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Turks and Caicos National Security Council meeting: April 2018

His Excellency the Governor, Dr John Freeman and the Hon. Premier, Mrs Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, co-chaired a meeting of the Turks and Caicos Islands National Security Council (NSC).

TCI National Security Council Meeting

The meeting was held at at the Hon. Hilly Ewing Building in Providenciales. In attendance as members of the NSC were the Hon. Deputy Premier, the Commissioner of Police, Her Excellency the Deputy Governor and the Hon. Attorney-General.

At this meeting:

The Commissioner of Police briefed the NSC on the 2017/18 National Policing Plan and gave an assessment of performance against the plan reporting that significant progress had been made during the year against the objectives in the plan. Looking ahead, the Commissioner set out priorities for the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force (RTCIPF) including enhanced engagement with the Ministry of Border Control on “Operation Guardian” as well as focusing on road safety, school and community engagement and child safeguarding. The Commissioner updated the NSC on crime statistics for 2017/18. The headline figure showed a 14% reduction in crime over the previous year and a 28% reduction over the past two years. There had been significant reductions in most areas of serious crime over the past year.

The Hon. Deputy Premier briefed the NSC on progress to tackle illegal migration since the last meeting of the NSC including on the surge in sloop arrivals in March and measures taken to address the problem. The Hon. Deputy Premier reported on the continued success of “Operation Guardian” and on the increase in the number of repatriations of illegal migrants and highlighted the excellent co-operation between the Immigration Task Force and the RTCIPF. He stressed that all government departments had a crucial role to play in “Operation Guardian” for it to be even more effective. The Hon. Deputy Premier set out new measures being introduced to tackle illegal migration into TCI including increased manpower, stricter oversight of visa applications and improved documentation.

The Hon. Premier updated the NSC on the work of the Planning Department and others to help improve road safety and called for the need to address the problem of illegal jitneys including through new legislation.

The Hon. Deputy Premier, as Acting Minister of Home Affairs, updated the NSC on the situation at HM Prison including inmate numbers, staffing and on the arrival of a new Prison Superintendent on 17 May. The Hon. Premier reported that the Ministry had produced a report on the proposed redevelopment of the prison.

The NSC reviewed the recommendations in the UK-funded Security Needs Assessment (SNA) Report completed in 2017 and received up-dates on progress against the recommendations and measures being taken to address outstanding issues.

The Commissioner of Police presented an outline of a proposed National Security Strategy setting out areas which the strategy might focus on against agreed objectives, outputs and timelines. The Hon. Premier underlined that a National Security Strategy had to encompass a multi-agency approach with all departments and elements of society being involved as well as co-operation with international partners. It was agreed that work on the strategy would be taken forward by the Deputy Commissioner of Police working together with the Deputy Premier.

Published 11 May 2018