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JOINT STATEMENT FROM HER EXCELLENCY THE ACTING GOVERNOR AND THE HONOURABLE PREMIER ON THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STRIKE AT THE HOWARD HAMILTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos 1 March 2024 – The Acting Governor Her Excellency Anya Williams and Premier Hon. Charles Washington Misick can confirm that industrial action in the form of an apparent sick out is currently being taken by a number of Air traffic Controllers (ATC) at the Howard Hamilton International Airport on Providenciales and the JAGS McCartney International Airport on Grand Turk regarding issues of pay and working conditions.

 

The Acting Governor and Premier met earlier today with the Executive Chair, CEO, and senior leadership of the TCIAA.  Following on from this a meeting was held with the Chairman of the TCI Air Traffic Controllers Association; a further meeting is planned with the Air Traffic Controllers later today to discuss their return to work.

 

The Air Traffic controllers in 2022 received two separate pay increases totaling 31%.

 

In addition to this, the Government following the implementation of the Public Service Pay and Grading Review in December 2023, committed to a comprehensive review of the pay and benefits of all statutory bodies which led by PGR Consultants Erst and Young (Jamaica) is due to commence in March 2024 and should not exceed four months.

 

Acting Governor stated: “The safe and efficient operation of our airports is critical to ourislands both from an economic and a national security perspective. All stakeholders have been engaged to ensure all contingencies in place. 

 

We are working with TCIAA officials to ensure that there a minimal disruption to incoming and outgoing flights and are engaging with ATC officers to discuss and agree their return to work.”

 

Premier Hon. C. Washington Misick stated: “I am collaborating with TCIAA and all stakeholders to restore smooth operations at the Howard Hamilton International Airport. My government and I are in frequent communication with all stakeholders, domestically and internationally, as the situation unfolds.

 

The safety of all travellers is our top priority, both domestically and internationally, and we will do our best to avoid any disruptions to anyone’s travel plans.”

 

The Honorable Arlington Musgrove, Minister for Immigration and Border Services has been engaged throughout the morning on this matter and is currently en route to the TCI following his attendance at the Forty-Sixth Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), so that he can attend the planned meeting later today with the Air Traffic Controller Association, the Acting Governor, Premier and TCIAA leadership. 

 

END

TCI News

Crime challenges are “not Insurmountable” says New Police Commissioner Dana Malcolm

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Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

”At this moment I can feel the enormity of responsibility bestowed on me and the weight of accountability and expectations of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) as well as members of the wider community.”

That was the acknowledgment from Edvin Martin, new Commissioner of Police as he was sworn into his role as head of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) on Monday, April 22. 

“I also feel an unprecedented opportunity and a distinguished privilege to serve by leading the Police Force into an era of modern policing,” he maintained. 

A well-trained force that is averse to corruption and maintains the trust of the people is what Martin promised in the address that spoke to the Police, the residents and the criminals. 

Not only does the Commissioner say he understands the gravity of his role and the lofty expectations to reverse high crime which he described as a ‘tremendous mandate’, he maintains he has a good grasp of the issues plaguing the country. 

To the residents, Martin called on them and all stakeholders to form an anti-crime coalition with an all-hands-on-deck approach. 

“There should be no bystanders in addressing the carnage in our communities,” he said. 

Even as Martin listed the threats of immigration, terrorism, cybercrime, transnational organized criminal activity, and the associated gang violence, illegal firearms and drug trading, he assured: 

”I urge you listening to me today, do not despair, for while these threats may be challenging, they are not insurmountable.”

The process for tackling them will need a tightened-up RTCIPF, according to the commissioner, one that is focused, well trained and adequately resourced. 

For Martin this means the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) must retool, restructure and reengineer its responses.

In this vein the top cop spoke directly to officers during his address, maintaining that the public deserves an accountable Police Force.

“As a service organization there will be allegations that cause the public to question our integrity; we must seek out and purge the organization of any semblance of bias, corruption and malfeasance,” he said. 

Martin maintained the top brass now has a mandate to work to ensure fairness in work and promotions.

“Anything less than this will be an injustice— we must do everything possible to inspire confidence in our force and improve our legitimacy as gatekeepers of law and order,” said the new Commissioner. 

As part of the crime fighting plan several immediate actions are to be taken:

  • The immediate and aggressive addressing of the spate violent crimes 
  • Collaborating with stakeholders to address safety challenges in the tourism industry
  • Redefining the Police Force image to become the pride of the TCI
  • Greater technological innovation
  • Restructure the force to better align with contemporaries 
  • Frequent Town Hall meetings
  • Increased safety at police stations. 

Martin had words for the mayhem causers and their ‘glaring disregard for human life and safety’ too. 

