Published in TCI Now on 18th September,2012
The TCI is benefitting from the most far-reaching reform programme conducted in any UK Overseas Territory said Governor Ric Todd, as he published his final quarterly progress report on the interim administration’s milestones on Tuesday.

Progress against the eight milestones has left the TCI with an improved, more effective and sustainable public service; modernised legislation; stronger control of its public finances investing in key priorities; and sound management of the economy, which has been growing since 2010 and by 4.1% in 2011.

These principles have sought to instil good governance at the heart of the public service and have underpinned the activities of the interim administration since it took on responsibility for governing the Territory following the suspension of the TCI Constitution after the damning conclusions reached by the Sir Robin Auld led Commission of Inquiry in 2009.

The six-month long, highly detailed investigation by Sir Robin concluded that there was a high probability of systematic corruption in the TCI government, legislature and public officers of the Territory; compounded by a serious deterioration – from an already low level – in the Territory’s system of governance and public financial management. This corruption appeared to have consisted mainly of bribery and fraud by developers and other investors of Ministers and public officers, so as to secure Crown Land on favourable terms.

The eight milestones themselves were published in 2010 and outlined the practical steps that would need to be taken in order address the institutional problems and return to an elected Assembly and Government. Achievements against them have led to the TCI Constitution being reinstated on 15 October, triggering the general election on 9 November 2012.

“With the prospect of fresh elections now firmly in sight, the beneficial changes brought about by the milestones provides any future elected administration with a solid and more sustainable base with which to consider affordable levels of public expenditure, demonstrate continued good governance and achieve sustainable economic development to the benefit of all people in TCI,” said Todd.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone across TCI, in the Governor’s Office and UK government for all of their hard work and commitment to embed the reforms in everyday practices and embrace these better ways of working. The support provided by TCI public servants, advisers, legal drafters and numerous other contributors has been exceptional. The programme of work to modernise the management and delivery of public services in TCI, as well as to put public finances on the road to recovery, modernise legislation and strengthen the economy is simply most extensive undertaken for any UK overseas territory.”



High rise decisions for elected government says governor
Published on September 18, 2012 in TCI News Now.

Changes in legislation to permit high rise developments in the Turks and Caicos Islands will be the decision of a democratically elected House of Assembly and Government, Governor Ric Todd announced on Monday.

Explaining his decision, Todd stated: “The Skyline proposal for a mixed use, 28-storey high rise development on Providenciales has been widely debated across TCI for some weeks.

“I would like to note that before this development, or any development, can take place a procedure set out in law must be followed. It is an over-simplification to say that TCIG or the Governor can just ‘approve’ this or any development.

“This case is unusual because the proposed development is of a height contrary to existing legislation. But even if that legislation were to change, the proposal would still have to go through a full and normal planning process, including impact assessments and consultation.

“In the event the developer sought any investment incentives, there would also have to be a Development Agreement between the developer and TCIG prior to the planning process being initiated.

“I launched a public consultation on the Skyline proposal because such a development, while of considerable potential value to TCI, would clearly be both new to TCI and controversial.

“I published the report written at my request by the Investment Unit of TCIG on that consultation (on 10 Sep). I then held a meeting on Grand Turk, on 13 September, with the representatives of the development, Mr Hugh McLean and Mr Mark Mungo, and the leaders of the political parties on TCI, Mr Oswald Skippings, Dr Rufus Ewing and Mr Harold Charles. At this meeting we had a full and valuable discussion of all the issues. I am grateful to all the participants.

“I have given careful consideration to all the issues concerning and surrounding this development; had discussions with those involved; and taken account of advice, formal and informal representations and the results of the public consultation. I have given weight to the arguments put to me by the political parties that decisions on this development should, given the timing of this proposal, be made the responsibility of an elected House of Assembly and Government. The party leaders also stressed their willingness to assume this responsibility and to take the necessary decisions about the proposal.

“Taking account of all the circumstances, I have concluded that there should not be any change to the legislation relating to the height of the buildings on TCI before 15 October and that a decision on this legislation should be taken by an elected House of Assembly.

“I am asking the Attorney General to consider options for amendments to legislation which would permit higher rise developments than those currently envisaged by existing law. I have also asked the TCIG Chief Executive Officer to instruct the Planning Department to consider options for updating the zoning, planning and development rules as a basis for work the elected government can continue in November.

“In conclusion I would like to thank the developer for presenting this bold and imaginative proposal, with such potential, and for their interest in investing in TCI.

