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Two American Tourists charged with Ammo Possession will know their fate in SEVEN days



Photo by Wilke Arthur

Wilkie Arthur
Freelance Court Correspondent

#TurksandCaicosIslands, May 22, 2024 – Two American tourists from two separate arrests and both charged with possession of ammunition in two separate matters demanding the expertise of two local attorneys making their cases before two high court justices.

The defendants are from two different States and their matters were called on the same date while unfolding in the courtroom on two different islands.


RYAN TYLER WATSON of Oklahoma and TYLER WENRICH of Virginia both appeared in the Turks and Caicos Islands Supreme Court on the same date of Tuesday, May 21st, 2024.

WATSON was in the Providenciales Supreme Court before her Ladyship Ms Tanya Lobban Jackson and TYLER WENRICH was in Grand Turk before his Lordship The Hon Mr Justice Davidson Kevin Baptiste.

Their attorneys are Mr. Oliver Smith KC and Senior Human Rights Attorney Ms Sheena Mair, respectively.

For RYAN WATSON, the case was listed for an application filed by his attorney KC Smith to expedite the proceedings. We can recall that he was remanded to prison on April 23rd and released on bail on the 24th by the Supreme Court.

Watson’s case was adjourned to a sufficiency hearing date of June 7, 2024.

The case was moved to Tuesday May 21st on an application by his defense counsel and the matter is now set for Plea and Directions Hearing ( PDH) in seven days which is May 28th, 2024.

This is indeed a jump from the June sufficiency hearing date, now WATSON if he pleads guilty, could be sentenced soon and his matter expedited for a quick close.


As for TYLER WENRICH in the Grand Turk Supreme Court, his judge heard sentencing submissions from his attorney, Ms. Sheena Mair and Mr Clement Joseph of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

We will outline some of the arguments put forward by the defense and the prosecution in the Grand Turk Supreme Court.

At the conclusion of both sides’ arguments, the judge adjourned the actual sentence for a date to be fixed within the next seven days.

Here are the arguments his Lordship Justice Davidson Kevin Baptiste are considering for or against TYLER WENRICH.

He was supported in court by his father, Michael Wenrich, and a United States of America Embassy representative, Mr. Lance Petererson, who flew in from Nassau Bahamas for the proceeding which was also being covered by a leading American broadcaster station, ABC News.

The Court proceeding was delayed some 30 minutes at 10am to ensure the indictment read, the charge of two counts of possession of ammunition was worded correctly (there was a difference between the police report and court’s indictment).

Tyler, a cruise ship passenger at the time of his arrest is charged with having two rounds of 9mm bullets in his carry-on bag.

Human Rights Senior Defense Sheena Mair begins her oral argument, having previously filed her written submissions.

Ms. Mair urged the Court to accept exceptional circumstances in this case for a lesser sentence.

She referred to the Attorney General’s reference that protect against an arbitrary and disproportionate sentence. She submitted that, “A mandatory minimum of 12 years in this case is not what Parliament intended with the firearm ordinance change in October 2022.”

“Tyler’s sentencing will not fix the gun issue in this jurisdiction,” argued Ms.Mair.

Adding that the court would not be undermining Parliament’s decision by using a holistic approach to this case, taking all that was presented into consideration as especially exceptional circumstances.

Mair dealt with the fact that Tyler’s carry-on bag, both TSA/Port Authority, missed the bullets in his flight to Miami from Virginia and him boarding the cruise. He did check his bag, but because the two bullets fell into the lining of a small pocket of the bag, it was impossible to see them.

“This is an offense of inadvertence,” as it is Tyler’s first trip outside the continental United States. He was only on the island for nine hours.

Mair then detailed Tyler’s great character, as a paramedic and volunteer EMT for underserved communities in Virginia. He had 17 character references submitted to the judge. He has no criminal record. She classified these characteristics as “mitigating circumstances,” a reason for a lesser sentence.

