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Targeted Attack; Three Shot, Two Dead

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Deandrea Hamilton, Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, October 23, 2023 – The double homicide of Thursday afternoon was a “targeted” incident, according to the national security leaders of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Daleeni Daniel-Selveratnam, TCI Governor and Rodney Adams, Acting Police Commissioner.  The distinction of the bold daytime shooting is crucial because it was yet another spray of gunfire erupting in a highly trafficked area for residents and tourists.

In a Friday (October 20) joint statement Daniel-Selveratnam and Adams confirmed that it was Jumilla Isma, 24 and Mike Forbes, 19 who were gunned down in a vehicle as they approached the Providenciales International Airport terminal around 5:52pm.

“Based on our preliminary investigation, this was a targeted incident,” said Rodney Adams.

The scene, once news broke of the shooting, was crowded with police vehicles, heavily armed officers and residents who had come to see if what they were hearing was true.

It was a grizzly sight. Bodies, blood, car doors of a silver coloured Honda Fit were flung open and early reports that there were two dead, at least one other man injured.

Bone-chilling shrills and screams in the distance could be heard from loved ones.  One woman, described as Jumilla’s sisters was speaking to their mother on cell phone, delivering news of the young man’s death.

“…Jim on the ground Mummy. (loud sobbing) Mummy dat’s Jim!!!!  (woman pacing) Mummy, Jim DEAD!!!”

It was clearly an ambush and many speaking off-the-record to Magnetic Media informed, young Jumilla Isma was a wanted man.  Not by TCI Police, but by others who had vowed payback for crimes allegedly committed by the 24-year-old; heartless crimes, which they believed, he had managed to outrun even in the courtroom.

A widely circulated and suspicious cell phone video showed an unsuspecting Isma earlier on Thursday leaving the airport terminal area wearing a blue shirt, dark pants and his long dreadlocks wrapped; he had just checked-in for a British Airways flight, our news organization was informed; that flight is scheduled for a 6:43 p.m. departure from the PLS.

It is unknown who was filming the man’s movements and why he left the airport, but Jumilla Isma upon return to board that plane, would face a fatal interception. Yards away from the spot where he was last caught on camera alive and well, he would die.  There was a mixture of reactions; tremendous grief for loved ones and unbridled joy for others who believed the young man got what he deserved.

Again, captured on cell phone, was a sizeable crowd of undistinguishable people and voices clearly celebrating as they filmed the loud cheering and the British Airways plane in the evening sky, departing Providenciales without Isma as a passenger.  Most of the shouts were in Creole.

But the Governor is incensed by the brazen action.

“I am appalled at the nature of yesterday’s fatal incident. Such disregard for human life causes irreparable damage and consequential impact to the safety and security of our islands. I want to reassure the public of the multi-agency enforcement efforts to protect and secure our communities. I urge anyone with information to contact the police to assist their investigations to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said the Governor.

The fatal shooting, so near the airport also created a disruptive detour and a frightening situation for those working there.

Magnetic Media observed tourists and residents being denied entry to the airport, as the only way to the terminal meant a drive through the crime scene.  We are told it resulted in travellers either missing flights or being delayed.

Workers at the PLS were also shaken, many abandoned their work stations and hid out once they heard the barrage of bullets.

DCP Rodney Adams, Acting TCI Police Commissioner who was captured in cell phone video at the airport after the shooting of the three men, in the statement issued on Friday said he wants video of the crime if you have it. Reach out to the SCU or the Serious Crime Unit at 649-232-8752.

“The Force is taking every action including deploying all required resources to bring those responsible to justice. Additional patrols are in place to ensure safety and security across all communities of the TCI. I wish to give residents and visitors the reassurance that their safety is our number one priority.”

One man, who is unnamed, survived the attack.