“Their willingness to invest $200 million is of course a major vote of confidence in TCI, illustrating both the strong economic position which TCI currently has and the potential of the islands.”



published in SUN TCI
The Turks and Caicos Islands Planning Department has advised the Interim Government that a move from a maximum height of seven (7) storeys to twenty-eight (28) storeys as being proposed by Hugh McLean Skyline hotel project, would be excessive and would have enormous impacts on the island of Providenciales and on the entire country.

According to the Department, increases in height and density of buildings should be gradual in order to ensure compatibility with the existing environment and infrastructure.

In light of this, the Planning Department suggests a reasonable and gradual increase. For example, from seven storeys’ to ten storeys. Regarding the proposed 28-storey hotel, the department also notes the lack of specific information of the development including (but not limited) to the specific parcels of land – the location, size, zoning in question, the desirability of producing an updated National Physical Development Plan before a decision and the need for formal submission of an outline planning application.

This was all contained in the public consultation report which was released by the Interim Government.

The Skyline Proposal outlines a mixed use development project that proposes 3 high rise buildings. The first being a 28 storey tower that will house a 200 room hotel and 96 condo units on the top floors. The second and third phases will each consist of a 20 storey condominium tower with 156 units each. This will give a total of 512 rooms and the largest conference space on the islands.

The report concluded that there is a widely accepted need for diversification of the tourism product in the Turks and Caicos Islands and particularly on Providenciales. The consultation notes that the investment in the proposed mixed use development has considerable potential to create jobs and additional economic activity for the islands. It also recognizes the acute challenges of competing land users and the scarcity of prime coastal lands. Thus an increase in the height of buildings and density, particularly tourism related development is arguably inevitable.

In February 2012 Mr. Hugh McLean met with Government officials to discuss a development project for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Mr. Mclean submitted an outline proposal for a Mixed Used Development that includes an EP Hotel, Conference Centre, Retail and Professional Offices.

The proposal outlines expanding and diversifying the current tourism product offering on TCI and brings the potential of increased tourism development and conference facilities, as well as providing a number of jobs.

The Government recognized that the proposed development was complex and exceeds the current building height and density requirements, as set out in the TCI development manual. The project’s high rise concept is in excess of density restrictions as referenced in the planning development manual. Due to the unusual and controversial nature of the project, and its potential benefits, the Governor decided to consult the public and all appropriate stakeholders to inform in decision making.

The developer presented the proposal to Advisory Council, both political parties and the public at large. The pubic consultation on 18th July was well attended by member of the community. One hundred and ninety persons signed in during the public consultation with an estimated four hundred people in attendance.
In total over seven hundred written submissions were received on the Skyline proposal.

Some 610 submissions were collected by the developer, in favour of the mixed use high rise concept of the resort. There were 195 email submissions to the Investment Unit and Governor’s Office mainly in objection to the project.

The largest majority of feedback collected by the developer illustrated 3 options to: keep project as proposed, decision with the planning board and to reduce the height of the proposed project to 21 storeys.

In over 75% of these submissions all 3 boxes were ticked, with 589 persons agreeing to the project and the decision taken by the planning board.

Many respondents felt that they were unable to make an informed decision based on the available information supporting it. There was also a broad view that no decision should be made without supporting technical information from an environmental impact study and planning assessment were made and submitted to the public.

Another prevalent theme in the submissions was concern about the environmental impact of the project and whether it was in the right location. Government departments and the public at large noted a wish to access or comment on the project on the basis of a building outline and the block and parcel numbers.

Considerable concerns were raised on the impact a “high rise” would have on the low density tourism model currently in practice, which is paired to the “Beautiful by nature” motto of the tourism product. It was argued that the reputation and “brand” of TCI would be undermined by the proposal.

The question of how many jobs would in practice be obtained by islanders and permanent residents was a particular theme. It was noted that the mixed use project provided a secondary platform for commerce and business linkages.


The Torch-John Hartley



published in Sun TCI
By Hayden Boyce, Editor-in-Chief
• Mon, Sep 17, 2012

Local businessman and economist John Hartley will have to pay out close to $15million after a Florida court handed down a judgment against him on Wednesday September 12th, 2012.

The judgment, which was handed down in the United States District Court Southern District of Florida by judge James Cohn, was brought by multi-millionaire Edward Burger as trustee of the 2009 Hubbard Family and some other investors, as a result of Hartley’s involvement in a scam in which he and some of his friends were sued for selling elite shares in an electric-car company that they didn’t actually own.

