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Justice in TCI Courts elusive for Sexual Assault Victims

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Dana Malcolm and Wilkie Arthur

Editorial staff 

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2024 – Rape and sexual assault cases are being, slowed down and outright thrown out in the Turks and Caicos Islands because of extended trial periods and evidence issues in a concerning trend.

Between July and December 2023, Wilkie Arthur, Magnetic Media Court Correspondent, reported on several such cases.

On July 24, 2023, 26 year old Robins Luma walked free after the prosecution filed to throw out the case against him.  He had been before the judge for a 2019 case of having sex with an underage girl. Senior Public Prosecutor Timika Grant told her Ladyship, The Hon Ms. Tanya Lobban Jackson that the child was now refusing to cooperate as a virtual complainant; citing that she no longer wanted to testify.  Grant said since the trial was unable to start on previous dates, the victim was suffering from mental distress and trauma.

After the run-around that the child was subject to, MM learned that even if she had been willing to testify in July she may not have been able to. Because the court cases were poorly scheduled, the judge in her trial was hearing another case at the same time, making him unavailable.

On September 26, a rape case between two minors, where the accused had reportedly drugged the complainant was discontinued by the prosecution. Wilkie Arthur was in the room when the prosecution explained that. “the young lady is having mental trauma and reluctance to testify given the times that she did attend court on other occasions and the matter did not proceed.”

On prior occasions, the case had been slowed because of disclosure/evidence sharing issues on the part of the prosecution.

Less than two months later on December 5, a father, accused of raping his child multiple times walked free under similar circumstances.

Arthur reports “Consistently, the daughter and her mother were present at court besides save for the last two occasions when the virtual complainant (VC) began showing that she had lost interest in pursuing the matter.”

Following that, on December 11th, 2023, the case of Jean Baptiste was stymied for reasons not made clear by the crown at the hearing. What was comprehensible in the Crown’s submission was that the complainant “wants to be left alone.”

DNA was reportedly collected in this matter, but not sent for testing.

The constant delays which have repeatedly proved to be too much for complainants is an issue that the DPPs Office, now led by Angela Brooks, Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, says it has on its radar. But Brooks also blames the fear for preventing witnesses from testifying.

“My office prosecuted a sexual offense matter in November 2023, that occurred sometime between 2019 and 2020 involving a child who at the time of the offense was 13 years old. We cannot overlook what is happening around us and the climate of fear as regards witnesses,” Brooks said during the legal year opening on January 04, 2024.

She said the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) would be working to change this, maintaining that all was not lost.

“Our public prosecutors are now in a better position to collaborate with the court, the police, and other law enforcement agencies to implement a fast-tracked prosecution mechanism for cases involving children and other vulnerable persons, persons in custody, and persons affected by gender-based violence.”

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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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