By Wilkie Arthur
Freelance Court Reporter
#TurksandCaicos, July 17, 2023 – LUIS GUTIERREZ ROSARIO, the 24 year old Dominican man residing in Grand Turk who allegedly killed a 33 year old Jamaican chef, Stephen Asino Baker appeared before the Hon Chief Justice Mable Agyemang on the charge of murder.
Rosario’s sufficiency hearing proceeding was held on July 7th, 2023, the judge came back with a decision on the trial by July 12 and determined there is a case to be heard in the January stabbing of Baker.
The accused is represented by senior defence counsel Mr. Noel Skippings and for the office of the director of public prosecution, was, Public prosecutor Ms Sophia Sandy-Smith.
At the sufficiency hearing on Friday, Mr. Skippings raised objections to the sufficiency of the evidence with a view of having the matter dismissed against his client.
Ms. Sandy-Smith put forward her arguments and evidence on the papers in support of the Crown’s case.
The Hon Chief Justice reserved her decision for Wednesday 12th July, 2023. On that date, the matter was called again and the accused was committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court.
The CJ found there was evidence to send him to trial for the homicide that took place in Palm Grove, Grand Turk on January 15, 2023.
Baker, 33 was at the time employed at the Grand Turk Cruise Center at Margaritaville.
Rosario has been remanded since May 9, 2023.
Grand Turk drops in Rank for Cruising, Port profits down; Still Optimism High after major meeting with Carnival
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – A Tuesday night Town Hall meeting with Carnival Cruises has left Grand Turk residents feeling hopeful, even though concerning statistics were revealed according to attendees who spoke with Magnetic Media.
The Grand Turk Cruise Centre is apparently not as profitable, and the Grand Turk Port, we are told, has dropped out of the top 10 ports in terms of positive customer experience. Contributing to that rating drop are incidents involving illicit drugs and fighting.
Carnival, as the country’s major cruise partner, brings the vast majority of tourists into the Turks and Caicos Islands; they’re coming in via the Grand Turk Cruise Center. A recurring complaint from tourists for years has been the lack of activities and excursions for residents when they arrive in the country’s capital.
Aimed at discussing an increase in onshore activities for guests and bumping up the port rating, the well-attended town meeting was described by residents as “the most engaged and informative meeting involving Carnival top brass and high-level government officials.”
The Office of the Premier, on Wednesday reported, “Yesterday evening, the Premier, Honourable Charles Washington Misick, along with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG), Carnival Corporation & plc, Grand Turk Cruise Centre (GTCC), and partners hosted an engaging town hall meeting with citizens and GTCC stakeholders. The crux of the town hall event was to address the impact of the Grand Turk Cruise Centre on Grand Turk.
The panellists provided thorough insights on future GTCC developments, including a partnership between the TCIG and the Carnival Corporation to implement a sustainable recycling program. They also advocated for the partnership with citizens to see further GTCC and infrastructural improvement. They highlighted business opportunities for locals to engage with Carnival to see an increase in revenue and guest satisfaction for the island of Grand Turk.
Citizens who attended were allowed to interact with the panellists by asking further questions on the presentations, expressing their concerns, and proposing valuable feedback and ideas on issues raised.”
Not only did Carnival Cruise Line executives confirm over 1.1 million visitors to Grand Turk in 2024, our news team was told the representatives appeared determined to make sure locals benefitted.
“There appears to be genuine concern for enhancing the relationship with vendors and providing additional auxiliary services. They emphasized that the goal is not to keep guests from exploring the town,” one resident explained.
The company now wants more vendors stationed at the Downtown Carnival Center. It will come at a cost to locals but that fee is described as ‘nominal’.
Managing public beach access is properly, once again, being assessed as Carnival revealed they are working with the Government to increase security solutions including sniffer dogs which can detect contraband.
A recycling initiative is also on the table to help rid the quaint oceanside town of the waste created by tourism. It was suggested that empty shipping containers on cargo ships heading back to the US could be utilized to ferry out the accumulated rubbish.
We are told several politicians and concerned citizens fielded important questions to the representatives ranging from better coordination of ship schedules to maintaining the cleanliness of beaches.
Residents told us that though some were skeptical about the promises made during the gathering, an air of optimism could be felt.