Again, cell phone video of that man captured him kneeled down in the arrivals terminal of the Provo airport; the man was distressed and clearly under the watch by members of the Police Force.  His short pants were stained with blood, so was his right arm.  He held his shoulder with what looked to be his shirt, which he was no longer wearing.  The man was able to walk, appeared to be barely lucid, perhaps in shock; those at the airport speaking to us under the promise of anonymity said he ran to the airport, away from ambush.

The man was injured in the attack however and detained at hospital and it is likely his detainment that has caused the suspension of visitation at the Cheshire Hall Medical Center, which is also now guarded by armed police.

More comments of grave concern about the boldness of the crime came on Friday including from Washington Misick, Turks and Caicos Premier and the Opposition, People’s Democratic Movement.

News

Airports Authority aims for 24-hour airport and announces Scholarship programme

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 19, 2024 – In an attempt to move to 24-hour-a-day operations Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is steadily recruiting Air Traffic Controllers to work at the Providenciales/Howard Hamilton International Airport, according to Godfrey Smith, TCIAA CEO, reporting to the Appropriations Committee.

Speaking on April 8th Smith said a cabinet paper would be sent soon requesting six more Air Traffic Controllers to make round the clock operation at the Provo International possible and to open the airport in Grand Turk till 12 a.m.

Currently, 17 posts are filled and seven are vacant.

Smith was candid with his responses to recent industrial action from ATCs which led to resignations and firings.

“What we have to do is find systems to mitigate such actions and that has to start with filling these jobs, putting people in that want to work and doing right by people – and we always try to do right by our staff. Persons may not think that we are but we always do – we ain’t pick no fight,” he said in the meetings held at the NJS Francis building ahead of the National Budget Communication.

Smith indicated that recruitment was an issue across the board, ‘we need to find ways to recruit a little bit better’ he told the committee. Also in need of a push was capital spending or projects according to the CEO, who said the agency had ‘not been very good’ at meeting that mark but insisted they had recognized the issue and could do better.

A very important key performance indicator drawn up by the TCIAA is increasing passenger satisfaction at the Howard Hamilton International Airport. For the TCIAA part of this means a 30 percent increase in seating by Q2 of this year.

When queried on if they could even handle this increase the CEO said,

“The fact of the matter is we already have the capacity there. What we need is to make the service a bit better.”

Staff shortages have become such a frustrating issue that the TCIAA is instituting a scholarship program created by Authority Chairman, Selvyn Hawkins

“What the board wants to do is basically allocate $25,000 annually for a scholarship and they’ve approved it already.”

This process would cover tuition and all other costs for one student.

The student would return as a summer intern and other breaks to work at the TCIAA and upon graduation, assume a role at the company.

“We identify a particular skill we need, we go after it and we build capacity that is in a nutshell the nexus of the program,” Smith said.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) is allocated $49 million this financial year; over $20 million goes to salaries.

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News

Flow TCI offers Gigabyte Speeds to Customers

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Company delivers fastest speeds nationwide and boosts service reliability

 

PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, APRIL 19th, 2024 – More connections, faster speeds and greater support for customers. This is the promise from communications and entertainment provider, Flow TCI, as it embarks on an initiative to provide households with enhanced connections, greater overall reliability and now, for the first time, speeds up to one gigabit person second.

FLOW TCI Country Manager, Joanne Missick shared: “Our customers are at the heart of everything we do. We listen to our customers and want to exceed their demands, so we are focused on delivering unmatched value with customer centric products and services that are future proof. Flow subscribers on our Fibre Extreme package can now access up to one gigabyte speeds and subscribers on our Fibre Plus and Fibre Max package, as of April 1st, are also now benefitting from up to 5x more speeds.”

This is third speed boost for Flow customers in the last two years. This comes under the umbrella of the the Company’s recently launched “Working for You” campaign, where technicians are going into the neighborhoods across the island to conduct repairs, decommission copper cables, and increase the brand’s visibility in local communities.

“To date several neighborhoods have been served by technicians and the company will continue to go across the islands to ensure each neighborhood receives personal attention. We recognize that over the past few months some customers have experienced issues with the quality and delivery of our services. This is not what we stand for. Flow remains committed to providing technology and innovation that enables growth and positively impacts lives”, says, newly appointed Head of Technical Operations, Simeon Thomas.

