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Opposition Leader says Legislative change on Gun Laws balances Justice

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, June 18, 2024 – The Leader of the Opposition in the Turks and Caicos Island (TCI), Edwin Atwood says the removal of the mandatory 12-year sentence of persons found guilty of firearm offences “ensures a more balanced approach to justice.”

Reacting to the June 14 decision by the TCI House of Assembly, Mr. Astwood said it was a “pivotal amendment” to the Firearms (Amendment) Bill 2024, introducing a “significant clarification” regarding judicial discretion in sentencing for firearms-related offenses.

“Allowing for fairer and more individualised sentencing that better reflects the nuances of each case. I want to emphasise the importance of this amendment in ensuring that the judiciary can administer justice more equitably. This legislative change is a critical step in ensuring our legal system is both just and flexible,” he said.

The amendments mean that is a supreme court judge deems that there are exceptional circumstances in cases of persons in possession of illegal firearms, and or ammunition, they can impose a fine, or a custodial sentence, or both a fine, and a custodial sentence.

Before the change, Section 3(3) of the Firearms Ordinance required the Supreme Court to impose a mandatory minimum sentence of 12 years, and a fine for selected offences.

The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that the amendment was introduced to address concerns about the rigidity of the previous sentencing framework, which mandated both imprisonment and financial penalties for all firearms offenses, regardless of the specific context or severity.

“This often resulted in disproportionately harsh sentences that did not always fit the nature of the crime or the circumstances of the offender. Key Points of the Amendment: – Judicial Discretion: judges can now consider the unique aspects of each case and determine the most appropriate sentence, whether it be a custodial sentence, a fine, or a combination of both,” he said.

Mr. Astwood noted that in exceptional circumstances, the discretion is particularly aimed at cases where extraordinary circumstances warrant a departure from the standard sentencing requirements, and that not all cases are alike and that our judges must have the ability to consider all factors and impose sentences that are truly just and appropriate.

He further added that while the State must uphold the rule of law, the Opposition believes that the legal system must be flexible enough to consider extenuating circumstances and to differentiate between individuals who pose a genuine threat and those who may have no criminal intent and unknowingly violate the law.

“As Leader of the Opposition, I had fully agreed to have this Amendment Bill go through all three readings and on to passage in the sitting today. The Opposition Appointed Member and I believe it will lead to fairer outcomes and better serve the principles of justice.”

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Tim and Henry to the Rescue: A Harrowing Search and Rescue Mission Highlights Need for Marine Vessel in Grand Turk

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#TurksandCaicos, July 12, 2024 – At approximately 2:45 pm on July 12th, a 911 emergency call came in from the police department in Grand Turk, informing Ed Forbes of a distressing situation. Four young adult tourists had gone out on paddle boards off Cork Tree Beach in Grand Turk, when one of them fell off the board and could not get back on. Evidently, they underestimated the wind speed and their own brute strength.

Ed Forbes, co-owner of Exclusive Escapes Grand Turk, played a pivotal role in coordinating the rescue. Responding swiftly to the emergency call, he immediately reached out to the local search and rescue team. His prompt actions and calm demeanor were instrumental in mobilizing the necessary resources.

Within 20 minutes or so, Tim from Emerald Escapes, along with Henry and Kindry from Blue Water Divers, were on the scene. Their experience and swift response were crucial in ensuring the safety of the stranded paddleboarders. Working seamlessly together, they managed to locate and rescue all four individuals without any need for medical attention.

However, this incident also underscores a critical issue that has long plagued Grand Turk: the need for a dedicated marine vessel for search and rescue operations and cruise passengers incidents. Despite numerous promises made to concerned citizens over the years, this vital resource remains unavailable.

The swift response of Tim, Henry, and Kingdry highlights the community’s resilience and dedication, but it also brings to light the gaps in emergency preparedness that could be addressed with better equipment and support.