U.S. Embassy UPDATES Travel Advisory, Warning against taking Guns & Ammo to TCI
By Deandrea Hamilton
#TurksandCaicos, September 4, 2023 – After judges and attorneys in the Turks and Caicos vocalized their concern over the number of American tourists arrested for breach of firearms laws, there comes a notable change in the Travel Advice from the US Embassy, based in Nassau, Bahamas.
Too many arrests and too many convictions of American visitors to Turks and Caicos over guns and ammunition, including a man, who was this week sentenced to 8 months in prison, have resulted in a sensible notice.
“To avoid U.S. citizens facing arrest in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for bringing firearms, ammunition, or other weapons into the country, U.S. Embassy Nassau updated the TCI Travel.State.Gov page to reflect the criminal penalties attached to traveling unlawfully with such weapons,” said a media release issued on Friday September 22.
The advice is clearly warning US citizens not to take their guns and ammo into the TCI, where unless you are licensed by local law enforcement, it is illegal with a mandatory jail term of 12 years.
In late March, David O’Connor was found with 44 rounds of ammunition while exiting the Turks and Caicos Islands. In May, O’Connor was sentenced and fined between five to six thousands
Most recently, the defendant was not so fortunate and in this case was sentenced to time in Grand Turk Prison. Michael Grim was arrested in early August, caught at the airport exiting with 20 rounds of ammunition. He was on Monday September 19, sentenced to eight months in prison with his parents looking on in the courtroom.
It is expected further action would come in defence of Grim; possibly an appeal.
Now, the United States, which is partnered with the Caribbean islands in efforts to curb firearms movement into the countries has outlined, what travellers to the TCI need to keep in mind, even if they are legal gun owners in the United States.
“… that declaring a weapon in your luggage with an airline carrier does not grant permission to bring the weapon into TCI and will result in arrest.”
A tab on the Travel.Gov.State website is also newly created to support giving accurate information to travellers to the TCI.
Interestingly, the U.S. Embassy also warns that if travellers disregard the advice and are arrested in the Turks and Caicos on firearms offences, they will not be able to get them out of trouble.
“If a U.S. citizen illegally brings a firearm or ammunition into TCI, U.S. Embassy Nassau will not be able to secure their release from custody. The website reminds U.S. citizens that all foreign nationals are subject to TCI laws and must follow local law enforcement procedures.
However, if you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately.”
Ministry of Immigration and Border Services and the Labour Tribunal visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
#TurksandCaicos, September 24, 2023 – The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services and the Labour Tribunal visited Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland between the 4th to 8th September 2023. The Ministry was represented by Deputy Permanent Secretary Mr. Pascal Bacchus and Madam President, Mrs. M. Doreen Quelch Missick represented the Labour Tribunal.
This initiative was geared towards exposing the TCI to the workings of the Labour Tribunal in different jurisdictions, primarily, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. For FY 23-34, training of staff was identified as one of the Key Program Strategies of the Ministry and as such, this exposure provided the opportunity for participants to observe best practices, standards and policies in employment dispute resolution.
A number of key similarities and differences were observed in both jurisdictions. Moreover, a number of nuances were observed which can enhance the TCI commitment to resolving disputes equitably. All jurisdictions have provisions to resolve disputes through conciliation before reaching the Labour Tribunal stage. However, Northern Ireland has an additional layer in their dispute resolution mechanism and that is Judicial Mediation. It is envisaged that these observed best practices will be adopted and implemented to form part of the decent work agenda ensuring social justice for all. Participants were also given the opportunity to observe live Labour Tribunal Matters being adjudicated upon.
The agencies visited were;
- Labour Relations Agency – Northern Ireland
- Office of the Industrial Tribunals and Fair Employment Tribunal – Northern Ireland
- Equality Commission – Northern Ireland
- Workplace Relations Commission – Republic of Ireland
- Law Centre – Northern Ireland
Commenting on this visit and collaboration, Minister for Immigration and Border Services with responsibilities for the Labour Tribunal Hon. Arlington Chuck Musgrove opined, “My Ministry and Government continues to upskill staff to ensure better service delivery to our citizens and those who work and reside among us. As our country continues to grow and develop, there will always be disputes between employers and employees. Hence, both the collaboration and training are timely, to ensure that disputes are resolved to the highest standards and to ensure equity for all involved.”
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