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Reflecting on Parents’ Pain as Hope is high for impact of ‘Reaching the Streets’

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Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

As a 16-year-old boy is awaiting charges after being held by police for gun possession, the Turks and Caicos begins its “Reaching the Streets’ Program is wrapped up its Providenciales tour, and is onto Grand Turk in an effort to steer young people away from the jaws of the criminal underworld.

The initiative led by David Burrows and supported by the government and Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) opened on May 6th and last until May 8th in Providenciales followed by a similar session in Grand Turk until May 11.

The aim? To sharpen the eyes, ears, and mentoring skills of Turks and Caicos residents in an effort to have a population that can quickly recognize, interrupt, and lead young people, especially young men, away from criminal activity. 

Criminality has attacked the Turks and Caicos’ young men hardest, sweeping through their ranks. Some are dead, cooling 6 feet under, others are in prison for drug and gun possession, even murder, and a few have fled the country. 

One grieving mother Cherrybelle Smith, her son killed on January 3, 2024, said, “I beg all of y’all, let there be peace. Bring union, love peace. We don’t want any more young people [dying] look at all these handsome young men gone and left all these pretty girls with no men, y’all please stop. Give it up man,” she said, a lighthearted yet serious attempt at addressing the issue that took her son.

On February 8, 2024, one father spoke directly to Magnetic Media, his own son having just been killed hours earlier.

 “None of them can come up and say I do this because of that or I hate you because of this, the just- it’s just foolishness. I think [it’s] attitude, ‘hard mouth’. Back in the days it used to be a little fist fight, but now these fellas using guns, these children need to come together, somebody needs to get these children together and make peace or else we won’t have no young folks here” the parent told us. 

“Hurt isn’t even the word for what people are going through at this point,” Paula Arthur-Rigby, mother of Ahsaam Ahkeem Ali Arthur-Astwood said speaking via Facebook Live. Her son was killed on September 2nd, 2022, her brother was killed on July 5, 2023. 

For many parents and loved ones the pain can only be fully translated with a scream, a wail brought up from the stomach, witnessed by residents, politicians, by our own news team, over and over. It highlights the urgent need for participation in the upcoming program from all able residents and organizations. 

Leading the program will be four men, introduced to the public by TCIG.

Foremost, Pastor Dr. David Burrows, a Global Youth and Family specialist, who has advised the Bahamas Government on youth matters and served on councils advocating for youth issues. 

Dr Eric Fox who has been working in anger management for the past 30 years, following intensive training in the United States, El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica, and Barbados. Presently, Fox serves as the Executive Director of “Teen Challenge Bahamas.”

Dr. Carlos Reid, (mentored by the late Dr. Myles Munroe), is in a unique position to speak as a former career criminal now a prominent figure in the Bahamas, focusing on youth work and community development TCIG says. He founded “Youth Against Violence,” aimed at guiding the younger generation towards positive influences. 

Finally, Orlando ‘Landlord’ Miller, who rose from humble beginnings in the Bahamas to become a successful figure in the gospel music industry.

“I am going on this trip because the older men who came before me who have poured into my life saw what I’ve become because of the knowledge they poured into me. They want to replicate that same thing in Turks and Caicos because if it has worked for me, it can work for them too,” said Landlord ahead of his arrival in the Turks and Caicos.

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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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TCI News

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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