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PDM Chastises Gov’t on Bomb threat handling; Astwood says he has 10 Solutions

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Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

The People’s Democratic Movement is talking airport innovation and chastising the government for its silence following the recent string of bomb threats against the JAGS McCartney International and Providenciales International Airports in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

If something serious is happening to our country and our people of the Turks & Caicos Islands, by now we all know who will be silent and who will be hiding from their responsibilities. If you said the Premier and his Cabinet Ministers, you are 100% correct. I have never seen such a government that constantly hides from crises, and are afraid of speaking to serious issues affecting our people,” said Edwin Astwood, Opposition Leader in a statement issued on May 1.

There has since been statements issued by Edvin Martin, TCI Commissioner of Police and jointly by Washington Misick, TCI Premier and Daleeni Daniel-Selveratnam, TCI Governor.  There have also been more threats, up to seven with the scope expanding to include school children.

For airport safety and security, the PDM Leader laid out ten innovations a government administration led by him would action, he said.

A PDM government, under my leadership, will review and implement innovative approaches and technologies that can be considered for at airports to strengthen security measures, such as:

  1. Biometric Authentication- to verify the identity of passengers and airport personnel, enhancing security and streamlining the check-in and boarding processes.
  2. Explosive Detection Systems- systems that use cutting-edge technologies such as computed tomography (CT) scanning to enhance the detection of explosives and other prohibited items in baggage and cargo.
  3. Email Authentication Protocols- Implementations email authentication protocols such as SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) to verify the authenticity of email senders and prevent email spoofing.
  4. Email Threat Intelligence- Utilize email threat intelligence feeds and services that provide real-time information on emerging email threats, malicious domains, and known threat actors to enhance our email security defenses.
  5. Cybersecurity Measures – to protect our airports infrastructure, systems, and data from cyber threats, and hacking attempts that could compromise airport operations and passenger safety.
  1. Drone Detection and Mitigation- to identify unauthorized drones flying near our airports premises and employing countermeasures to mitigate potential threats posed by rogue drones.

  2. Smart Access Control Systems- utilizing biometrics, RFID technology, or mobile credentials to manage and monitor access to restricted areas within our airport, reducing the risk of unauthorized entry.
  3. Enhance Emergency Response Training- emergency response training exercises and drills to prepare our airport staff, security personnel, and first responders to effectively respond to security incidents, natural disasters, or terrorist attacks.
  4. Public Awareness Campaigns- Educating passengers and airport visitors about our country’s security procedures, emergency protocols, and the importance of reporting suspicious activities to enhance overall security vigilance and community engagement in maintaining airport safety. 
  5. Collaboration with Law Enforcement – Our National Security Council to Work closely with both local and international law enforcement agencies, cybersecurity organizations, and industry partners to share threat intelligence, collaborate on investigations, and take legal action against malicious actors involved in email threats.”

The bomb threats, which have all, so far been found to be hoaxes has spread to now include airport facilities in Cayman, Bermuda, Anguilla and the BVI.  The emailed threat has been traced to a Russian domain, similarly in India bomb threats against schools there are originating from a Russian domain.

At this stage however, there continues to be emphasis on the collaborations now employed to unearth who is responsible for the threats.

The RTCIPF, on the operational response and ongoing investigations into the recent threats made against the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports and Schools. As of 26 April, ten (10) threats have been made with the most recent three (3) targeting various schools in Grand Turk and South Caicos. In addition, it was confirmed that similar threats have been made against airports in other British Overseas Territories in the region.

The Strategic Coordinating Group (SCG), stood-up by the NSC, is managing TCI’s response, and is collaborating with UK and international partners in its law enforcement efforts to track the source of the threats and manage risks,” divulged an NSC post meeting statement.

The meeting, held on May 7 at the Office of the Governor in Providenciales, included: Her Excellency the Governor, Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, and the Honourable Premier Charles Washington Misick, co-chairs;  HE the Deputy Governor, the Hon. Deputy Premier; the Hon. Minister for Immigration and Border Services; the Hon. Attorney General; the Commissioner of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF); the Permanent Secretary National Security Secretariat (NSS); the Permanent Secretary Governor’s Office; the NSS Threat Lead; Hon. Minister of Tourism; Hon. Minister of Education; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education; Director of the Education Department; Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Executive Charmain and Managing Director of the Turks and Caicos Islands Airport Authority.

Astwood has now requested that the terms of reference of the airport be made public and has extended, yet again, to the general public his willingness to take over leadership of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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TCI Red Cross Hits New Heights with 3rd Annual Red Hot Challenge Success  

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June 13, 2024: PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS AND CAICOS: The TCI Red Cross recently hosted their successful 3rd Annual Red Hot Challenge, a testament to the organization’s commitment to community engagement and humanitarian efforts.

This year’s event, held at the National Stadium in Providenciales, brought together over 13 teams in a thrilling display of sportsmanship and skills. The Beaches Marlins emerged victorious, with the Amanyara Cruisers in second place and the Beaches Pirates in third.

Speaking on the event, TCI Red Cross Director Candianne Williams said, “Year after year, the Red Hot Challenge fundraiser has grown more successful, and we really could not have done it without the support we have received from our participating teams, sponsors, volunteers and supporters.”

She continued, “When we started the Red Hot Challenge series of fundraisers, our goal was not only to raise funds for the work we do here at the Red Cross but also to create an event that would bring together the community in a spirit of unity, support, and fun-filled camaraderie.”

This year’s event showcased an active lineup of exciting competitions, which included traditional favorites like arm wrestling and tug-of-war, alongside engaging challenges such as football tosses, planks, spoon relay races, egg tosses, water balloon tosses, sprint races, and soccer kicks.

