Official Visit to South Caicos

Honourable Arlington Musgrove, Minster of Immigration and Border Services, accompanied by Honourable Otis Morris, Minister of Home Affairs, Energy and Utilities and Transportation, All Island Elected Member of Parliament - Honourable Shaun Malcolm, Desmond Wilson, Permanent Secretary within the Ministry, Mr. Floyd Ingham, Acting Chief Executive Officer, CEO of the Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority, TCIAA and Mr. Emmanuel Rigby, Acting Chief Operations Officer, COO, visited South Caicos on Tuesday, 4th May 2021.

Upon arrival at South Caicos Airport, the team were met by the Mrs. Yvette Cox, District Commissioner and Honourable John Malcolm, Member of Parliament for South Caicos.

The team toured the current construction works for the new terminal, the new fire hall and maintenance site, as well as identified a new location for a temporary terminal, to be erected for use by the traveling public.

Honourable Musgrove in his comments stated, “while I am pleased to be in South Caicos, I am not pleased with the progression of this multimillion-dollar project and as such, we need to take the necessary steps to ensure that we obtain value for money.”

Honourable Musgrove added, “it is very disappointing that a temporary structure was not erected to accommodate the traveling public to and from South Caicos. This is unacceptable and will be rectified immediately.”

Prior to their departure, the team visited their staff at Customs and Immigration departments on South Caicos.

Successful Interception of an Illegal Migrant Vessel – 3 May 2021

Cockburn Town, Grand Turk; The Ministry of Immigration and Border Services’ Immigration Department is pleased to announce the successful interception of an illegal migrant vessel in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).

As a result of a report by vigilante fishermen, an illegal migrant vessel was intercepted by the Marine Branch of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force at approximately 12:06 pm on Sunday, 2nd May 2021 in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands, in the vicinity of Ambergris Cay.

This resulted in twenty-three (23) persons being successfully apprehended inclusive of seventeen (17) Haitian males, five (5) Haitian females and one (1) Jamaican male.

All persons were taken to the Providenciales Immigration Detention Center for further processing.

In commenting on the interception, Hon Arlington Musgrove stated, “I must say a big thank you to our local fishermen who recognized their role in helping to secure our borders as well as to our partners the Fisheries Department and our Immigration Officers on both South Caicos and Providenciales, for their rapid response."

Hon Musgrove would also like to remind the public that illegal migration remains everyone's business and the sooner we recognize this, the sooner we will put a stop to these illegal sloops, together.

The public is remained that a person who is found to be in contravention of the Immigration Ordinance and commits an offence of harbouring is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $20,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term of four years, or to both.

The public is also reminded to continue to provide tips or any information related to this or any other illegal landing. We encourage the public to submit information or tips anonymously in English, French or Spanish to www.crimestoppers.tc or on Facebook as a fan of Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos. Person can also call Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos on 1-800-8477. Kindly note that Crime Stoppers tips are received in the USA.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT BY HON. ARLINGTON A. MUSGROVE, MINISTER OF IMMIGRATION, CITIZENSHIP, LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT SERVICES FOR HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY – THURSDAY, 29TH APRIL, 2021

Mr. Speaker, first, let me say good morning to you and the members of this Honorable House, Residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands and those who are listening via Radio, Social Media and the Internet.

Mr. Speaker, Secondly, I would like to thank our Honourable Premier for the confidence he has reposed in me as shown by the additions to my Ministry in his portfolio reshuffle.

Since my last presentation to this Honourable House on Monday 22nd March 2021 as the Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour, and Employment, The Honourable Premier has added to my Portfolio: Customs, Disaster Management, TCI Ports Authority, TCI Civil Aviation and TCI Airports Authority, as well as revised my Ministry to Ministry of Immigration and Border Services.

I commit to the Citizens and Residents of the Turks & Caicos Islands, that I will do my utmost to ensure the protection of these idyllic Islands and to improve our way of life.

Mr. Speaker, in my last Presentation to this Honourable House, I promised to keep this House and the Residents of the TCI informed of the management of our Borders and our interdiction efforts. I must tell you, that Illegal Immigration is real and continues to challenge us. I am pleased to report on the hard work of the Employees of this Ministry and also of our partners in this fight against illegal migrations, who I would like to publicly thank for their untiring work under challenging circumstances.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report, that since my last presentation, three (3) vessels with a combined total of seven hundred and sixty-seven (767) illegals, have been intercepted. In addition to these vessels, we are still intercepting Speed Boats doing Drop Off of Illegals.

