Dead Dock Yard Man May Have Been Among Criminals Who Engaged Police in Heavy Gunfight
Governor for the Turks and Caicos Islands His Excellency Nigel Dakin stated that the body of a man found in tough community of Dock Yard on Providenciales, from all indications, belonged to a member of the band of criminals who engaged the police in a high-speed chase and exchange of gunfire on Sunday.
The man, found with a bullet to the forehead, was spotted in a section of that community shortly after the exchanging of heavy gunfire downtown Providenciales, which left the police vehicle with multiple bullet holes and at least one bystander injured.
The incident began in a southeasterly section of the island called Long Bay, where a group of gunmen attacked individuals returning from a scuba diving excursion, including tourists. An American tourist, who was among the scuba diving group who was one of two shot by the attackers, and later pronounced dead.
Addressing the House of Assembly on Monday, Governor Dakin said the said the intended target were men associated with local drug dealers.
“Last night, following an attack in Long Bay against those who were allegedly associated with local drug dealers, and where an innocent visitor from the United States was killed, a Police Tactical Unit – on patrol and deployed with the express mission to arrest violent criminals – intercepted the assailants. The Police vehicle sustained multiple strikes from high velocity rounds. How an officer was not killed is remarkable,” the governor recounted.
He added: “Our Tactical Unit returned fire and while it is still to be confirmed - and I may need to revise this - we believe one of the deceased, whose body was dropped in Dock Yard by his fellow gang members – had been shot in the forehead as a result of our officers returning accurate fire under extraordinary pressure.
Praising the men and women of the Tactical Unit its supporting forces, Governor Dakin told the House that they have been doing yeomen work.
“We must be clear that our Tactical Unit, and the response teams who support them, have done an exceptional job in keeping up the pressure when many Police Forces, of far larger size, would frankly have buckled.
“The peoples of these Islands should be very proud of them. This is about their character, duty, training and leadership. I hope the House feels able to thank them and offer solidarity,” Governor Dakin said.
Will Not Accept Police Commissioner’s Resignation
He emphatically told the House of Assembly that he would not accept Police Commissioner, Trevor Botting’s resignation, based on the level of work he witnessed the top cop has put in, to make the overall force more crimefighting viable.
Furthermore, Governor Dakin argued that should the commissioner of police thrown in the town at this juncture, criminals would be relieved.
“The Police Commissioner has led during this period with distinction and personal courage, including last night. He presently has the hardest job in the Territory. The reforms he has been delivering - behind the scenes - which I will touch on shortly - give us capability – so long lacking – that outside support now arriving, can quickly dock into,” Governor Dakin indicated.
He added: “…We now have a foundation of both present - and quickly achievable - future intelligence structures - and a viable Tactical Unit - ensures we can quickly start to tackle trans-national crime.
“While some Honourable Members of the House have called for the commissioner’s resignation, and given the emotional pressure he is under, I am sure he considers it every day, I would not accept the commissioner’s resignation if offered because, just now, it would help the gangs and not the Territory.
“If those who have never been under fire, need further reassurance on this, I can assure them that any man or women – however well trained or equipped, does not do what our Police Officers do if they are not well led. And it is the Commissioner who sets that tone.
Strong Reinforcement Arrived And Still Coming
Governor Dakin also announced that reinforcement from the UK and the Caribbean have arrived, and others were coming.
“At the top of Government, the Premier and myself, have focussed on bringing in immediate help to support the Commissioner and his Force.
“Firearms specialists from the UK arrived on yesterday’s British Airways flight and are at work, today, with our Tactical Firearms Unit and those who help respond. They are just a start. More is coming, because it must.
“The initial ask to the first arrivals, from our own TCI Police, who know the ground, culture and environment better than their newly arrived British colleagues, is for them to focus on specialist tactics and training. More UK resource will follow during the coming week. What this isn’t is just short-term help, but the start of long-term support.
“The Premier has used his regional contacts with great skill and our High Commissioners have also been engaged. We are not releasing a date or more detail, just now, for operational security reasons, but very substantive support that the TCI public will see, and the criminals will feel, is inbound from the Bahamas.
“With thanks to the Premier’s recent visit to Jamaica, the Jamaican Cabinet is meeting as this message is delivered, and we hope for support from them, as well. The trans-regional criminal links to their country makes a strengthened intelligence exchange a priority,” Governor Dakin said.