A dedicated marine vessel would significantly enhance the efficiency and safety of rescue operations, ensuring that responses to such emergencies are even more effective.

Ed Forbes
Concerned Citizen

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Invest TCI Opens New Office in Grand Turk

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PRESS RELEASE

 

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – July 11th, 2024—Invest Turks and Caicos Islands (Invest TCI) proudly announces the launch of its new office in Grand Turk, located at the Digicel Building on Old Airport Road. The grand opening of the new location occurred on Friday, July 5th, 2024, under the theme “Empowering Enterprises in the Capital.”

The establishment of the new office marks a significant milestone in Invest TCI’s growth strategy. The primary objective of the expansion is to provide enhanced services and support to the business community in Grand Turk. By increasing operational capacity, Invest TCI aims to facilitate sustained growth and success for enterprises within the country.  Beyond economic advancement, this initiative is set to yield substantial community benefits, including the creation of employment opportunities.

The grand opening ceremony attracted a diverse range of attendees, including recipients of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) programme, members of the business community, government officials, and Invest TCI staff. The event was moderated by Mr. Keno Forbes, Vice President of Investor Services. Special remarks were delivered by the Premier, Hon. Charles Washington Misick, who congratulated the InvestTCI team on their hard work and encouraged the community to take advantage of the benefits offered by the new office. He reiterated the government’s commitment to creating a supportive environment for businesses in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Additional remarks were provided by Invest TCI Chairperson, Ms. Cindy Ewing; Business Advisor, Ms. Lashena Simmons; Director of the Business Support Unit, Mrs. Anissa Adderley; and Vice President of SME, Ms. Alexa Cooper. Their contributions highlighted the collaborative effort and dedication that have driven the success of Invest TCI initiatives.

Expressing her enthusiasm for the new office, Invest TCI CEO, Mrs. Angela Musgrove, stated, “Our vision is clear and compelling: to further empower Invest Turks and Caicos Islands, the agency offers incentives and support that enable more efficient and innovative practices. We are committed to helping businesses thrive, and in doing so, we are helping our entire community.”

Invest TCI recognizes the integral role that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises play in the economic and social development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Through its Business Support Unit, the agency provides comprehensive support services to startups and existing entrepreneurs, ensuring they have the tools and resources to succeed.

The grand opening of the new office in Grand Turk represents a significant step forward in Invest TCI’s mission to support and empower businesses across the islands. The agency looks forward to fostering economic growth and development and ensuring a prosperous future for all.

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LAST AMERICAN TOURIST SENTENCED TO A FINE OF $1500.00 OR SIX MONTHS IMPRISONMENT IN DEFAULT, SHE’S ALSO SENTENCED TO 23 WEEKS IMPRISONMENT SUSPENDED FOR ONE YEAR

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(Thursday, July 11th, 2024) Turk and Caicos Islands – The last of five American tourists arrested in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) for being in unlawful possession of  ammunition could finally leave the TCI today, Thursday, July 11th, 2024.

Sharitta Grier 46 pleaded guilty on 25th June to having two rounds of.38 ammunition in her bags, at the Howard Hamilton International Airport in Providenciales on Monday 13th May, 2024, when leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands after a surprised Mother’s Day vacation trip, from her daughters.

Her Ladyship The Hon. Ms. Tanya Lobban-Jackson agreed with senior defense counsel, Ms. Sheena Mair of F-Chambers that there are exceptional circumstancés in Grier’s case, by this, the court departed from the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment and ordered a lighter sentence of $1500.00 or Six months imprisonment if fine is not paid. She’s also sentenced to 23 weeks imprisonment suspended for one year.

Holding for the office of the Director of Public Prosecution via link was Dr. Angela Terry Brooks, deputy director of the DPP’S office.

The prosecution office did oppose exceptional circumstances and invited the court to impose the mandatory minimum sentence of twelve years imprisonment.

A more detailed court report will follow.

Wilkie Arthur
Court Correspondent
Eagle Legal News Media

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