He does yard work for elderly homes.

Mair commented on the mandatory minimum of 12 years: “That is not required as a deterrent.”

She made several points on how the Ordinance is meant to deter offenders with criminal intent, not tourists.

“If Tyler knew the bullets were in the bag, he would have removed them immediately.”

Counsel Mair then detailed and outlined previous case authorities such as Michael Grimm and Dave O’Connor.

O’Connor had 44 rounds (received a fine) and Grimm had 20 rounds (8 months custodial sentence). In both cases, she said, the Court of Appeal defended the finding of exceptional circumstances.

Mair described the exception circumstance of health – relating to the impact Tyler’s absence has had on his 18-month-old son Everett.

“He’ll never get that time back with his son.”

Tyler’s 14 days in custody between jail at the police station and on remand at His Majesty’s Prison were also documented. Mair argued that since Tyler spent nearly a month of a custodial sentence, that time should be considered in the sentencing or act as the sentencing itself.

The Attorney General’s report on the Court of Appeal ruling does not specify how long a sentence should be. The Court of Appeals is open to a short, lesser sentence.

“However small” was repeated by Mair, highlighting that any amount of time, even a day of custody would be deemed proportionate.

“How does a 12-year sentence deter a mistake?”

General deterrence has already worked for Tyler, he has learned his lesson and paid the ultimate price, rested the Defence.


Principle Public Prosecutor, Mr. Clement Joseph who appeared remotely, offered three pillars in his argument: knowledge, custody, and control.

He maintained that there are no exceptional circumstances to prove that Tyler did not possess those three aspects relating the two rounds of ammo.

Joseph began by clarifying Parliament’s definition of exceptional “something that is completely out of the ordinary.”

Joseph argued that since the cases of Americans being detained have exploded in the past two months, these circumstances/mistakes cannot be unique.

“The circumstances the defendant has provided are truly not exceptional.”

Joseph blamed the State Department, the US Embassy, and even travel booking websites for not providing a more clear travel advice including the punishment for possession of ammo.

“Re-boarding a cruise to leave Turks & Caicos is not unique or exceptional. Ammo is more dangerous than a firearm. We are not bound by US laws, we cannot be bound by rules that do not apply in Turks and Caicos,” he said.

Prosecutor Joseph then made claims against the American security apparatus, saying that security efforts in TCI are more effective than those in the US.

“If the US found ammo coming back in from a foreign country, the US would be threatened. Security is paramount to the US.”

The uptick in gun murders in 2022 led to the Turks and Caicos parliament instituting the 12-year sentence in October 2022.

The dominant purpose to go from 7 to 12 years was the “deterrence of future offenders”

A “harsh and draconian punishment is proportionate.”

Mr. Joseph argued that Tyler’s guilty plea should not reduce his sentencing whatsoever.

He stated that parliament did not differentiate between ammo and a firearm in the Ordinance. The two are on equal footing in the eyes of the law, he confirmed.

He then went on to invite the Court to consider a new line of argument never advanced before in any of the other firearms cases regarding the prison ordinance. He said. Secondary legislation (Prison Conduct Regulations) cannot trump or usurp primary legislation (Firearms Ordinance), the required custodial sentence should not be impacted by lower-level rulings.

The principal public prosecutor offered that Tyler’s previous 14-day custody should be subtracted from his overall sentence and not be considered the sentence in itself as submitted by defence attorney Sheena Mair.
On that note, the Prosecution then rested its case.


Ms. Mair in her closing submissions said Grand Turk prison rules/regulations (involving a lighter sentence for good behavior, where the detainee serves 2/3 of their sentence) are not in the judge’s jurisdiction.

She outlined that Michael Grimm received a shorter sentence due to good behavior.

These exceptional circumstances must be looked at individually and holistically, she reiterated.

It is exceptionally unique that Tyler’s case took place at a cruise port and his bag check was initiated by Royal Caribbean security.

