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TCI Mortgage Corporation established as Community Projects put on the back burner



Deandrea Hamilton



#TurksandCaicos, March 26, 2024 – The Turks and Caicos now has a Mortgage Corporation Fund, established through an act of parliament on Monday March 25 to the tune of $7 million dollars and aimed at promoting and encouraging more home ownership in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

While the notion of the Fund was embraced by representatives in the House of Assembly, there was vocal resistance to where the monies to prop up the Fund were pulled from; 12 community projects which failed to materialize during this fiscal year have now been scrapped, at least for now.

“The PNP government is doing the right thing for the wrong reasons,” said Edwin Astwood, Leader of the Opposition, in response to our question about his party’s support of the Fund.

“They have no policy, no plan, no guidelines, no terms of reference, nothing for the establishment of this.”

It took the passage of a fourth Budget Supplementary, which re-allocated the monies from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development.  Listed in the Supplementary Appropriation papers as “projects to be re-assessed and re-appropriated” were the $1.5 million enhancement and restoration of Conch Ground in South Caicos; $2.7 million for the construction of a Community Center in Bottle Creek, North Caicos; $800,000 for the Bambarra Beach huts renovation in Middle Caicos; $650,000 for upgrade to the Bight Park in Providenciales; $550,000 refurbishment of the Horse Stable Beach complex, in North Caicos; $550,000 renovation of the Fuller and Clementina Walkin Park in Blue Hills, Providenciales; $250,000 refurbishment of the Sylvia Melhado Aged Care Center and a combined $365,000 for four vehicles, specifically a vehicle for the Health Promotions and Advocacy Unit; a bus for the Immigration Department and two wheelchair accessible vans; one of them for the SNAP Center in Provo and the other for the Eliza Basden Aged Care Center in South Caicos.

“I did not support it,” said Astwood, explaining that, “to purchase a wheelchair accessible van should not take 365 days and have to be brought back.  That was one of the 12, total adding up to some $7M.”

With mere days to go in the 2023-2024 fiscal period, the PNP Administration laid its fourth Budget Supplementary which was not adding to national spending, it was shifting millions of unspent dollars around before the sun completely sets on the Budget Year on Sunday March 31.

The aim of the Mortgage Fund is frustrate the unhealthy, excessive cost of housing as the Turks and Caicos faces a crisis when it comes to demand for affordable housing.  A significant barrier to addressing this very serious concern, as the Turks and Caicos economy experiences exponential growth is funding.

During the July 2023 launch of the National Housing Policy, it was announced that a survey found too many residents were paying in excess of 50 percent of their income on housing, 21 percent were residing in homes which were in need of repair and nearly 70 percent were looking to buy their own homes within the next five years.

But there is little hope of affordable financing for home purchases or home renovations; banks were criticised at the event during a Q&A period for unfriendly lending terms.

With the cost of living considerably higher in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the banking representative explained that among the considerations at play was the salaries of public sector workers, in particular.

Minimum wage and public sector salaries have now been raised by the Government and this newest Budget Supplementary has given money to jump start the corporation, which now makes up part of the National Wealth Fund.

“The Fund shall consist of the Stabilisation Fund; Infrastructure and Competitiveness Fund; Heritage Fund and Mortgage Corporation Fund.”

The Department of Housing, last July had informed that 32 percent of survey participants wanted the Government to get involved; hoping for benevolence which would turn home ownership dreams to reality.



Bambarra Beach Huts in January 2021, before a fire ravaged the cute, colourful vendor stalls in April the following year.  Budgeting for development of the site is again delayed, even as Bambarra in Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands has now captured the title of #2 Best Beach in the Caribbean in USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice awards.  PHOTO BY TCI TOURIST BOARD.





#TurksandCaicos, May 20, 2024 – The Governor’s Office can confirm that Her Excellency the Governor Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam and the Honourable Premier Charles Washington Misick will this morning receive a US Congressional delegation, who have requested a meeting to discuss the recent arrests of US nationals for possession of ammunition offences.

The US delegation, which arrived yesterday evening, was met by Protocol officials and is due to depart this afternoon.

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Eleven Senators, Three Governors make appeals for Leniency; Five Americans now face 12 Years in Prison



Deandrea Hamilton                                                                                                                              



#TurksandCaicos, May 20, 2024 – US law makers are going to bat bigtime for their citizens detained in the Turks and Caicos for breach of the firearms ordinance, a congressional delegation arrived on Sunday for talks on an amicable  conclusion in the controversial court matters.

Here for a meeting set to take place today,   the congressional delegation is led by Senator Markwayne Mullin.

Five tourists are facing the 12 year minimum for possession of bullets, they say were inadvertently left in their checked baggage, but they can get a lesser sentence if the judge rules that it is warranted under the ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ clause in the Firearms Ordinance, newly amended and stiffened in 2022.

Eleven U.S. Senators and three State Governors have addressed letters to the TCI government beckoning for leniency in the cases of American citizens charged and detained for breach of Turks and Caicos gun laws which strictly prohibit the possession of unregistered firearms or ammunition; an infraction which carries with it a penalty of 12 years imprisonment.

It became known that at least one governor was communicating with Daleeni Daniel- Selveratnam, Turks and Caicos Governor about the unsettling situation.

J Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma appeared on television vocalizing his thoughts, calling the mandatory 12 year sentence “absurd.”  His letter for leniency was endorsed by Josh Shapiro, Governor of Pennsylvania and Glenn Youngkin, the Governor of Virginia.