Mr. Speaker, My Ministry is committed to the protection of our Borders.

Mr. Speaker, with your leave, I want to wish the Director and staff of the Immigration Department, a happy belated 50th Anniversary.

Mr. Speaker, on March 31st, 2021, the Immigration Department of these Turks and Caicos Islands reached the milestone of 50 years since being established by statue.

Mr. Speaker, in order to recognize this significant achievement and contributions made to the social, cultural and economic landscape of these Islands, the Department will be undertaking a number of social events to commemorate the celebrations.

An Organizing Committee has been established to plan activities.

Mr. Speaker, Plan events include Recognition and Awards Banquet, Island activities and competition for the public and staff, Church Service, Public Relations drive inclusive of radio programmes and community give back. etc.

Mr. Speaker, these activities will be undertaken as the COVID 19 Celebrations enable.

Mr. Speaker, in April, 2020, no one forecasted that by April, 2021:

That there would be 147 million people worldwide, 32.1 million in the United States and 2,376 in the Turks and Caicos Islands infected by the COVID 19 Virus.

  • No one forecasted that 3.1 million worldwide, 572,000 in the United States or 17 persons in the Turks and Caicos would lose their lives to this Virus.
  • No one told us that last week 4 people would die every minute as the clock tick in India because of the CORONA Pandemic.

Mr. Speaker,

  • No one told us that in the last twelve months, 225 million employees worldwide according to the Economic Forum and the International Labour Organization (ILO) would lose their jobs.
  • Nobody told us that 160,000 Business Worldwide would close temporarily and that over 100,000 will never reopen.
  • No one told us that 8 million Americans would fall below the Poverty Line
  • No one told us that the Cruise Industry would come to a grinding halt or that the Airlines Industry, Car Rental Agencies and Hotels would be severely challenged.

Mr. Speaker, as the former Minister responsible for Labour and Employment, I was tasked with finding innovative and creative ways to mitigate these Labour challenges in the TCI and improve the Unemployment Rate. This will be shared to the newly appointed Minister of Labour and Employment Services.

Mr. Speaker, The Turks & Caicos Islands is a popular destination for Private Planes. Here are some facts that the Residents of the archipelagic country should be proud of:

  • With Connections to twenty-one (21) Cities, The Providenciales International Airport has more International Connections than any of the other British Overseas Territories, and it is rated Number Seven (7) overall of twenty Caribbean Countries.
  • In 2014, the Providenciales International Airport was ranked third in the Caribbean for arrivals according to a Sure Club Article dated 30th January 2020.
  • Travel Daily News, 27th February 2020, listed Providenciales International Airport number eight (8) in the Caribbean for Private Jet Aviation.
  • Creative Conscious Evolution on 3rd August 2020, rated Providenciales International Airport number five (5) in the Caribbean for Private Jet Aviation.
  • The AIN FBO (Fixed Base Operations) Survey 1st April 2020, ranked Provo Air Center, at the Providenciales International Airport as #2 in the Caribbean second only to Odyssey Aviation at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.
  • The AIN FBO (Fixed Base Operations) Survey 1st April 2021, list the Provo Air Center, at the Providenciales International Airport as the #1 FBO in the Caribbean followed by Odyssey Aviation in Nassau, Bahamas.
  • Speaker, in its Listings of Best Places to Travel in the Caribbean, US News lists the Turks and Caicos as Number Four (#4) after St. Lucia #1, British Virgin Islands #3 and US Virgin Islands #3.

Mr. Speaker, I now move to report on the challenges and achievements of the Customs Department for FY 2020/21, and plans for FY 2021/22.

Mr. Speaker, for the Financial Year 2020/21, the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the Trade severely curtailed Customs’ 2020-21 revenue forecast.

In the pre pandemic year the department saw revenue collections totaling $130 million, at the end of the Pandemic year the Department saw collections totaling only $76 million, which constituted approximately 60% of the pre pandemic year’s collections.

Mr. Speaker, despite the Pandemic, and the obvious effects of lockdowns, curfews, and social distancing, the Department was able to maximize on the few opportunities available under the circumstances.

One such opportunity being the implementation of Job Queue, an integration of government stand-alone revenue systems, which digitized the entry verification process and improved efficiency and processing time of entries.