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Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands, 14th June 2024 – Sponsored by F Chambers and Islands Printing, and in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, on June 4, 2024 saw a keenly contested Primary Schools Spelling Bee.

After an intense competition, we are thrilled that Marbelli Costillo of these amazing sixteen (16) spellers emerged victorious as the top speller. Marbelli represented Provo Christian School. We are extremely proud of each and every one of the spellers who showcased their exceptional spelling skills and represented their schools with excellence.

To the spellers we can say that your hard work, determination, and dedication have truly paid off. Your commitment to learning and your passion for language have set you apart as outstanding spellers and students.

Congratulations once again to all the participants. Keep reaching for the stars and never stop exploring the power of words!

Sixteen (16) spellers from across the country competed for the coveted title of Champion Speller, they included:

Adelaide Oemler Primary: Amber Gonzales and Coach Stafford Salmon

Alpha Christian Academy: Elaynie Regis and Coach Heather Robertson

B.E.S.T. Institute: Sydney Kay Brisbane and Coach Tanisha Rigby

C Hubert James Primary: Tivon Wright and Coach Uldean Harris-Wright

Community Christian Academy: Khamora Coalbrooke and Coach Glenda Jones

Eliza Simons Primary: Kevaun Lamoy Lewis and Coach Althia Rocke

Enid Capron Primary: Herifer Fermin and Coach Elizabeth Vandenburg

Ianthe Pratt Primary: Karessa Wynter and Coach Daniela Carroll

Iris Stubbs Primary:  Hernadgeka Pierre and Coach Debrica Davids-Beckford  
International School of the TCI: Lola Jimenez and Coach Iman Rudi-Bonotti

Ona Glinton Primary: Malachi Warlock and Coach Jacqueline Henry

Oseta Jolly Primary: Edley Charles and Coach Tevyon Lewis

Precious Treasures International School: Jaden James and Coach Monique Fletcher

Provo Christian Academy: Marbelli Castillo and Coach Terry-Ann Roberts

Richmond Hill Preparatory: Dabria Thomas and Coach Veranick Burrick-Sinclair

Shining Stars Preparatory: Danae Leslie and Coach Aldith Campbell

The top Three winners were

Winner  Marbelli Castillo, Provo Christian School

1st Runner Up Jaden James, Precious Treasures International School

2nd Runner Up Lola Jimenez, International School of the Turks & Caicos

The following prizes were sponsored by Sponsors F Chambers, Island Printing & TCI Paint

Grand Prize/Winner: MacBook Air

1st Runner Up Prize: Apple iPad Mini

2nd Runner Up Prize: Apple iPad Mini

Top 7 of final 10: Asus Memo Tablet

Remaining Participants: $50 gift certificates

Complimentary Trophies for everyone

The Champion Coach received a Lenovo laptop sponsored by the Department of Education

A special thank you is extended to all volunteers who helped to make the competition a success:

CHAIRPERSON Ms Jacqueline Henry

SCORERS Ms Evadne Williams and Mr David Bowen

JUDGES Mrs Claudette Dean, Pastor Pedro S Williams and Mrs. Latoya Skippings

PRONOUNCERS Ms Shelaine Been and Ms. Kawanza Morley

TIMEKEEPER  Mr. Jermaine Fulford

Profound thank you is extended to Ms. Tanya Swann, Director of Sales and her team of Groups and Conventions at Beaches Turks and Caicos for coordinating the hosting of the event at the resort and providing complimentary snacks.

Commenting as Lead Sponsor: Mark Fulford Managing Partner of F Chambers said “It’s good to see a growing participation in the TCI National Spelling Bee. This year we saw 16 schools compete and the energy and healthy spirit of competition grew as well. As sponsors we will continue to work with the Ministry of Education to raise the caliber of this prestigious event. It is always a pleasure to give back and we salute our corporate friends at TCI Paint who joined hands with us again to make all the donations a reality. Congratulations to the 2024 winner……and all the participants on a Job well done. It is evident that a lot of work was put in and simply making it to the National Spelling Bee deserves recognition.”

