'Expedite Their Release:' Governor Stitt Writes Letter on Behalf Of Arcadia Man Held In Turks And Caicos

On Wednesday, Governor Kevin Stitt joined two other state governors in a letter urging the release of three American tourists being held in Turks and Caicos.

Wednesday, May 15th 2024, 6:10 pm

By: News 9, Cameron Joiner


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On Wednesday, Governor Kevin Stitt joined two other state governors in a letter urging the release of three American tourists being held in Turks and Caicos.

One of those tourists is an Oklahoman from Arcadia, Ryan Watson. Watson was arrested on the islands while coming home from a family vacation after authorities found used ammunition in his bag.

This same scenario happened to two other American tourists, leading the governors of their respective states to request a prompt release for all three. “I don't see how imprisoning me is going to help them in any way, but unfortunately that's not my decision to make," Watson said in an interview with CBS News last month.

He and the other tourists are facing a minimum sentence of 12 years in prison due to Turks and Caicos' stringent gun laws.

Watson says the shell casings were left in his bag from a recent hunting trip and it was an honest mistake with no malicious intent.

Governor Kevin Stitt joined Governors Josh Shapiro and Glenn Youngkin, of Pennsylvania and Virginia respectively, in writing this letter to the Governor of Turks and Caicos.

The letter reads in part, "[they] respectfully request that [he] reconsider the charges... and expedite their release back to their respective states and families as soon as possible."

The letter echoes Watson's hope as he remains separated from his family on the island. "Some sort of sensible resolution to this where we can all go home to our families and just not miss out on so many life events with our kids’ wives back home," Watson said.

He is out on bail but not allowed to leave the country and, at this time, his next court appearance is set for June 7.

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