Mr. Speaker, the Job Queue system also allows for limited human contact in the Entry Processing Units (EPU) which, unintendedly, is tailor-made for the current Social Distancing environment.

Mr. Speaker, the system limits the duplication of efforts with the paying into both systems SIGTAS and ASYCUDA, as once payment is made in the former it is automatically captured in ASYCUDA World. It offers the potential to generate receipt vouchers and submit to Broker electronically, thereby allowing for greater convenience and facilitation of Trade, one of the Department’s core functions.

Mr. Speaker, despite the limitations created by the Pandemic, the Department continued its joint Law Enforcement operations with the Police and other agencies including Operation Denial, geared towards the interdiction of illegal Haitian migrant vessels.

Mr. Speaker, during the Pandemic the Customs Department opportunised on building capacity among staff, through a series of technical training delivered via electronic platforms including, but not limited to:

  1. Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Programme, World Customs Organisation (WCO)
  2. WCO Introduction to Firearms Trafficking in the Caribbean for Customs, CARICOM IMPACS WCO
  3. International Passenger Interdiction, CARICOM IMPACS
  4. Junior Officer Basic Training, Customs Training Manager
  5. SailClear/Regional Clearance Systems Training, (Pleasure Craft Advance Clearance)
  6. Trade-based Money Laundering, CARICOM IMPACS, United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC GPML) Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF)
  7. Preparation of Case Files (Train the-trainer), Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.
  8. Baggage Scanner (Classroom) Training, Turks and Caicos Airport Authority.

Mr. Speaker, as it relates to the revenue collections Financial year 2021/22, is anticipated to be another challenging year for the Customs Department.

In January 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected 5.5% global growth and 4.1% Caribbean growth for 2021; and “assumed that social distancing will continue into 2021 and then fade over time, as more and more of the world population are vaccinated.

Locally, stakeholders and top importers continue to be conservative in their short term projections though the rebounding of the tourism industry is looking very promising.

Mr. Speaker, with the current trend in visitor interest in our destination, the road back to the robust 2019-20 economic gains for the TCI, which predominantly depends on tourism for GDP growth, is likely to be expedited. According to the IMF, most Caribbean countries will not return to pre-pandemic GDP growth until 2023.

Mr. Speaker, my Government is committed to the facilitation of enforcement, the Customs Department will very shortly commence the use at the borders of two Canine dogs trained to detect, narcotics, weapons and ammunition, and undeclared US currency, over the $10k threshold.  

Mr. Speaker, the Department will also very shortly begin the scanning of passenger baggage and cargo.

Both tools will assist in better detection of illicit goods and thereby enhance border security, and by extension protect the Turks and Caicos Island’s society.

Mr. Speaker, the two major recurrent challenges facing the Customs Department are inadequate staffing and vehicles to carry out their enforcement role.

With the transfer of the Department under my Ministry and the merger with the Immigration Department into the establishment of a Border Force, my Government intends to invest in these areas in the upcoming Financial Years, to ensure that our Border protection mandate is not compromised.

Mr. Speaker, As the Minister responsible for TCI Airport Authority, I want to thank all those responsible for these momentous achievement and I pledge, that we at the Ministry will work with the relevant stakeholders, to do everything possible to maintain and improve our standing and level of service.

Mr. Speaker, on 29th January, 2021, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau instructed all Canadian Airlines to suspend all flights to Mexico and the Caribbean which includes TCI. Along with all the other many issues of the Pandemic, this was another blow to us.

Mr. Speaker, Last week, 21st April, 2021, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the State Department of the United States under President Joe Biden, published a list of Travel Advisories, advising Americans not to travel to many countries. Its highest Advisory Level is 4 and many Caribbean countries including the Turks & Caicos, The Bahamas, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barthelme, St. Martin, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica were on the No Travel List rated at Level 4. Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Montserrat were listed at Level 3 while St. Kitts & Nevis were listed a Level 2.

Mr. Speaker, these Advisories do challenge my Ministry in rethinking the modus operandi of our Protocols at our Ports of Entry.

Mr. Speaker, the Ports Authority Strategic Plan is the basis of work plans. Despite being impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and two delays, the team at the Ports Authority was able to implement all of its Key Programme Strategies outlined in the 2020/21 Budget.

Mr. Speaker, the Ports Authority is on-track to surpass its revised net-revenue transmission target for the year.

Mr. Speaker, the team at Ports Authority was able to complete CCTV projects on both South Caicos and Grand Turk, as well as all post-hurricane rehabilitation projects.