Minister of Education, Hon. Rachel Taylor extended congratulation to all sixteen (16) schools who participated in this year’s National Spelling Bee. They are all winners and have represented their schools well! Special commendation to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners whose efforts have aided in their victory. Through this event, our young spellers experience the joy of learning new words, understanding their pronunciation and meanings, enhancing their spelling skills, and enriching their vocabulary. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to the brave young ladies and gentlemen chosen to represent their schools. I also express sincere gratitude to the teachers, members of the Education Department led by Mrs. Sarah Kennedy and our private partners for their dedication to the success of this event. My Ministry views these events as crucial for the overall development of our children.

The Ministry and Department of Education event coordinator, Mrs. Sarah Kennedy commended the participants for not only demonstrating their spelling prowess but also their ability to handle pressure with grace. “We applaud your achievements and the dedication you have shown to honing your spelling skills. Each one of you is a shining example of the values we hold dear for the future for our beautiful by nature islands”.

She also expressed heartfelt gratitude to the coaches and parents who have provided guidance, support, and encouragement to our spellers throughout their preparation for this competition. Your unwavering belief in their abilities has played a vital role in their success.

Turks and Caicos Islands National Primary School Spelling Bee continues to promote success  and again we say thanks to the sponsorship of the leading corporate sponsors, F Chambers and Island Printing, TCI Paint, FLOW, Radio Turks & Caicos and Beaches Turks & Caicos.

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Life Sentence for “Mad Max”



#TurksandCaicos, June 18, 2024 – KENDALL RONDRE DEAN has been sentenced to LIFE IMPRISONMENT for the murder of JOSHUA SWANN.  Mr. Dean, also known as “Maddie,” “Mad Max,” and “Dre,” was sentenced on June 10th, 2024, to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 30 years.

A nine-member jury found Mr. Dean guilty on April 22nd in the Grand Turk Supreme Court.  Based on the evidence presented, Mr. SWANN of Five Cays was shot multiple times about the body on Sunday, August 8th, 2021, while at North West Point in Providenciales.

Mr. Swann was transported to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.  Detectives of the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) received a report, and following intensive investigations and interviews, Mr. Dean was arrested and subsequently charged.

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Two Robbery Matters called at June Sufficiency Hearings



Wilkie Arthur

Eagle Legal News Media



#TurksandCaicos, June 18, 2024 – He’s 53 years old and from the nation’s capital of Grand Turk, Turks, and Caicos Islands.

He appeared before her Ladyship, the Hon Chief Justice Mrs. Mable Agyemang on Friday 10th June charged with Robbery.

At the Sufficiency Hearing (SH) proceedings, his attorney, Mr. Ashwood Forbes, a senior defense counsel, quite rightly did not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence against his client, and the matter proceeded to trial by orders of the Chief Justice.

The accused ANTHONY FRANKLIN SEYMOUR, aka Tony, remained on remand at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Grand Turk.

FRANDY MERONE of Providenciales is also charged with Robbery and other offenses. His sufficiency proceedings were adjourned to the next sufficiency of July 4, 2024. The reason this man’s matter could not proceed was that he was not represented at the hearing. This is due to the fact that he had just applied for legal aid the day before the SH.

The Chief Justice was not pleased with what she had heard from the accused, and she did attempt – twice – to proceed with the matter as it was MERONE’S fault he did not have an attorney.

The CJ eventually granted the adjournment to the next sufficiency hearing proceedings in July.

The defendant will be joined by his co-accused, at the hearing in July through video link from His Majesty’s Prison.

MERONE is on bail, but his co-accused is in prison as he was unable to find anyone to sign his $7,500.00 bail, offered by the learned Chief Magistrate Mr. Jolyon Hatmin, when the matter was transferred to the Supreme Court.

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