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Astwood Brothers argue over Border Protection



Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 



#TurksandCaicos, March 22, 2024 – After scolding the government over border security, Sean Astwood has himself been chastened by his brother Audley Astwood who is questioning the political motivations behind Sean’s criticisms.

“Border control is a serious issue, and focusing on finding solutions is essential rather than creating sensationalism for self-gain. The timing of Astwood’s return and critique raises questions about political opportunism. It’s a common strategy to re-enter the political arena by capitalizing on people’s anxieties and fears. However, leadership is more than identifying problems;” Audley said in response to a March 4 letter by Sean titled ”Government Must Address Border Security Now” which implied that the current administration was not doing enough.

“The government must prioritize border security as a top national issue— Our agreement with the Bahamas is a good example of this which was initiated by the last PDM government under my leadership as Minister responsible for Immigration and Border Control,” Sean had said.

He had also pointed out serious concerns held by residents

“The unchecked entry of individuals seeking to exploit our resources without contributing to our society only serves to exacerbate existing challenges and deepen societal divides. Addressing border security is not just a matter of national security but also a crucial component of ensuring the well-being and prosperity of our nation and its citizens.”

Those concerns were tempered with direct blame on the PNP administration for the ongoing problem.

“Securing our borders has to be a top priority with this new threat arising out of the chaos in Haiti now under a state of emergency being reported by regional and international news organizations of gangs breaking gang leaders and members out of prison. They are now free to catch the next sloop to TCI that this government promised they would have stopped years ago,” Sean had accused.

Audley maintained that the blame game was unhelpful to anyone and invited Sean to detail his own remedies for the issues.

“The portrayal of our border issues as solely the current government’s failure ignores the multifaceted nature of border security and the collaborative efforts needed to address such challenges. The problems at our borders are not new and require more than national efforts; they demand regional cooperation and strategic partnerships. It is misleading to attribute the initiation of such partnerships solely to one administration or leader—“ he continued “-It’s worth questioning what concrete plans Astwood proposes beyond the critique to address the security of our borders.”

Sean had in fact detailed what he thought should be done including allocating the necessary resources to enhance surveillance, improving infrastructure by increasing the number of radar sites for better coverage, purchasing new air and sea vessels, and equipment and deploying personnel to effectively patrol and secure borders.

Audley was unimpressed with the blame sprinkled in with the solutions and maintained that regional partnerships including Operation Bahamas Turks and Caicos (OPBAT) were not the brainchild of any single local politician but the result of international cooperation to combat a common threat.

“Politicising border security serves no one, especially not the citizens of Turks and Caicos. Let’s focus on strengthening existing collaborations and seeking new avenues for partnership.” He said.

As for what the brothers did agree on, they both maintained that the issues needed immediate attention.

“We need a better approach that addresses the socio-economic disparities that drive people to undertake dangerous journeys. We must also address the demand for illegal drugs in our communities. The current administration is working on such a comprehensive approach. It goes beyond increasing patrols and enhancing surveillance,” Audley said while Sean maintained that

“The unchecked flow of illegal immigrants, contraband, guns and potentially dangerous individuals across our borders presents a clear and present danger to our country. Not only does this compromise our national sovereignty, but it also undermines efforts to maintain law and order within our borders. The rise in transnational crime, human and drug smuggling,”

While acknowledging his brother’s concerns were valid, Audley cast doubt on his sincerity

“Sean Astwood’s return to the political arena, especially during an election year, raises questions about the timing and motivations behind his critique. However, the electorate needs to evaluate the substance of these discussions critically. Is he offering solutions? Is he fostering understanding? Don’t let a former politician trying to return to power trick you with their divisive political tactics. We, as voters, should look past their fancy talk. We must check their past actions and recognise a drowning man clutching for straws.”


Tim and Henry to the Rescue: A Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Highlights Need for Marine Vessel in Grand Turk



#TurksandCaicos, July 12, 2024 – At approximately 2:45 pm on July 12th, a 911 emergency call came in from the police department in Grand Turk, informing Ed Forbes of a distressing situation. Four young adult tourists had gone out on paddle boards off Cork Tree Beach in Grand Turk, when one of them fell off the board and could not get back on. Evidently, they underestimated the wind speed and their own brute strength.

