagues from across the Caribbean to confront common issues and charter initiatives to deal with these issues which are faced by postal services regionally and internationally”.
The Postmaster thanked the CPU for hosting the conference and the Ministry of Public Safety and Utilities for making her attendance possible.
The delegation returned to the Turks and Caicos Islands on 16th September 2023.
FIND US ON FACEBOOK
News1 week ago
Grand Turk Mother put in Prison; charged with possession of bullet
News1 week ago
TCI Records First Quarter of Negative Growth Throne Speech reveals
Bahamas News1 week ago
PM Davis: Botswana State Visit is ‘the growth of a deeply rooted friendship’
News1 day ago
Carnival cruise port is open to others Cruise ships — Management
News24 hours ago
Police say DNA confirmed identity of headless body
Bahamas News6 days ago
Royal Caribbean to open adults only private island destination
Bahamas News6 days ago
OFFICERS ATTEND NATIONAL DAY OF BRAZIL CELEBRATION
Bahamas News1 week ago
Botswana and The Bahamas ink MOU