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Grand Turk drops in Rank for Cruising, Port profits down; Still Optimism High after major meeting with Carnival

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#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.

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STATEMENT FROM THE HONOURABLE C. WASHINGTON MISICK, PREMIER TURKS AND CAICOS GOVERNMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, May 22, 2024 – As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I assure our American friends that the Turks and Caicos Islands prioritizes hospitality, cultural exchange, and mutual respect.  You will find our doors open and our hearts eager to share the warmth and beauty of our homeland.  We value the trust and confidence travelers from around the world place in us when they choose the Turks and Caicos Islands as their destination.  Transparency and accountability are paramount in our operations, ensuring that our decisions are made lawfully and in the best interests of all residents and visitors.

The Turks & Caicos Islands welcome over one million visitors each year, more than half of whom are American.

Respect for the rule of law and an independent judiciary are key tenants of our justice system, and all persons are equal in the eyes of the law.  Judges are permitted to use their discretion in sentencing individuals who have been convicted of violating our Firearms law. In fact, in cases that occurred prior to the five cases that have generated media coverage, the mandatory 12-year minimum sentence has never been imposed by the Court because judges determined in each case that exceptional circumstances warranted shorter sentences.

Our justice system is designed to uphold the rights and freedoms of all individuals, regardless of their place of origin, while maintaining the security and integrity of our Islands.  Our judicial and law enforcement institutions are dedicated to impartiality and consistency in enforcing our laws.

Recent events have underscored the importance of adhering to the principles of justice and accountability.  Let me be clear: In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the law stands firm and applies to everyone equally, without exception.  Our commitment to the rule of law is unwavering and remains a cornerstone of our democratic values.

We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all citizens, residents and visitors.

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EXCLUSIVE!  Police black CID Vehicle shot up by bandits in Five Cays

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Wilkie Arthur

Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 15, 2024 – It was an uneasy night on Tuesday May 14 for some residents of Five Cays, Providenciales owing to continuous, serious fire power with gun shots blaring in various areas of the community.

Some say they heard shots in Granny Hill and reported a man walking around with a gun, randomly shooting at unidentifiable targets. Some say shots were heard behind the Enid Capron Primary School.  Some say they heard gun shot sounds coming from a residential area as well.

The most compelling accounts, however, were on reported events in another area called “The Wells”; a community in the depths of Five Cays and South Dock.

Criminals took on law enforcement in a gun battle involving the armored truck and a CID vehicle.

No members of the Royal TCI Police were hit.

Not the same for the other side.  One person was hit, a young man not known to police and it’s not clear if he was one of the men shooting at the police or an innocently caught in the crossfire.

The man was arrested as a possible suspect.  He is also in hospital with an “entrance and exit” gunshot wound.

During the shootout in The Wells, the CID vehicle was shot at repeatedly, disabling its movement as gunfire damaged the engine. Concerning to us, these shootings were at different times and locations but came in rapid succession; one right after the other, I was told.

Most described the sounds as coming “from some big guns.”

Police the morning after allowed me in to see up close.

Video, photos feature my EXCLUSIVE, close-up look at the damage done by criminals; it is clear high powered rifles were used by these suspects still at large.

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Charred Remains Found in Back Seat of Completely Burnt Vehicle

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – A gruesome discovery was made around midday today (Sunday, May 19th, 2024) when police and fire rescue teams responded to a call at a location on Blue Hills Back Road, off Millennium Highway. The area, situated next to the Fortis Sub-Station, is accessible via a long, secluded dirt road.

Upon arrival, authorities found a vehicle completely engulfed in flames. The vehicle was later removed by police after being alerted by an anonymous source to its burnt-out location. Local residents indicated that the fire had been ignited around 2-3 a.m. earlier that morning, but authorities were not notified until later in the day.

Residents could not provide details about the individual inside the vehicle or even discern its color due to the extensive damage caused by the fire. Videos of the discovery location are available, but footage of the vehicle itself will be provided once it has been located. The vehicle was reportedly still burning when police arrived at the scene.

Official Royal TCI Police Report:

Media Release – May 19th, 2024: Active Investigation Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) are currently on the scene of a vehicle fire in the Blue Hills, Providenciales area. Acting on received information, officers arrived at the location along North Side Close and discovered a burnt vehicle with what appeared to be a body inside.
The RTCIPF is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances of this incident. As this is an active investigation, more details will be provided to the public as they become available.

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