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We are under a threat and should be treated as such

Introduction

Hurricane Fiona was a threat to the Turks and Caicos Islands and so the National Disaster Committee was activated and headed by Acting Governor, Her Excellency Anya Williams and was able to engage various stakeholders and many volunteers to address and develop plans to deal with Hurricane Fiona.

I believe the crime situation in the Turks and Caicos is a national crisis and should be treated also as an emergency. Therefore, we need to engage various stakeholders. I know there is a National Security Council in the Turks and Caicos of which comprises some of the following members: the Governor, the Premier, Commissioner of Police, the Superintendent of Her Majesty Prison and the Attorney General. However, this council needs to be expanded and should include individuals from the Labour Department, Social Welfare and Education. There should also be a subcommittee of other stakeholders such as pastors, parents and volunteers.

The National council and the subcommittee should develop strategies to deal with crime situation and should meet as frequently as possible like what the National Disaster did during and after the preparation of Hurricane Fiona.

We are under a threat

I think the threat of murders in our country is more dangerous than the threat of a Hurricane. I made that statement because there were no fatalities over the last couple of years from Hurricanes. However, we have 8 murders already in September and 18 for the year. When you compared this to our population, this is very high per capita and is higher than our neighbours.

The murder of one person is a threat to our country let alone 18. In 2021, there were 13, 22 in 2020, 13 in 2019, 8 in 2018 and 4 in 2017. If we do not get this under control, this will become a way of life for some individuals and this of course will be a threat to the residents. Some may argue and say that it is not threat to them because they are minding their own business, but we cannot take anything for granted because we do not what is going on in the minds of individuals and furthermore, you may be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Many of the victims are young Turks and Caicos Islanders men and if that is not a threat, then I don’t know what that is.

Our economy is totally dependent on tourism and when the news of this threat becomes public, this can be deterrent for tourists. We promote the Turks and Caicos as a safe destination but if this rate continues, we cannot longer say it is safe and so this is a major threat. While these murders are not taking place in the areas where tourists stay, but if it is not controlled, it can possibly happen anywhere and furthermore once Turks and Caicos is mentioned with the number of murders, it will not matter where the murders are taking place.

Treat the situation as an emergency and disaster

I think the various stakeholders did their job in planning and preparing for the Hurricane. It is time now that the relevant authorities do their jobs in dealing with crime. It is time that the Government, the Governor, the Police, Various Government Departments, and parents treat this as a crisis. We need to burn the midnight oil and strategize because what we are doing now is not working. Ultimately the Police is responsible for catching these criminals. I don’t know what is going on behind the scenes, but the Police is not caching the criminals. The Social Welfare need to work with the labour Department and Education to formalize a strategy to deal with the root causes of crime. We need to pressure the Government continuously to deal with crime and make that their priority and they need to take some drastic steps.

We don’t know who in this country is. We don’t have a database of fingerprints in this country. We are not hearing from the Police often enough. Don’t wait until a murder takes place. Of course, we do not expect the police to tell the public all their plans as it can jeopardize their security plans but the public needs to see some actions such as the arrests of the right individuals.

There needs to be constant communication with the public. There must be constant visibility of the police in the community. Our borders need to be checked daily as too many drugs and guns are entering the country. We need some social programs that are effective.

Conclusion

I believe we can alleviate the crime situation in this country. However, it does not appear to be a priority and it only becomes a priority a few days when a crime takes place. This is an emergency, and the Government should treat the crime situation as an emergency. The people must demand this daily.

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