Progress was made to modernize our port infrastructure to support prosperity on all Islands.

Mr. Speaker, a modern port, with new RORO Ramp and asphalt/ concrete container yard pavement, was completed on Grand Turk. This is the ‘gold standard’ for works on all other ports.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise that my government recently approved the Bellefield Landing Welcome Center and South Caicos Port Rehabilitation projects and works should soon commence on these projects.

Mr. Speaker, the pre-qualification exercise for the redevelopment and modernization of South Dock, Providenciales is ongoing. Plans are also on stream for the construction of a port office on Providenciales and are at an advanced stage of appraisal.

The Ports Authority also places emphasis on building sustainable systems and procedures and developing our people. Considerable progress was made in work plans in these critical areas.

Mr. Speaker, during the year, the Board approved several safety policies and procedures covering areas such oil spill containment and port waste management; and the UK Department of Transport approved new Port Facility Security Plans for all ports in the TCI.

Mr. Speaker, the Ports Authority is pleased with the success of its Community Outreach program; which delivered computers to school children and food supplies to needy families during the pandemic.

Mr. Speaker, as part of its future work plans, the Ports Authority will work to consolidate the gains achieved in 2020/21, which lay the basis for a very active 2021/22.

Mr. Speaker, there are planned Capital projects that should commence at all ports.

Mr. Speaker, effort would continue to develop staff and restructure the Ports Authority for a modernized port context.

Mr. Speaker, priority would be accorded to resolving outstanding vesting of properties from the Crown to the Ports Authority, which is crucial to the future development of the Ports throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands and by extension, the TCI as a whole.

Mr. Speaker, June 1st just a few weeks away, is the start of the 2021 Hurricane Season. Meteorologists have forecasted the 2021 Season as a very active season. My Ministry is in the process of reviewing our Disaster Management plans using Lessons Learnt. We will harden our Communications Network with more Satellite Phones. Improve our Shelter Management working with the Churches. Secure Supplies working with Social Services and the Private Sector.

Mr. Speaker, as we approach the beginning of the Hurricane Season (1st June), with the devastating impacts of the twin hurricanes of Irma and Maria in 2017 and hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas in 2019, the images we remember too well, the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies cannot overemphasize the importance of being prepared.

Mr. Speaker, last year the forecasters predicted an active hurricane, and Mr. Speaker, it wasn’t a normal active season, it was an over-active season. In total, the 2020 season produced 30 named storms, of which 13 became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes.

Infact, Mr. Speaker, the TCI was threatened by at least 2 storms.

  • Mr. Speaker, the forecasters are currently predicting 17 named storms, eight (8) hurricanes, and four (4) major hurricanes for the 2021 Atlantic season. This would be above the normal of 12 named storms, six (6) hurricanes, and three (3) major hurricanes.

Mr. Speaker, regardless of the predictions let us remember that it only takes one storm to cause significant impacts to communities and the country at large. Therefore, every one of us have a role to play to reduce the level of impact on our lives and livelihood.

  • Mr. Speaker, the DDME might be a small department but it is a powerful department based on capabilities and expertise.

Mr. Speaker, you will be happy to hear that the Hazard Mitigation and GIS Manager, Mr. Mike Clerveaux has been remotely deployed to support emergency operations to the La Soufriere Volcano in St Vincent and the Grenadines through CDEMA and MapAction.

  • Mr. Speaker, additionally, DDME has completed its shelter inspection in preparation for the 2021 hurricane season and are now preparing to conduct shelter managers training to ensure that we have persons available and capable of managing our shelters should we need to open them. The team has conducted Communications tests using various equipment and Social Media platforms.
  • Mr. Speaker, in order to further Enhanced Emergency Communications, DDME procured three mobile antenna units which will be located on Providenciales, Grand Turk and South Caicos. The project cost approximately $300,000.00.
  • Mr. Speaker, I want to join DDME in thanking FCO for their donations which allowed DDME to develop a Mobile App for sending out alerts and other important information during an emergency. This App will be launched at the beginning of the 2021 hurricane season.
  • Mr. Speaker, what good does it serve you if you know where your shelters are located but cannot access them.

Therefore Mr. Speaker, DDME is currently using GIS technology to determine the best evacuation routes and assembly points for North, Middle and South Caicos in the event of a Tsunami. Maps were produced to show the proposed routes and assembly points.