The businessman and investors sued Hartley under Section 10(b) of the Securities and Exchange Act to recover substantial damages from Hartley related to $4.525 million which they invested to acquire shares in a company called Praetorian and/or G. Power, based on false representations that such interests would provide indirect ownership of Series A Preferred shares in Fisker Automotive Inc.

After making the investment, the businessmen never received the closing documents reflecting their shares in Praetorian. According to a copy of the court judgment which was obtained by The SUN, the complaint alleges that Mr. Hartley was a founding partner and member of Praetorian Fund, and that along with other defendants
Mattera, van Siclen, G. Power, and Praetorian Fund, “caused various documents to be prepared to promote the sale of shares in the LLC entity which would own the Fisker shares.”

The investors allege that a Private Placement Memorandum and subscription documents provided to them prior to their investments “represented that G. Power already owned $20 million in shares of Fisker.” They contend that as a director of Defendant Praetorian Fund, Mr.Hartley made misrepresentations contained in these documents and he participated in the scheme to deceive them.

Furthermore, the Amended Complaint contends that in early January 2011, Mr. Hartley and van Siclen met with a trustee of the Plaintiff 2009 Hubbard Family Trust, and discussed the investment, representing what a great investment it was. The investors allege that Mr. Hartley continued to cover up the fact that G. Power did not own any shares in Fisker.

Mr. Hartley opposed the Motion for Summary Judgment and has cross-moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint. However, the judge stressed that the undisputed facts before the Court establish that Mr. Hartley, in conjunction with Mattera and van Siclen, conspired to solicit investors to invest in various G. Power entities to capitalize The Praetorian Global Fund.

The judge said: “The uncontroverted testimony of van Siclen is that Mr. Hartley participated in the drafting of the Private Placement Memorandum and subscription documents that were provided to the Plaintiffs which contained the false statements regarding the Fisker shares. Mr. Hartley, along with van Siclen, personally met with a representative of the Plaintiff 2009 Hubbard Family Trust in January 2011, a meeting wherein Mr. Hartley affirmed his partnership with van Siclen and Mattera, promoted
what a great investment it was, and represented that the closing had yet to take place.

Mr. Hartley also responded to email inquiries from the Plaintiffs regarding the status of the closings. Thus, the Court finds that Plaintiffs have established the existence of a conspiracy amongst the Defendants and that Mr. Hartley may be held jointly and severally liable for the actions of the Defendants.”

The judge said he agrees with the investors that they have established Mr. Hartley’s liability for his own fraudulent misrepresentations, adding that the undisputed record before the Court reflects that Mr. Hartley participated in drafting the Private Placement Memorandum and other subscription documents which misrepresented that G. Power II already owned $20 million Fisker Shares, when it did not in fact own any shares.

The judge continued: “In his Motion to Dismiss, Mr. Hartley ignores that Plaintiffs, in part, base their fraud claims on his own conduct. In an attempt to minimize his own actions, Mr. Hartley argues that he cannot be held liable based on the January 2011 dinner because “it took place, at its highest, in a social context, and at its lowest, in a haze of alcohol.”

The judge also noted that even if the allegations of the Amended Complaint are insufficient to establish that Mr. Hartley himself operated a business or himself caused tortious conduct within Florida, the Court still has personal jurisdiction over him based on Plaintiffs’ well-plead allegations that he participated in a conspiracy with other defendants who did commit tortious acts within Florida.

“Even if the Court does not have personal jurisdiction over Mr. Hartley via the Florida Long Arm Statute, the Court still has personal jurisdiction by virtue of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(2). Mr. Hartley is also alleged to have been a founding partner and director of Defendant Praetorian Fund. Id. After at least one Plaintiff wired funds to the escrow agent, located in Florida, Mr. Hartley, along with van Siclen, is alleged to have met with a co-trustee of the 2009 Hubbard Family Trust wherein he emphasized what a wonderful investment it was. Mr. Hartley is also alleged to have made repeated representations to the Plaintiffs that the
Fisker shares were owned by G. Power. Id. These specific allegations coupled with the allegations of conspiracy regarding Mr. Hartley and the other Defendants is sufficient for the Court to conclude that Mr. Hartley has sufficient minimum contacts with the United States as a whole to justify personal jurisdiction.
Accordingly, the Court rejects any assertion by Mr. Hartley that the Court is without jurisdiction over him. Accordingly, the court finds that Mr. Hartley has failed to demonstrate good cause to have the admissions withdrawn or amended pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure.”

Ironically, Hartley is one of the directors of the Conch Farm who are trying to sue the Turks and Caicos Islands Government for US$50million. His wife Monique Allen, is the lawyer who filed the case against TCIG.