”Under my watch I can assure you that the RTCIPF will not sit idly by and observe this unrelenting rampage and havoc. Today I call on you to put down your weapons of destruction and change your criminal ways,” he said. 

Martin, who recently retired as Grenadian PC is credited with being lead of his home force for five years, serving a total 37 years before bowing out and moving on to head the CARICOM Crime Gun Intelligence Unit. 

Only months into that CARICOM job, Edvin Martin was approved and announced as police commissioner designate for the Turks and Caicos Islands, succeeding Trevor Botting. 

“My first order of business ladies and gentlemen, this morning, is to give a special thanks to God, as He directs my path in every single thing that I do. I am grateful for His blessings and His guidance,” started Mr Martin when delivering his inaugural remarks at the outdoor ceremony. 

The acknowledgment of God was a distinctive moment that many are hoping will auger well for the mission of newly installed policing leader for the TCI. Soon after his bold remarks, Martin, with his wife looking on from the audience took the oath of office and oath of allegiance in a live streamed event. 

Also giving remarks at the swearing-in ceremony staged at the Gustarvus Lightbourne Sports Complex were Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, TCI Governor and Washington Misick, TCI Premier.

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TCI News

Sonia Fulford unveiled as Flow Brand Ambassador

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PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS, APRIL 24th, 2024 – Flow Turks and Caicos, leading telecommunications provider, is excited to announce its latest endorsement of daughter of the soil and TCI’s most formidable local and international female sports administration icon, Sonia Fulford. She also serves as President of TCI Football Association (TCIFA), Female Member of the Concacaf Council, and Member on the FIFA Council, within the highest ranks of football governing worldwide.

FLOW TCI Country Manager, Joanne Missick shared: “Sonia’s journey continues to inspire women such as myself leading in male dominated industries, and she continues to make our country proud both on and off the global stage. It is with great pleasure that we welcome her to the Fibre Federation, as our brand ambassador, and we look forward to the many positive outcomes this partnership will reap for our brand and for Flow customers around the Turks and Caicos in the very near future.”

Sonia, a native of the Nation’s Capital of Grand Turk embarked on her career as a multi-sport athlete for TCI, which included a long tenure as Captain of the TCI National Women’s Football Team. After a successful 14-year career in the legal field, she made a significant career shift, joining the TCIFA as General Secretary in 2006 – a decision that would lead to her becoming a sports administration icon and global ambassador for football, championing the cause of girls and women around the globe, in addition to, women in sports.

During her tenure within the FA, Sonia, a decorated leader with a plethora of local and international accolades, ascended the ranks to become the President of the FA. However, the most noteworthy appointment of her career to date, was reached in May 2013, when she etched her name into the history books as one of the first Female Member representatives to be elected to the prestigious FIFA Council, a testament of her unwavering dedication and leadership.

“I am thrilled to be aligning my brand with a company that has been an integral part of the Turks and Caicos Islands for more than 125 years. Flow/C&W TCI’s mission to empower and provide opportunities to young people in the local community and region through education and sports resonates deeply with my personal mission. Therefore, I am happy to announce today that I will be joining the Fibre Federation, Flow Turks and Caicos”, declares Sonia Fulford, Flow TCI’s newest brand ambassador and TCIFA President.

Follow Flow TCI on Facebook & Instagram for the last updates on this partnership and for more exciting announcements.

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Crime

Following Court ruling, US Embassy Doubles Down on Warning: DO NOT TRAVEL TO TCI WITH GUNS, AMMO

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

Dozens of news reports are all over TV and the internet, scarring the Turks and Caicos’ reputation yet again. This time linked to what Americans view as the preposterous law, which would, without chance for legal argument, throw a tourist into prison for 12 years.  It is a mandatory conviction law on the books for possession of unlicensed guns or ammunition, and which just heard from the Court of Appeal that there ought to be no exceptions, whether it is one bullet or one gun, whether it is a tourist or a woman.

But what policymakers in various submissions in the House of Assembly back in October thought would return a win or opportunity for leniency to be injected as part of a legal defense has backfired.  Now, unequivocally, the high court has ruled that the law gives no leeway.  Anyone found with an unlicensed gun or ammunition must face what the law says is the penalty: not a fine, no reduced prison time, no exoneration, but 12 years mandatory in His Majesty’s Prison.

Now the US Embassy is doubling down on its message to travelers to the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Do not travel with your legal gun and ammunition from the US to the islands. Do not, because in the islands, your right to carry arms is not automatic, and if you are caught, you will face severe punishment, and there is nothing the US government can do about it.  There are several tourists charged and awaiting a ruling in their cases.  There is also a Grand Turk businesswoman who was arrested for a single bullet in her luggage.  While all of these matters are shocking and drawing public calls for leniency, as far as the law goes, everyone charged under it is headed to prison for 12 years.

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