Ed Forbes, co-owner of Exclusive Escapes Grand Turk, played a pivotal role in coordinating the rescue. Responding swiftly to the emergency call, he immediately reached out to the local search and rescue team. His prompt actions and calm demeanor were instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources.

Within 20 minutes or so, Tim from Emerald Escapes, along with Henry and Kindry from Blue Water Divers, were on the scene. Their experience and swift response were crucial in ensuring the safety of the stranded paddleboarders. Working seamlessly together, they managed to locate and rescue all four individuals without any need for medical attention.

However, this incident also underscores a critical issue that has long plagued Grand Turk: the need for a dedicated marine vessel for search and rescue operations and cruise passengers incidents. Despite numerous promises made to concerned citizens over the years, this vital resource remains unavailable.

The swift response of Tim, Henry, and Kingdry highlights the community’s resilience and dedication, but it also brings to light the gaps in emergency preparedness that could be addressed with better equipment and support.

A dedicated marine vessel would significantly enhance the efficiency and safety of rescue operations, ensuring that responses to such emergencies are even more effective.

Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Invest TCI Opens New Office in Grand Turk





Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 11th, 2024—Invest Turks and Caicos Islands (Invest TCI) proudly announces the launch of its new office in Grand Turk, located at the Digicel Building on Old Airport Road. The grand opening of the new location occurred on Friday, July 5th, 2024, under the theme “Empowering Enterprises in the Capital.”

The establishment of the new office marks a significant milestone in Invest TCI’s growth strategy. The primary objective of the expansion is to provide enhanced services and support to the business community in Grand Turk. By increasing operational capacity, Invest TCI aims to facilitate sustained growth and success for enterprises within the country.  Beyond economic advancement, this initiative is set to yield substantial community benefits, including the creation of employment opportunities.

The grand opening ceremony attracted a diverse range of attendees, including recipients of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme, members of the business community, government officials, and Invest TCI staff. The event was moderated by Mr. Keno Forbes, Vice President of Investor Services. Special remarks were delivered by the Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, who congratulated the InvestTCI team on their hard work and encouraged the community to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new office. He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for businesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Additional remarks were provided by Invest TCI Chairperson, Ms. Cindy Ewing; Business Advisor, Ms. Lashena Simmons; Director of the Business Support Unit, Mrs. Anissa Adderley; and Vice President of SME, Ms. Alexa Cooper. Their contributions highlighted the collaborative effort and dedication that have driven the success of Invest TCI initiatives.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the new office, Invest TCI CEO, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, stated, “Our vision is clear and compelling: to further empower Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, the agency offers incentives and support that enable more efficient and innovative practices. We are committed to helping businesses thrive, and in doing so, we are helping our entire community.”

Invest TCI recognizes the integral role that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises play in the economic and social development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its Business Support Unit, the agency provides comprehensive support services to startups and existing entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

The grand opening of the new office in Grand Turk represents a significant step forward in Invest TCI’s mission to support and empower businesses across the islands. The agency looks forward to fostering economic growth and development and ensuring a prosperous future for all.

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(Thursday, July 11th, 2024) Turk and Caicos Islands – The last of five American tourists arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for being in unlawful possession of  ammunition could finally leave the TCI today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

Sharitta Grier 46 pleaded guilty on 25th June to having two rounds of.38 ammunition in her bags, at the Howard Hamilton International Airport in Providenciales on Monday 13th May, 2024, when leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands after a surprised Mother’s Day vacation trip, from her daughters.

Her Ladyship The Hon. Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson agreed with senior defense counsel, Ms. Sheena Mair of F-Chambers that there are exceptional circumstancés in Grier’s case, by this, the court departed from the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment and ordered a lighter sentence of $1500.00 or Six months imprisonment if fine is not paid. She’s also sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.

Holding for the office of the Director of Public Prosecution via link was Dr. Angela Terry Brooks, deputy director of the DPP’S office.

The prosecution office did oppose exceptional circumstances and invited the court to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment.

A more detailed court report will follow.

Wilkie Arthur
Court Correspondent
Eagle Legal News Media

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