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Sandals Foundation Ambassadors and Guests Spark Joy at SNAP Centre on World Down Syndrome Day

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Guest shares a reading moment with a student

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos Islands, April 3, 2024 – In a heartwarming display of community engagement and awareness-raising, Sandals Foundation ambassadors, accompanied by guests from Beaches Turks and Caicos, embarked on a unique Reading Road Trip to the Special Needs Association of Providenciales (SNAP) Centre recently. However, this wasn’t just any reading excursion; it was a celebration of World Down Syndrome Day, marked by a colourful array of mismatched socks and a shared commitment to fostering inclusivity and understanding.

The event showcased the power of collective action in support of individuals with Down syndrome. The volunteers read to the children at the SNAP Centre and donated a variety of school supplies, enriching the learning environment for the young students.

One of the standout features of the day was the ambassadors’ decision to don colourful or mismatched socks, a symbolic gesture echoing the unique genetic makeup of individuals with Down syndrome, who possess three copies of their 21st chromosome. This simple yet powerful act sparked conversations and raised awareness about the challenges and joys associated with Down syndrome, contributing to a more inclusive and supportive community.

World Down Syndrome Day colours

The staff present were Dr. Anya Malcolm Gibbs, Director of the SNAP Centre; Christina Joseph, Behavioural Therapist; Paulette Simmons and Sarah Mukhebi, Special Needs Teachers and Sheniqua Morgan, Assistant Special Needs Teacher. Together, they extended a warm welcome to the volunteers, acknowledging the significance of their visit in promoting understanding and acceptance.

During the reading sessions, the students at the SNAP Centre displayed remarkable enthusiasm and engagement, clearly relishing the opportunity to interact with their guests. The Eliseo family, experiencing their first Reading Road Trip, expressed their delight at the experience, vowing to make it a regular part of their vacation itinerary at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Robert Eliseo shared, “This has been one of our best trips because this time around we got a chance to reach out to some of the kids here in the Turks and Caicos and share some love.”

The Reading Road Trip left a lasting impact on both the volunteers and the children at the SNAP Centre. Through the simple act of sharing stories and spreading joy, they had fostered connections, broken down barriers, and reaffirmed the importance of empathy and inclusion in building a brighter future for all.

Family members share a moment with students

Paulette Simmons expressed gratitude on behalf of the team while also highlighting the reciprocal benefits of the visit. “When we have visits such as this one it helps to strengthen the students’ connection to the community. It also fosters a sense of inclusion and boosts their self-esteem while for the visitors, they are able to get a firsthand experience of how gifted our students are.”

World Down Syndrome Day may be marked on March 21, but the spirit of understanding and acceptance demonstrated on that day resonates far beyond, serving as a reminder of the power of compassion to create positive change in our communities.

 

Header Photo Caption: BTC Down Syndrome RRT – Team members and guests

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STATEMENT FROM THE HONOURABLE C. WASHINGTON MISICK, PREMIER TURKS AND CAICOS GOVERNMENT

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#TurksandCaicos, May 22, 2024 – As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I assure our American friends that the Turks and Caicos Islands prioritizes hospitality, cultural exchange, and mutual respect.  You will find our doors open and our hearts eager to share the warmth and beauty of our homeland.  We value the trust and confidence travelers from around the world place in us when they choose the Turks and Caicos Islands as their destination.  Transparency and accountability are paramount in our operations, ensuring that our decisions are made lawfully and in the best interests of all residents and visitors.

The Turks & Caicos Islands welcome over one million visitors each year, more than half of whom are American.

Respect for the rule of law and an independent judiciary are key tenants of our justice system, and all persons are equal in the eyes of the law.  Judges are permitted to use their discretion in sentencing individuals who have been convicted of violating our Firearms law. In fact, in cases that occurred prior to the five cases that have generated media coverage, the mandatory 12-year minimum sentence has never been imposed by the Court because judges determined in each case that exceptional circumstances warranted shorter sentences.

Our justice system is designed to uphold the rights and freedoms of all individuals, regardless of their place of origin, while maintaining the security and integrity of our Islands.  Our judicial and law enforcement institutions are dedicated to impartiality and consistency in enforcing our laws.

Recent events have underscored the importance of adhering to the principles of justice and accountability.  Let me be clear: In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the law stands firm and applies to everyone equally, without exception.  Our commitment to the rule of law is unwavering and remains a cornerstone of our democratic values.

We are committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all citizens, residents and visitors.

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EXCLUSIVE!  Police black CID Vehicle shot up by bandits in Five Cays

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Wilkie Arthur

Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 15, 2024 – It was an uneasy night on Tuesday May 14 for some residents of Five Cays, Providenciales owing to continuous, serious fire power with gun shots blaring in various areas of the community.

Some say they heard shots in Granny Hill and reported a man walking around with a gun, randomly shooting at unidentifiable targets. Some say shots were heard behind the Enid Capron Primary School.  Some say they heard gun shot sounds coming from a residential area as well.

The most compelling accounts, however, were on reported events in another area called “The Wells”; a community in the depths of Five Cays and South Dock.

Criminals took on law enforcement in a gun battle involving the armored truck and a CID vehicle.

No members of the Royal TCI Police were hit.

Not the same for the other side.  One person was hit, a young man not known to police and it’s not clear if he was one of the men shooting at the police or an innocently caught in the crossfire.

The man was arrested as a possible suspect.  He is also in hospital with an “entrance and exit” gunshot wound.

During the shootout in The Wells, the CID vehicle was shot at repeatedly, disabling its movement as gunfire damaged the engine. Concerning to us, these shootings were at different times and locations but came in rapid succession; one right after the other, I was told.

Most described the sounds as coming “from some big guns.”

Police the morning after allowed me in to see up close.

Video, photos feature my EXCLUSIVE, close-up look at the damage done by criminals; it is clear high powered rifles were used by these suspects still at large.

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Charred Remains Found in Back Seat of Completely Burnt Vehicle

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Wilkie Arthur

Freelance Court Correspondent

 

#TurksandCaicos, May 21, 2024 – A gruesome discovery was made around midday today (Sunday, May 19th, 2024) when police and fire rescue teams responded to a call at a location on Blue Hills Back Road, off Millennium Highway. The area, situated next to the Fortis Sub-Station, is accessible via a long, secluded dirt road.

Upon arrival, authorities found a vehicle completely engulfed in flames. The vehicle was later removed by police after being alerted by an anonymous source to its burnt-out location. Local residents indicated that the fire had been ignited around 2-3 a.m. earlier that morning, but authorities were not notified until later in the day.

Residents could not provide details about the individual inside the vehicle or even discern its color due to the extensive damage caused by the fire. Videos of the discovery location are available, but footage of the vehicle itself will be provided once it has been located. The vehicle was reportedly still burning when police arrived at the scene.

Official Royal TCI Police Report:

Media Release – May 19th, 2024: Active Investigation Officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) are currently on the scene of a vehicle fire in the Blue Hills, Providenciales area. Acting on received information, officers arrived at the location along North Side Close and discovered a burnt vehicle with what appeared to be a body inside.
The RTCIPF is conducting a thorough investigation to determine the circumstances of this incident. As this is an active investigation, more details will be provided to the public as they become available.

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