By Dana Malcolm and Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, July 3, 2023 – There are gangs in the Turks and Caicos, some headed by foreigners, some headed by our own locals, trafficking in guns and killing rivals in broad daylight; and the police have a good idea of who is running them but the public has been left in the dark; the question is why?
It was in October 2022 that then governor Nigel Dakin revealed, in an explosive speech to the House of Assembly, that the country not only had well established gangs with clearly defined leaders, but the police were monitoring them and knew of the top ‘lieutenants’.
These set of facts raise the question of why the public has not been clued in, essentially allowing these people to keep their anonymity as they continue to operate criminal enterprises from the shadows.
No gang names, suspected frequented areas or recruitment patterns have been released to the residents of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Sharing available information with the public regarding any identifying markers, sigils, colours, clothing or signs associated with the gangs in the Turks and Caicos has, according to some experts, the potential to increase surveillance of these criminal organizations exponentially.
“Police officers have unique knowledge of — and access to — individual citizens, including at-risk youth. Although the police are already engaged in a large number of prevention activities, they should be looking for opportunities to collaborate with other agencies and groups in the community,” says the US National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
While many do, not all gangs have identifying markers, regardless, the NIJ explains how gangs are formed and how police (and residents) can throw a wrench in this system even without physical signs.
They say gang-joining is the problem that fuels gangs and stopping this can bring the whole organization to its knees. An effective way of stopping gang recruitment is through ‘collective efficacy’ which is clear partnership between agencies to work against gangs, the NIJ reveals .
“The evidence is clear that neighbourhoods and communities with high collective efficacy have the ability to regulate and control the behaviour of their juveniles,” the organization maintained.
But for that to happen residents must be clued in. This starts with admitting there is a problem and sharing information.
It has taken years for the Royal TCI Police to even declare that gangs have strongholds in the island of Providenciales.
“The police should play a key role in providing a sober, realistic assessment of any gang problem— or potential gang problem — sometimes school and elected officials engage in denial at the early stages of a gang problem. This only allows things to get worse, increasing the potential that more kids will be recruited into a gang,” the report contends.
The gang problem in the Turks and Caicos did not spring up overnight, in fact years prior, authorities had rejected the idea that criminal gangs were forming under their noses.
As recently as 2018, Rodney Adams, Assistant Commissioner of Police maintained that the TCI had no gangs. The TCI Sun quotes him as saying:
“Certainly, as far as we are concerned, there will be no gangs in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Plain and simple— When you look at a gang from a global perspective, they have leaders, proper networking in place and that sort of thing. In the TCI we have a number of people that gather together as groups and talk about turfs, be it the ‘Wheeland Boys’, ‘Five Cays’ and so on. And as far as we are concerned, they have not developed to that (gangster) stage.”
That spiel ended with a promise not to let these little ‘gatherings’ grow into true gangs. Now 5 years later an anti-gang task force has had to be flown in from the UK after a year of violence so intense it made international headlines. Nearly all of it has been attributed to gangs with individuals like Gari Charles and Brandon Rahming emerging as gang leaders.
The law has also been amended to say that any combination of two or more persons whether formally or informally organised who engage in gang related activity are considered a ‘gang’.
Still the public is walking blind.
Following the killings in 2022 there has been no sustained effort either from the Department of Social Services to educate parents and teachers on what to look for in their children and students that indicate possible growing gang affiliation. The vast majority of victims of violence and perpetrators of gun and drug offences in the TCI continue to be young men, in far too many cases, teens.
Based on expert advice, now is the time for authorities to include and educate the community if they expect to seriously tackle the issue of gangs in the country and stifle any possible recurrence of the deadly 2022 year.
New Turks & Caicos Islands Police Force Commissioner announced by Governor
Her Excellency The Governor has today announced Mr. Edvin Martin as the next Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF). The appointment follows a rigorous open recruitment campaign that included a stakeholder the panel, a separate community panel, and consultation with the Hon. Premier Charles Washington Misick.
Commenting on the appointment, the Governor said: “Following a competitive recruitment process, I have appointed Mr. Edvin Martin as the next Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force. Mr. Martin brings a strong set of leadership skills and regional operational experience, having led the Royal Grenada Police Force. With a distinguished career and commitment to public safety, I am confident that Mr. Martin will lead our force with integrity, innovation, and a firm focus on building trust with communities across our islands. I would like to thank Commissioner Trevor Botting for his dedicated service to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands over the last six years.”
Commenting on his appointment, Mr Martin said: “It is with excitement, I accept this prestigious position to lead the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) as its Commissioner of Police. I look forward with optimism to leading the men and women of the RTCIPF in confronting the law enforcement challenges and applying practical, proactive strategies to ensure the safety and security of all citizens and visitors to the shores of Turks and Caicos Islands. I am honoured to take forward this tremendous opportunity to serve the people of this beautiful nation by leading the police force into an era of modern policing. I am fully aware of the dynamic, complex, diverse, and multi-dimensional nature of the local and global criminogenic environment. This era demands a police force that must ensure safety and security by working collaboratively with colleague officers, and stakeholders to ensure that communities are free of the fear of crime. Be assured, I am committed to
delivering on this intention.”
Mr. Martin was, until June 2023, the Chief of Police of the Royal Grenada Police Force. He served in that role for five years and in the police force for 37 years. He is currently serving as the lead of the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit as part of the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security. He is a former President of the Association of Caribbean Commissioners of Police and obtained an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Durham University in 2016, where he studied under the UK Chevening Scholarship program.
Mr. Martin will take up his post at the beginning of February 2024.
Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit Partners with RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. and CIBC FirstCaribbean to host Financial Literacy for MSMEs Training
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, December 5th, 2023 – Invest Turks and Caicos’ Business Support Unit, in conjunction with partners RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. and CIBC FirstCaribbean, successfully conducted a comprehensive Financial Literacy for MSMEs Training at the Blue Haven Resort on November 28th, 2023. This initiative aimed to empower business owners with essential insights into financial statements, the significance of meticulous recordkeeping, and the specific requirements outlined by leading banks for prospective commercial clients. Attended by fifteen participants comprising both established business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, the session proved to be a pivotal learning experience.
Ms. Shanice Williams, the proprietor of LLS Consulting, expressed her appreciation, stating, “I extend my gratitude for putting together an exceptional training session. The presenters delivered a wealth of well-digested information that has proven highly valuable for me and my recently established business. I’m delighted to have been part of this and eagerly anticipate future sessions.”
Mrs. Nancy Missick-Rolle, CEO of Executive Tours, shared her positive experience, “I found the training very beneficial for improving my financial literacy. The presenters were well-versed and articulate in their delivery, making the material relatable and extremely practical. The BSU did an excellent job managing the event and advising the group of the programs and services available for assistance.”
Ms. Shanice Swann, Interim Branch, and Country Manager at RBC (Royal Bank) Bahamas Ltd. expressed her pleasure in facilitating the training seminar. She stated, “It was a pleasure to facilitate a training seminar on the topic of financial statements in conjunction with the Business Support Unit at Invest TCI. This session was an enriching experience that entailed engaging with vibrant small and medium-sized businesses within the islands and cherishing their invaluable feedback on the topic. A popular quote that sticks with me is, ‘Success is not always about greatness, but it is contingent on consistency.’ The participation of business owners in seminars like these solidifies their unwavering dedication to sculpting a consistent path toward success.”
Curley Been, Manager, Business Banking, CIBC FirstCaribbean, stated, “Participating in the Financial Literacy for MSMEs on November 28th, 2023, was truly enjoyable. In our dynamic economy, there are more opportunities than ever for individuals to become business owners and contribute to TCI’s growth. Understanding how to navigate this entrepreneurial journey, secure financing, and achieve growth is crucial for business success. As a representative of CIBC FirstCaribbean, I felt honored to present on the topic of ‘Making Your Business Bankable’ for both existing self-employed individuals and upcoming new business owners. We trust that the insights shared were beneficial to all attendees and eagerly anticipate future collaborations with InvestTCI on upcoming events.”
Mrs. Anissa Adderley, Director of the Business Support Unit, underscored the significance of partnerships between financial institutions and MSMEs. She stated, “The importance of partnerships between financial institutions and MSMEs cannot be underestimated. We are delighted to have partnered with RBC and CIBC FirstCaribbean to provide our MSMEs with this informative, interactive, and impactful training that will benefit their businesses and help them make more informed business decisions. MSMEs must prioritize financial education to allow them to reap the maximum benefits for both their businesses and the wider economy. MSMEs are the lifeline of our economy, and ensuring that they are resilient and sustainable is our core objective.”
The BSU invites business owners to take advantage of its face-to-face and e-learning training programs. The training is offered free of charge, and the information provided is vital to ensuring the success of their businesses. For further details, please contact the BSU at (649) 338-4787 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Combined Team of Ministry of Health and TCI Hospital personnel attend United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Workshop in Anguilla.
#TurksandCaicos, December 10, 2023 – A combined team of Ministry of Health and Human Services (MoHHS) and TCI Hospital personnel recently represented the Turks and Caicos Islands at a three-day UKHSA AMS Workshop, which was held in Anguilla between November 29th and December 1st, 2023. The team included Mrs. Winsome Hayles-Parker – Lead Medical Technologist in Microbiology, TCI Hospital, Mr. Andre Morgan – National Pharmacist, MoHHS and Ms. Arlene Siebs – Director of the National Public Health Laboratory, MoHHS. The workshop was well attended by physicians, pharmacists and laboratory personnel who hailed from the United Kingdom, St. Helena, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman and Montserrat.
The workshop involved both laboratory and non-laboratory sessions. The laboratory sessions were practical sessions that were geared toward the diagnostic technologies used by the various UKOTs in the detection of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) pathogens and the use of BioFire in diagnostics. Most territories are now equipped with the BioFire Assay Technology, which forms part of the laboratory setup for molecular resistance markers.
The non-laboratory sessions included parallel professional development sessions on topics including AMS, the use of the MicroGuide antibiotic prescribing App, antibiotic surveillance, situational analysis of AMS in the UKOTs and AMS accreditation. Importantly, the attendees were able to discuss case presentations on clinical management and infection prevention and control.
In providing comments, Ms. Siebs stated, “Medical Laboratory Scientists must continue to improve their skills and competency as we work together in combatting AMR through laboratory services. I was thrilled at having the opportunity to compare disc susceptibility testing with automated analysers for the detection of antimicrobial resistance in microorganisms.”
Mrs. Hayles-Parker believes that “the information gathered will be of value in helping us in the TCI to uphold the standards on AMS and in the long term with the fight against AMR. As we move forward as change agents, we are better able to assist with safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people of the TCI.”
Mr. Morgan concluded that “the three-day workshop was a major success and I am excited to utilise the information acquired in strengthening the TCI’s National Action Plan for Antimicrobial Resistance, which will, in turn, develop and strengthen antimicrobial stewardship in the Turks and Caicos Islands. I hope that these advances will continue to safeguard against this emerging AMR global threat by implementing strategies that will ensure sustainable pharmaceutical care for the present and future.”
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