By Muhammad Atef | June 11, 2021

Murder victim was a teen, police confirm

Nineteen-year-old Billy Charles is the latest victim of homicide in the Turks and Caicos Islands, police confirmed on Wednesday, June 9.

The teen was shot dead on the evening of Saturday, May 29, in a Grace Bay parking lot.

According to the police press office, the Police Control Room got a call of an incident and shortly after 11pm officers were dispatched to Grace Bay, Providenciales.

They found Charles’ unresponsive with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds. No further information has been released.

The victim is listed on his Facebook page as having been a student of Clement Howell High School and TCI Community College.

Several people wrote tributes to the young man, one saying: “Really hate to put ‘Rest In Peace’ on the side of your name, but you was truly a sweet soul.”

The Weekly News asked Governor Nigel Dakin, who is responsible for internal security, to comment on the recent murder.

“Beyond joining with others to utterly condemn the perpetrator and to sympathise, beyond measure, with those the victim leaves behind, I don’t intend to comment on the detail of this 

case,” he said.

He went on to say that there has been a pattern in past murders of a cycle of retribution developing – one murder leading to the next.

“I hope that is not going to be the case in this instance – I have no way of knowing – but I have no doubt that the investigation into this murder is being diligently pursued.”

The governor said the ability of the police to investigate, arrest and put before the courts those they believe to be guilty of these crimes has significantly improved over recent months.

“The public are I believe feeling that change, particularly in Providenciales,” he told the Weekly News in his response on Monday, June 7.

He said that in 2020 there was an average murder rate only “just shy of” two murders per month, and between January and May, there were 10 murders.

In the same period, this year, there were three murders. One of which was in the early hours of January 1.

“So as we approach the half way point of 2021 the murder rate is significantly down and the detection rate is significantly up. That is welcome,” Dakin said.

But he stressed: “Every individual murder is an assault on our society and inflicts tremendous damage on people who have a loved one ripped from them through deliberate violence.”

The killing of Billy Charles was the third homicide of 2021.

Fred Russell Bryan, 66, was shot and killed during a robbery in Dolphin’s Bar in Grand Turk on the evening of March 18.

And fifty-year-old Jean Venel Jacques from Haiti was killed in Providenciales on New Year’s Day.

He was found dead in a yard on Walter Cox Drive, Kew Town on January 1 with what appeared to be a “blunt force trauma” to the head, the police press office said.

Curtis Butterfield, 23, was arrested and charged on January 18 with murder, attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and the carrying and use offensive weapon to cause fear.

In 2020, the TCI recorded its highest ever number of homicides at 23. The previous highest was 13 in 2019.

The Serious Crimes Unit of the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force is seeking the public’s help.

Anyone with information on any of these murders can call 911 or contact Crimestoppers on 1-800-8477.

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