Williams added, “The games were not only interactive for the participants but also fun, and I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the Beaches Marlins on winning first place in this year’s competition, as well as the Amanyara Cruisers on their second place and the Beaches Pirates on coming in third, respectively.”

Keneisha Thompson, the Turks and Caicos Athletics Association representative, emphasized, “We commend the teams for their participation, especially as this is the only event in the TCI for sporting participants. Their dedication this year, from organizing the rules to meeting the teams and executing the event, is truly remarkable.”

The annual Red Hot Challenge stands as a cornerstone of the organization’s acclaimed ‘Red Hot’ fundraising series, serving as a pivotal event in the TCI Red Cross’s fundraising initiatives. This series has witnessed the success of two corporate sports days and two fashion extravaganzas. These events not only raise crucial funds but also foster community engagement and support for the humanitarian work of the TCI Red Cross.

Karen Whitt of the Hartling Group, who serves as Chair of the TCIRC Fundraising Committee, commended the participants, stating, “Congratulations to all of the participants; you are all winners for supporting this year’s Red Hot Challenge. The event’s success is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our community to support the vital work of the Red Cross in the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

This year’s team lineup featured the Beaches Marlins, Amanyara Cruisers, Beaches Pirates, NSS Destroyers, CHHS Eagles, Waterloo Worriers, The Palms, Royal TCI Police Enforcers, Louise Garland High School, NCS, The Sands, and The Source. Proud sponsors of the team included The Strand and The Marlin Limited, with Powerade joining as the official drink sponsor of the games.

The next Red Hot Challenge is scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2025, at the National Stadium on Providenciales. For more information on the TCI Red Cross and its activities, please visit their website at https://www.redcross.org.tc/ and follow their social media accounts: Turks and Caicos Red Cross on Facebook and @TCIRedcross_ on Instagram.

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EXPERIENCE TURKS AND CAICOS ROLLS OUT EXQUISTE TURKS AND CAICOS

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, 13th June 2024– Experience Turks and Caicos is set to roll out a new initiative designed to promote immersive tourism in the islands.
Titled ‘Exquisite Turks and Caicos’, this immersive tourism programme, conceptualised by the Strategic Development Unit, collaborates closely with industry partners to curate and deliver on niche product offerings and services to enhance our visitors’ overall experience.
 
Focused on adding significant value in education, culture, history, eco-friendliness, entertainment, engagement, and affordability, the programme has identified priority areas through which new or existing micro and small businesses can partner. The programme targets businesses that are land-based, water-based (excluding dive and charters), and involved in the promotion of the cultural arts, nature and wildlife, gastronomy, agriculture and heritage. The goal of Exquisite Turks and Caicos is to ensure that the traveller will walk away not only having an exquisite experience, but a learned one that will be treasured always.
 
“Immersive Tourism is about creating compelling and interactive visitor experiences through strategic partnerships with local vendors. It goes beyond traditional sightseeing and offers travellers a deeper connection to the destination’s culture, history, and environment,” says Mr. Courtney Robinson, Strategic Development Manager.
 
“‘Exquisite Turks and Caicos’ is our commitment to our pillar of Inclusive Growth which ensures that everyone in the Turks and Caicos Islands benefit from the tourism industry through the enhancement of our offerings. It extends beyond the warm smiles, white sandy beaches or picturesque landscapes; it is a promise to curate and deliver on experiences that create memories, that resonate with the soul of every traveller,” he added.
 
Mr. Robinson will visit Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos and South Caicos to meet with business owners about the programme.

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Joint Operations Result in Interception of Illegal Migrants in Providenciales

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#RoyalTCIPolice, #Providenciales, June 10, 2024 – The Royal Bahamas Defence Force intercepted an illegal sloop transporting SIXTY-SIX (66) irregular migrants on the evening of June 9th, 2024.

The detained group, comprising FIFTY-FIVE (55) males and ELEVEN (11) females, was
intercepted in TCI waters and handed over to the TCI Immigration Task Force for processing.

On June 8th, the Marine Branch of the RTCIPF intercepted a blue and white fibreglass boat
carrying thirty-two (32) irregular migrants.

The boat was spotted 27 miles east of South Caicos and found to be transporting twenty-six (26)
males and six (6) females. The irregular migrants were handed over to Immigration for
processing.

These successful interdictions came following information obtained from a US Customs and
Border Force aircraft.

A joint operation conducted on June 7th has led to the detention of irregular migrants in Blue
Hills. Acting on the information received, authorities detained forty-eight (48) individuals
running along a beach.

Officers conducted extensive searches of surrounding areas, and tragically, the body of a female
was found at Pigeon Pound. Further investigations are ongoing, but it is believed the incident is
linked to a vessel attempting to enter the country illegally.

Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police (Specialist Tactical Operations) Mat Newton states, “I
wish to thank all law enforcement agencies for their invaluable assistance in intercepting illegal
sloops attempting to enter the TCI. Your dedication and collaboration have been instrumental in
ensuring national security and protecting our borders. Our Radar, Marine and Drone units, the
TCI Regiment, the Immigration Task Force, and the Customs Department conducted the
operations.

“The RTCIPF strongly condemns the attempts to enter the TCI illegally. Such actions violate the
law and pose severe risks to life, especially in adverse weather conditions.

“We urge those facilitating and encouraging these illegal attempts to consider the severe
consequences. Do not risk your life or the lives of others by embarking on such perilous
journeys.

“I am also grateful to those people from our communities who report suspicious activity relating
to illegal migration and would urge the public to continue keeping us informed.”
The RTCIPF asks the public to notify the closest police station, contact 911, the Serious Crime
Unit at 231-1842, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-8477 to anonymously provide any information on
illegal entry into the TCI.

Additionally, individuals are encouraged to download the Crimestoppers P3 app to share
information anonymously.

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