  • Mr. Speaker, we can contribute and build the country through volunteerism. Throughout the year and even more for this Atlantic Hurricane Season. I would like to encourage the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands to Register with DDME, participate in their training and contribute your time, your labour, and your efforts to prepare and readily restore your community. Volunteerism in Disaster Management is critical towards building a resilient country. It requires “All hands-on Deck”.
  • Mr. Speaker, lastly, I end where I started. DDME will be hosting Hurricane Preparedness Month from May 1-31 2021 with the theme ‘Investing in Mitigation and Preparedness TODAY for a better TOMORROW’. Activities include media launch, church service, townhall meetings, damage assessment training and shelter management training.

On behalf of DDME, I would like to encourage everyone of us to get involved, support the various activities, learn how to better prepare your home and business in the event of a storm. Remember the life that you save could very well be yours.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, I would like to say thank you to my Team at the Ministry as well as the general public for the support and encouragement they continue to give me. I will continue to do my part in protecting our Borders and the rights and privileges of my people.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity and may God continue to bless us all and these Beautiful by Nature Turks and Caicos Islands.

Hon Arlington A. Musgrove

Minister of Immigration and Border Services

29th April 2021

VALIDITY PERIOD FOR A PASSPORT TO ENTER THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

Like many countries, entry into the Turks and Caicos Islands required a passport be valid for at least six (6) months beyond the completion of a trip. In light of the difficulties in renewing passports in many countries during this pandemic, the entry requirement to the Turks and Caicos Islands has been adjusted to accept a passport that has no less than three (3) months validity prior to its expiration upon entry plus.

This policy will come into effect 1st May 2021, and remain in effect for a period of one (1) year and reviewed thereafter.

Travelers must take note that this change in policy is strictly relating to the Turks and Caicos Islands and this policy has no influence over travel requirements for other countries.

Please be guided accordingly

 

SUCCESSFUL INTERCEPTION OF AN ILLEGAL MIGRANT VESSEL

The Ministry of Immigration and Immigration Department is pleased to report the interception of an illegal migrant vessel within the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the “Lil Bluff” area of Providenciales.

The vessel was detected at approximately 11:24 pm by the Border Force Unit (formerly Coastal Radar), to which 911 for informed. This led to a pursuit of the vessel by the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Marine division and it was successfully intercepted shortly thereafter.

The vessel was brought into the Port at South Dock, Providenciales, where it was met by additional officers of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force, personnel from the Ministry of Health, Customs and Immigration Department’s Enforcement Unit, who were on scene to conduct the necessary processing.

The vessel had a total of two hundred and fifty-two persons (252) onboard, comprising of one hundred and eighty-four (184) males, sixty-eight (68) females including two (2) minors.

Hon Arlington Musgrove in commenting stated, “I wish to thank all officials involved for their continued hard work and vigilance, we are truly grateful for this. Please let us all remain safe as we continue to do our part in protecting our borders.”

Hon. Arlington Musgrove added, “over the past month there has been four (4) successful interceptions where seven hundred and seventy-one (771) illegal migrants were apprehended. This is staggering and we must and will put a stop to this.”

The repatriation of the two and fifty-two (252) illegal migrants will commence today, to ease the numbers at the Detention Center.

As such, the public is also requested to provide the Police with tips, or any information related to this or any other illegal landing. We encourage the public to submit information or tips anonymously in English, French or Spanish either to www.crimestoppers.tc or on Facebook as a fan of Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos. Crime Stoppers tips are received in the USA on 1-800-84477.

 

ILLEGAL VESSEL LANDING ON SOUTH CAICOS

The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services and the Immigration Department of the Turks and Caicos Islands, would like to advise the general public that during the early morning hours today 12th April 2021, an illegal Haitian vessel made landfall on the Island of South Caicos.

The vessel which was found abandoned, was located on the beach area in close proximity to Sail Rock Resort.

It has not been determined on the number of persons that might have been aboard, however, the search is ongoing. These searches are being done by the Police and Immigration with the assistance of partners,  DECR and Environmental Health

Officers are also monitoring both the sea and airport, as a precaution.

Minister Hon Arlington Musgrove in commenting on this incident stated, “Maritime smuggling operations are dangerous and too frequently end in tragedy and death at sea.   There are many different reasons that migrants attempt such unsafe voyages at sea, but none of them are worth the risk of life. The landing on South Caicos is a further indication of the abuse of our border by persons and this is something that we will not entertain”

The public is reminded that it is an offence to harbour or assist illegal persons and that persons found guilty engaging in such activities are liable to a fine of US$20,000 or a term of imprisonment of four years, or both in accordance with the Immigration Ordinance 2018 Revised or any law.