“We humbly ask that your government – in its wisdom – temper justice with mercy and recognize that these made mistakes but had no apparent malicious intent,” states the May 14th letter signed by all three governors.

Twelve days before, Senators had already expressed their dire concern in correspondence dated May 2nd.

Magnetic Media obtained that letter which 11 senators have supported; their dispatch issued to the Attorney General of the Turks and Caicos, Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles, KC.

Senators Markwayne Mullin, Oklahoma; Robert P. Casey Jr, Pennsylvania; Mark Warner, Virginia; Tim Kaine, Virginia; James Lankford, Oklahoma; Michael Cloud, Texas; John Fetterman, Pennsylvania; Bob Good, Virginia; Guy Reschenthaler, Pennsylvania; Josh Brecheen, Oklahoma and former presidential contender, Ted Cruz of Texas boldly signed the document, with strong words for the TCIG.

“We do not discount the fact that the authorities in Turks and Caicos take the presence of unspent ammunition cartridges seriously to prioritize the safety of its civilians. However, based on our relationships and understanding of the circumstances of these American citizens, we strongly urge you to exercise leniency when reviewing their cases.”

Both letters point to the current good relationship between the Turks and Caicos and the United States as the reason to have the cases of Michael Lee Evans, 72 of Texas; Bryan Hagerich, Pennsylvania; Tyler Wenrich, 31 of Virginia and Ryan Watson, 40 of Oklahoma come to a reasonable conclusion.

Since Monday May 13, added to the four men and despite the media attention and US State Department warnings, Sharitta Grier, 45 of Orlando, Florida was arrested, sentenced and is now out on bail on near identical charges.

She is the fifth American held in recent months for the discovery of ammunition upon departure of the islands.

Grier, was on Thursday May 16 arraigned for allegedly having two bullets in her baggage; detected as she was exiting the Turks and Caicos following a Mother’s Day getaway with her daughter.  By Friday, bail had been granted to the woman who is still expressing shock at the gravity of the consequences; a dozen years in a Grand Turk prison.

A week earlier, a Thursday May 8, media release by the Turks and Caicos National Security Council informed of the Attorney General’s report to the group, which included the Premier, Minister of Tourism and Governor on the nuances of the legislation, according to a recent Court of Appeal decision.

“The Attorney-General, in respect of the law applicable to the cases against US Nationals on charges relating to the possession of ammunition, confirmed that an Attorney General’s Reference to the Court of Appeal certified that where a court finds there are exceptional circumstances, the sentencing judge has discretion under the law, to impose a custodial sentence and a fine that are fair and just in the circumstances of each case rather than impose the mandatory minimum. The Chief Justice is advancing sentencing guidelines in this respect.”

On Sunday, Senator Mullin of Oklahoma landed in Provo, with him:  “Rep. Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania; Rep. Good of Virginia; Rep. Brecheen of Oklahoma and Rep. Cloud of Texas.  They have a few staff members and an escort of four marines.  They will be in meetings all day. We are hoping for an agreeable resolution today,” explained a source close to the senate.

We’ve also learned that the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis may climb aboard this train in the name of reasonable justice after Floridian, Sharitta Shiniee Grier was last week charged.

On social media, Grier has opened up about her arrest.

“Once the police cuffed my leg to a chair and left me in a room by myself I started crying out to the Good Lord, saying I know you are real but I need you to move for me, right now!  I need you to show me a sign that I’m going to be alright.”

Grier explains that before she could wipe away tears, “Mrs. Susan and her husband My Pop Pop” turned up, came to check on her while in police custody and are now lending her moral support.

Court correspondent Wilkie Arthur informed that during Grier’s arraignment, the courtroom was filled with some of the other Americans accused and their families; in her post, she called Ryan (Hagerich) and Bryan (Watson), both men who share a vacation villa as they await verdicts in their bullet possession matters, her ‘brothers.’

“I know it was God who placed them in my life.  They have a heart of gold, just like me and I love them. We are family forever.”

It is this kind of solidarity that the defendants hope will work in their favour as their Representatives have reportedly taken advocacy to a new level; landing at the private airport in Providenciales on Sunday to – in person – make appeals on behalf of the five Americans with the hope of seeing them avoid the lengthy prison term mandated by TCI law.

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Subject identified






May 18th, 2024.

Following a police shooting incident on May 14th, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) is now able to name the deceased male subject, with the permission of the family.

The Serious Crime Unit contacted the relatives of the deceased, and formal identification has taken place, with the subject being identified as 14-year-old Antorens Dorcely, also known locally as ‘Toto’.

During this challenging time, the RTCIPF also expressed its deepest condolences to the deceased’s family, and the force will continue to offer support through our Family Liaison Officer.

In light of this incident, the RTCIPF is urging the public to show respect and sensitivity towards the grieving family by refraining from sharing any footage of the deceased on social media.

Sharing such material can cause additional distress and harm. We emphasize the importance of empathy and respect for the family’s privacy as they navigate their grief. The death of any young person is a loss to the TCI.

The RTCIPF is committed and dedicated to conducting a thorough investigation and ensuring that all aspects of the incident are carefully examined and the findings are communicated transparently to the public.

A request has been made to an external police force to conduct a review of the incident. This is a routine procedure and intended to ensure an independent and objective review of the facts. The community’s cooperation and respect during this time are essential. The RTCIPF assures the public that we remain dedicated to upholding justice and accountability.

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