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2023 Illegal Immigration bill could hit $7.9 million for TCI

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 19, 2024 – Around $7.9 million is the bill that the Turks and Caicos could be left holding after a record year of interceptions and repatriations in the country.

On November 7, 2023 police released the official figures for the year, 3,488, another interception on December 28 pushed the number to 3,595.

The country had been paying $2,200 per migrant in repatriation costs in 2023 according to Althea Been, Permanent Secretary for Immigration and Border Services, resulting in the $7.9 million price tag.

By February, Immigration Officials had clocked the increased numbers and in a press conference indicated that 2023 was expected to be record breaking.

“If we continue on this trend, we are looking at an estimated 4,494 persons to be repatriated from an estimated 36 boats.  This is unprecedented and it has serious social impact, financial pressure, and implications for our livelihoods and our country,” Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services, said in a February 9 press conference.

While the number of migrants caught came in lower than that predicted, evidence shows hundreds of others made the journey successfully, sprinting into the Turks and Caicos’ underbrush and under the radar.  Residents regularly reported strangers running through their yards, empty boats perched on beaches and hundreds of footprints left behind as evidence that many eluded detection.  While questions regarding these landings often went unanswered, one weekend of back to back escapes was too big to go unaddressed by police.

On August 29 the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force  reported that at least 200 people escaped into the country from a sloop that got away from police. By September, police had to rush to Ambergris Cay and South Caicos where two other boats carrying hundreds had arrived. Similar accounts were reported between October 9 and 11 with at least three suspected landings reported by residents.

One of the men who claimed to be on the boat that washed up in South Caicos  spoke to Haitian News Agencies, describing how the flood of immigrants was getting into the Turks and Caicos.

“Traffic happens in the North Department around Oboy, Balan, Port de Paix, Bodmê, Labadi, and Cap Haitien, where people make arrangements to get on boats and assist them to get to Provo,” he said according to our translator.

The young man had been repatriated to Haiti along with most of his compatriots who could be found.

During the year and according to officials, a total of 28 boats were stopped from making landfall in the country carrying 2,884 males and 711 females including 28 children.

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“Mad Max” Convicted of Murder

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MEDIA RELEASE

 

#TurksandCaicos, April 23, 2024 – Blue Hills resident KENDALL RONDRE DEAN has been convicted of murdering JOSHUA SWANN.

Mr. Dean, also called “Maddie”, “Mad Max”, and “Dre”, was found guilty by a nine-member jury yesterday (April 22nd) in the Grand Turk Supreme Court.

Following the verdict, Mr. Dean was remanded to Her Majesty’s Prison, pending sentencing on 10th June 2024.

Based on the evidence presented, Mr. SWANN of Five Cays was shot multiple times about the body on Sunday, August 8th, 2021, while at North West Point, Providenciales.

Mr. Swann was transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Detectives of the Serious Crimes Unit received a report, and following intensive investigations and interviews, Mr. Dean was arrested and subsequently charged.

Shortly after the verdict, Deputy Commissioner of Police Rodney Adams said, “This conviction demonstrates the RTCIPF’s commitment to bringing to justice those who cause the most harm throughout our communities using illegal firearms.

“This is an example of the effective coordination of the various units across the Force in supporting the lead detective in bringing about this conviction. The RTCIPF is grateful for the information provided by witnesses who came forward.

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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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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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