As such, the public is also requested to provide the Police with tips or any information related to this or any other illegal landing. We encourage the public to submit information or tips anonymously in English, French or Spanish on either to www.crimestoppers.tc or on Facebook as a fan of Crime Stoppers Turks & Caicos. Crime Stoppers tips are received in the USA.

 

 

 

5 SRI LANKANS LEFT

The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services and the Immigration Department, is pleased to announce the departure from the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) of five (5) Sri Lankan nationals to their home country.

The five persons, originally part of a group of twenty-nine, were intercepted by Officers of the Marine Branch of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force on 19th October 2019, while seeking to enter the TCI illegally, aboard a Haitian sloop.

The departure of this group follows that of an another group of six (6) that departed the Islands as part of an ongoing investigation in May 2020, and an Indian national returned to India, late December 2020. The group of five arrived in their home country today 8th April 2021, and are currently in quarantine at a designated hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister responsible for Immigration, in his comments on the matter, stated that he wants to thank all those involved in this exercise and he named a few: The Director, Derek Been, and the Immigration Department in particular Assistant Director of Immigration, Peter Parker; Senior Immigration Officer, Paul Lewis; the Enforcement Unit of the Immigration Dept.; the Police and the International Organization of Migration (IOM), Jamaica.

Hon. Musgrove further encouraged persons involved in illegal migration to cease this illegal behavior, as they will be caught and prosecuted.

With the departure of these five persons, a total of sixteen (16) Sri Lankans remain in the TCI awaiting outcome of their applications for asylum.

Three of these cases are currently with the Governor's Office for consideration on appeal, after being refused by the previous Minister of Immigration. 

SYRIAN NATIONAL SMUGGLED THROUGH THE TCI

My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, I have read with interest an article in one of the local newspapers, speaking about a Syrian national being smuggled through these Turks and Caicos Islands.  

To set the record straight, here are the facts as I know them:

On 8th January 2021 around 8:23am members of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force- Marine Division found a boat in Turk and Caicos Islands waters, in the Northwest Point area of Providenciales, with just one person on board, at the time.

It would later be determined that the boat, which entered the TCI illegally would have had a total of twenty-five (25) persons on board, including twenty-two (22) males of which Mr. Moin Alhashash, was one and three (3) Haitian females.

Mr. Moin was able to be interviewed in creole, through an interpreter, as he spoke creole, having spent fourteen (14) months in Haiti, where he learned the language.

It was never Mr. Moin’s intention to remain in the TCI, as his plan was to go to the United States (Miami, FL), having paid the captain of the Haitian sloop four thousand (US$4,000.00) dollars.

Mr. Moin was arrested and charged by members of the Enforcement Unit under the Immigration Ordinance for the offence of “Unlawful Entry,” to which, he plead guilty.  

The matter was heard before the Chief Justice on 22nd March 2021. Mr. Moin was sentenced to time served and suspended the recommendation for deportation for 6 months.

Subsequent to the hearing and having been advised of the outcome by the Deputy Director of Prosecutions, the Immigration Authorities set matters in motion to secure alternative accommodation for Mr. Moin. By the time application for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus in respect of Mr. Moin was heard before the Supreme Court on 30th March 2021, those arrangements were well advanced and Mr. Moin had been safely relocated by 2:00pm the same day. The release makes the proposed issuance of the writ nugatory and of no effect.

I hasten to add, that the contents of the story are somewhat misleading in certain respect and paints a distorted picture of my Immigration Department and staff. The flagrant allegations of abuse of statutory power is regrettable. The Immigration authorities are not infallible and have made some mistakes, but endeavor as much as possible to keep their processes and operations within the four corners of the law and do not believe themselves to be a superior force entitled to operative above the law.

I can safely say that we have begun to review our processes within the Immigration Detention Center, a process which we will continue to do every six (6) months, with the assistance of our Senior Managers, Legal advisers and other independent and experienced personnel, aimed at improving our staff and services to the public. There is ongoing training in key problem areas and post mortem reports and reviews. Out of these reviews, there were recommendations for improvement and bridging of gaps in both Immigration legislation and policy development and the implementation process for these recommendations has commenced.