Thomas adds, “We have been closely monitoring and reviewing every aspect of our network and there is room for improvement across each of the islands. Where we find shortcomings, we are taking concrete actions and assigning our technicians to rapidly make all necessary adjustments and improvements for our customers”.

Flow has made significant investments in expanding and modernizing its infrastructure and delivering a more robust and reliable network paving the way for the country’s digital transformation.

For more information on speed increases visit https://www2.discoverflow.co/turks-and-caicos/price-adjustment-speed-increase on our website.

Thank you for your usual assistance in sharing our stories.

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Government

Harold Charles, Appointed Member to the HOA, goes out with a Bang 

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 19, 2024 – In an explosive, self-proclaimed, final budget speech to the people of the Turks and Caicos, Harold Charles, Governors Appointed Member is expressing frustration that many Turks and Caicos Islanders are locked out of top jobs in the country and unable to build wealth.

”I’ve been in this country for 50 years and I’ve noticed all those big developments that come in— the majority of [managers]are foreign people. After 50 years, when are we going to have Belongers manage those businesses?” Charles asked.  “I’m upset, I’m frustrated [this is] their home.  They have nowhere else to go—- If we don’t empower our Turks and Caicos Islanders we will never get out of living paycheck to paycheck.”

Charles echoed what thousands of locals have been saying for years about the failure of successive governments to get the economic success in the country on a level that residents can participate in it.  The member maintained that not only were many locals working for scraps overseas and at home, but that it was the prerogative of the government to create avenues for them to move upward.

”I know the government’s heart is in the right place but somehow we’re not getting it together.  I’m talking (about) both PDM and PNPs. It must change.  There are many islanders overseas taking crummy jobs when all this opportunity is in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Calling on the government to enforce laws which allow islanders to get a foothold in lucrative industries, Charles maintained that TCIG could not let investors come and do as they liked.

”We have all these big companies making millions.  They brag about how much they’re making, yet how much do they contribute to the development of our people?”

Charles encouraged the government to mandate that locals were hired in the large developments, taking place across the country.

Capital projects and their execution was another issue that the member highlighted

”Over the past three years in office, we seem to be dragging our feet when it comes to the execution of projects,” he said, “the last budget reflected bitter-sweet sentiment.”

The government managed to spend $29 million of a $57 million capital project budget in 2023/24 financial year.

“Mr. Speaker prior, we promised the people infrastructural investment, improved roads, ease with doing business with TCIG, more scholarships, increased home care, a $900,000 special needs school.”

The Appointed member was also frustrated with the amount of money being allocated to crucial areas including the absence of allocations for a special needs school.

”We were promised that no Turks and Caicos Islander would be left behind while I appreciate the government’s commitment to ensuring this. I am concerned that the relatively low level of funding allocated to education and infrastructure may hinder the effectiveness of effort,” The member stressed.

Closing his speech, Charles maintained that it was “crucial that the sectors receive additional support in order to provide citizens with the necessary resources and opportunities for their development.“

Mr. Speaker it is imperative that we allocate our resources adequately and streamline processes to enhance the ease of doing business with the Turks and Caicos Government. We must priortise increasing service delivery capacity in critical departments such as the customer service department, the register of records, the department of motor vehicles and the list goes on,” express Charles.

Charles reminded that there is a growing demand on the services TCIG provides, especially as the country enjoys unprecedented, year on year, exponential economic growth.

Charles alongside Jameka Williams (Government Appointed Member) Willin Belliard (Governor’s Appointed Member number one) and Alvin Garland (Opposition Appointed Member) will very likely be the last set of appointed members in the House of Assembly of the Turks and Caicos as it transitions to a wholly elected parliament.

Harold Charles indicated it was unlikely he would join any leadership race describing the 2024-2025 Budget contribution as likely his final.

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