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Tourists Leaving with Criminal Records;  TCI Judge calls for Attention to Worrying Trend  

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Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, August 18, 2023 – Experiential tourism is taking a negative twist for too many guest families as increasingly, Americans legally licensed to carry arms at home are being caught leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands with those guns, where to have them is against the law and carries a mandatory 12 years in prison.

Now, a local Judge is demanding that authorities pay attention to the trend and work assiduously to ensure information available to gun-owners from the TCI’s largest source market  – the United States of America – are aware that liberties there are not necessarily liberties here.

In recent weeks, the British Overseas territory has seen four tourists hauled before the courts, facing illegal firearms charges.

“His Lordship, The Hon Justice Chris Selochan sent a strong suggestive message with suggestive directions and observation, that there needs to be information or communication on the TCI Tourist Board website advising visitors/travelers of our laws in the TCI and that they cannot travel to the TCI with a firearm nor ammunition,” Wilkie Arthur, Magnetic Media Court Correspondent reported.

Arthur was in the Magistrate’s Court as the warning was issued during the hearing of Alec Nash, an American man who entered the country on vacation with his licensed firearm on the advice of his airline, but was arrested when he tried to leave with his US-registered weapon.

The minimum sentence for illegal gun possession in the Turks and Caicos Islands is 12 years imprisonment and following a very heated debate where the prosecution argued heavily for Nash to serve jail time in the TCI, the judge made the call to uphold a precedent where non-residents to TCI found with illegal guns and ammunition are convicted and fined, not jailed.

The judge had a warning for airlines.

“He also advised that all the airlines travelling to and from the TCI must be given some strong warning that they must tell travellers that they cannot come to the TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS with firearms and ammunition.”

The arrest of so many American tourists for possession of guns, which they are legally licensed to carry in their home country is also a bad look for tourism. Coming on holiday, the least of a vacationer’s expectation is that they would end up with a serious criminal record.

Nash, an insurance agent with no criminal priors, was charged with a $5,000 fine, which he paid, and swiftly left the country as the judge agreed his circumstances were exceptional. Had the prosecution won the case, the man could have spent years in prison because he was ill-informed about the country’s gun laws.

Similar occurrences were observed in the case of David Carrol O’Connor, who was found with 44 rounds of ammunition at the Providenciales International Airport. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on May 16th, 2023 to a fine of $6,670.00 or 90 days imprisonment.

Then there was Alex Guzman of Wyoming, who was found with a firearm and ammunition at the Providenciales International Airport. He pleaded guilty on June 2nd, 2023 and was sentenced to a fine of $3,500.00 or 60 days imprisonment.

Each tourist was held as they exited Turks and Caicos with their legally registered, US firearms packed in their bags.

It may also fall to visitors to do more research before bringing their weapons on holiday, especially given the severe penalty attached to illegal gun and ammo possession in the islands.

A Google search of “can I bring my gun to Turks and Caicos?” showed the ‘Visit Turks and Caicos’ website does have a warning that states, in order “to bring in firearms of any type (including spear guns and Hawaiian slings), you must have written approval from the Commissioner of Police.”

Yet, supporting links on this information are poorly positioned and therefore could be easily missed.

Moreover, if passengers feel they have been properly advised by their airline about how to travel with their US licensed weapon, they are far less likely to be inclined to even run a subsequent search.

As this article hits ‘the press’, there is a fourth matter before the TCI court where an American man was remanded to prison until a sufficiency hearing in October.  Michael Grim was arrested at the Providenciales International Airport for possession of ammunition.  Grim is expected to apply for bail.

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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