It must be noted contrary to assertions made that the Immigration Authorities take seriously any matter of detention and fully understand the constitutional implications of prolonged or any detention.

I should state that the Sri Lankan matter should not be used as a yardstick to measure the competence of the Immigration Department to adequately manage the entry of unlawful immigrants their detention and eventual removal from the Turks and Caicos Islands. The situation with the Sri Lankans was unique and complex and presented its own peculiar challenges, which necessitated the assistance of specially trained investigators. The immediate repatriation of the Sri Lankans was inhibited by the Covid -19 pandemic and eventual closure of jurisdictional borders. That being said, there have been lessons learned and indicators for improvement in certain areas and efforts are already on stream address these issues.

Our standard operating procedures and rules have been set against best world practices and probably mirrors that of the UK. However, we recognize that these procedures require continuous review and oversight and we have already secured assistance to review and update our existing procedures.

In addition, we have the full-time assistance of the Attorney General’s Chambers staff, who continue to work with us, when called upon to do so.  

Finally, we want to once again, encourage all those persons residing among us illegally to leave the TCI as soon as possible or face the consequences.

Thank you and May God continue to bless these Beautiful by Nature Turks and Caicos Islands

 

Hon Arlington Musgrove
Minister of Immigration, Registration, Labour and Employment Services

OFFICIAL VISIT - RITZ CARLTON SITE

Today Thursday 1st April 2021 Hon. Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services visited the Ritz Carlton construction site. Accompanying the minister was Edwin Taylor (Commissioner of Labour), Emilio Seymour (Customer Service Manager), and Alpheus Smith (Assistant Commissioner of Labour).

The Ritz was represented by Roberto Stipa Tenreio (Director Desarrollos Hotelco JWM limited), John Hazard (General Manager), Danitra Clare (Director of HR Operations) and Andryell Misick (Senior Project Manager).

The meeting was held to update the ministry on the progress of the development and the ongoing recruitment efforts. The team gave the ministry a walk through where they highlighted several initiatives needed in order to remain on schedule to open in June 2021.

The Minister stressed that the government expects every effort is made to not just employ Turks & Caicos Islanders, but ensure that Turks and Caicos Islanders are developed to make up the majority of senior management.  

The Ritz-Carlton general manager assured the minister that it is the company’s goal is to make a big impact in the community and provide Turks & Caicos Islanders the opportunity to benefit from the new development. This he said will be done by providing direct employment through all areas of the resort.

Additionally, there will be opportunity for sub-contracted employment, mainly in the areas of laundry, housekeeping, maintenance and transport. The company promised to hold training for all potential vendors and subcontractors, to ensure they understand the high end luxury experience expected by their guests.

To ensure the maximum exposure for all available positions both parties realized the need to partner on the recruitment efforts. The ministry decided to assist in hosting a job fair on the 13th April 2021, with a venue to be announced later. In commenting on the fair, Honourable Musgrove stressed the importance of persons registering with the Labour and Employment Service Department, in an effort to capitalize on the upcoming employment opportunities.

All interested persons should drop their resumes to the employment services department along with a copy of their Turks & Caicos Islands status card. If you are currently registered with the department, please send us an email to express your interest via email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

REGISTRATION & CITIZENSHIP (BATCH #029)

The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labor & Employment Services, in collaboration with the department of Registration and Citizenship, are hereby inviting the following members of the general public to visit or contact the Customer Service Center in Grand Turk and Providenciales, at the numbers provided, as it relates to Permanent Residence Applications.

The telephone numbers are:

 (649) 338 2982 - Grand Turk

(649) 338 4121 – Providenciales

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PERMANENT RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE AWAITING APPLICATIONS REQUIRING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

ELVIS MILLER

JEZREEL GULBE BANTIQUE

JOSUE CACEUS

PAUL CHAPLIN

RONALD GANDA TAMBIS

VAUGLY DESIRE

VIERGELINE DERILUS

 

PERMANENT RESIDENCE CERTIFICATE AWAITING COLLECTION IN PROVIDENCIALES

DAVINA MARGARET DICKSON

KRISTIAN MARIC

RAQUEL GONZALEZ TEJEDA

TERRY SUSAN KUREK

 

Thank you in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

Contact Us

Three Degrees Office Complex Airport Road
Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands

Phone: (649) 946-2801 Extn 40709
Fax: (649) 946-2885
Email: infobordercontrol@gov.tc

COVID-19 UPDATE