TCI Community College TVET Programme Empowers Inmates and Officers with Certifications at His Majesty’s Prison

#TurksandCaicos, September 17, 2023 – Despite a concerted effort by our local law enforcement departments to control violent crimes, it appears to be a game of cat and mouse with head games, tough pursuits, and evasive captures of these criminals.

With the rising trend of serious crimes being at the heart of most Turks Islanders, concerned citizens are wondering where does it end? There’s a level of violence none like the country has ever seen, particularly on the island of Providenciales.

One has to wonder when will we get it under control? How many times will the country have to bolster the police department with foreign task forces as a crime prevention solution?

By no means should we downplay the short term effectiveness of this strategy, but it is still fractured in a sense and in more ways than one lacks continuity. It’s time to invest more in our own police officers; develop and promote the cream of the crop through real succession planning and raise the bar for under performers.

Furthermore, any short-term interventions must be combined with medium and long-term initiatives to enhance our national security.

Taking a holistic approach in tackling crime has been talked about, but is it really happening? More than ever before, online activities are driving real-world behavior, and activities on social media are increasingly leaking into real life, which is being played out among young men.

With that being said,  who is monitoring social media in real time, trolling for suspicious gang related activities? We have to be in a better position to disrupt and dismantle these violent groups to avoid their grip becoming so tight that it creates a greater threat to tourism and the communities at large.

Over the years, the socioeconomic needs and public safety concerns in Kew Town and Dock Yard communities, have been largely ignored by successive governments and now it’s at a boiling point.

So, how do we fill these voids with real solutions? We the people, call on our representatives and officials to push for more creation of programs for our youth, improve job opportunities and invest more in these communities overall needs.

We have to find more effective ways to remove the barriers and plant safe spaces in underserved communities where violence is perpetuated. With ramping gun violence, you’re not just taking that person, you’re destroying a whole family and that’s what our people need to come to terms with.

Who are these victims and who are these perpetrators? Have we taken the time to understand their lives, parental support and economic situations? How do we mediate conflicts before they turn violent? We have to find ways to extract high-risk youth from the cycles of violence in their own neighborhoods.

The country need more resources to help make the much-needed work of violence prevention more sustainable? Are the local churches doing enough and do we have a think tank committee to brainstorm and share objective ideas?

These are real questions that need answers too. Sometimes, community leaders can maneuver and navigate in a way that law enforcement cannot.

The country’s internal security plan may be good, but at the end of the day, the back door is being left open with access to importation of illegal weapons which is counterproductive.

This is pretty evident with the number of ammunition and weapons being discovered at the Howard Hamilton airport in recent months. Another contributing factor could also include undetected migrant vessels that are making it to our shores.

Granted, we do not have the capacity for luggage checks on incoming international flights, but why not use sniffing dogs? On another front, the fact of the matter is, we have yet to see a dedicated maritime branch on the ground or a vessel stationed between the islands of Grand Turk, Great Sand Cay and Salt Cay to patrol the waters and enhance detection of illegal activity.

Our political leaders have talked about it, but when it comes to action, we see nothing tangible.

It goes to show how constant innovation and attentiveness is a must, in order to support our dedicated law enforcement officers.

There is no time like now to get gun trafficking under control. Where there are no illegal guns, there will be limited gun related deaths. In addition, it’s a stark reminder of the length and breadth armed gang members will go to take revenge without regard for innocent bystanders.

Our country must take a look at violence through different lenses and treat it as a public health crisis.

This will require developing the necessary tools, methods, medical staff and resources to deal with the situations. I.e. establishing a trauma center and so forth.

Not only do we have to be proactive, but we must double our efforts and deal with the current challenges head on, because we are already in the midst of it all.

It will have to start with creating

well-targeted programs, clear diagnosis of our at risk youth and our young men involved in these violent crimes. This has to be complemented with the appropriate treatment plan that involves the family and community.

Challenges like this cannot be resolved by any single leader or by law enforcement alone. It will take the right tools and people coming together to create a movement that cannot be ignored.

Communities will need to remain vigilant and law enforcement agencies must remain mission-focused with results-driven leadership. Only then, will the country be in a much better position to reduce crimes and save more lives.

Ed Forbes 

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