New Minister is Mark Simmonds


By Caribbean News Now contributor

LONDON, England — Member of Parliament Mark Simmonds has been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with responsibility for Britain’s Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the world as part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s reshuffle.

According to an announcement by the Foreign Office, Simmonds’ responsibilities will include:

• Africa 
• Overseas Territories (not Falklands, Sovereign Base Areas or Gibraltar) 
• Conflict Issues 
• Climate Change 
• International Energy 
• Consular 
• Protocol 
• Ministerial Oversight for FCO Services 
• The Caribbean (not including Dominican Republic, Haiti or Cuba) 

Simmonds had been a member of the shadow health team when the Conservative Party was in opposition but missed out on a role in the coalition government after the 2010 General Election.

Simmonds replaces Henry Bellingham who held the job since 2010.


Minister Bellingham is leaving his post.


Published on September 6, 2012  

In a surprise move as part of an ongoing reshuffle of his Cabinet by British Prime Minister David Cameron, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister with responsibility for the Turks and Caicos Islands and Britain’s other overseas territories, Henry Bellingham, is leaving his post.

No replacement has yet been announced.

Henry Bellingham

Bellingham declined to say whether he had been offered an alternative ministerial position, but did say he hoped it was not the end of his career in government.

He was first appointed to the Foreign Office in 2010 and has been a Conservative frontbencher for the past 10 years.

“I’ve had ten years as a front bencher and I’m really happy that I got to do the Foreign Office job for more than two years and travelled across 61 countries in that time,” Bellingham said.

One of the more troublesome issues Bellingham had to deal with during his term of office has been the return to elected ministerial self-government in the TCI following the partial suspension of the constitution and imposition of direct rule by Britain in 2009. Parliamentary elections are now set to resume here on November 9.


First Independent Candidate for Turks and Caicos Elections

Oswald M. Simons, a local business owner, has announced he will run for an “at large” seat in parliament. He is the first independent candidate to make a formal announcement.

Two others, Harold Charles and Edward Smith, have apparently decided to join with others and form a third party. 

Also interested at one time in running as an independent was former Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) and Consultative Forum member Courtney Misick of North Caicos. However, Misick seems to have retreated from this ambition and decided not to run.

Earnest Forbes Jr of Middle Caicos, a Progressive National Party (PNP) supporter who tried for a PNP candidacy, may run for the North-Middle Caicos seat against PNP Don-Hue Gardiner and PDM Astwood Forbes. Earnest lives in Middle Caicos and the other candidates live on Provo.

Simons, in announcing his candidacy, said that if elected he will concentrate on improving the country’s finances and doing something to make health care affordable. 

According to his resume, this new candidate has offshore banking and real estate experience.

Is Justice in Turks and Caicos really blind or what?

Published in Sun TCI byRoyal S. Robinson, MBE
• Mon, Sep 03, 2012

Years ago, even when I was in the public service, I liked going to the Supreme Court to see and hear for myself how important cases were argued for the benefit of the jury or in some cases, the Justice sitting alone, or in a few instances, a three Justice panel sitting as the Court of Appeals. In recent times, I just did not make myself available to listen to the various arguments.

Last Friday, curiosity got the best of me and I attended at the Supreme Court to hear a bright layman in the form of Wilkie Arthur and two officers of the Court in the bodies of Attorneys Courtney Barnett and Noel Skippings, arguing for uplifts so that they could mount adequate and effective defenses.

Let us discount Mr. Arthur for a moment and concentrate on the two qualified bar counsels for a moment! Both had argued before successfully before the Supreme Court and the Appeals Court. In fact, Mr. Barnett can boast of a 75% success rate at the Appeals Court level against a very able and competent Jurist of the Supreme Court. So, one cannot take the line that these persons lack skill and ability.

So to have them having to plead their case in the manner that it was done did not look or sound kosher to me!

When you look at the situation with the foreign lawyers who were brought in as part of the SIPT and what remunerations they are getting from us, you have to wonder the rationale. I can concede the point that in some instances, SIPT might have to deal with certain specialized situations, but there should not be the great disparities that currently obtain between our local lawyers and outside counsel.

Let us not forget that we are paying all. It is our taxpayers’ dollars that are at stake! Furthermore, the bulk of what is paid to the local lawyers would remain in circulation in country, while the reverse would be the position with outside lawyers.

Then when I saw Mr. Barnett having to jump through a number of hoops and invoking those provisions of the European Court of Human Rights articles dealing with discrimination on the basis of race, religion etc. without being able to attack head on some of those provisions, it was pure legal dexterity on his part to say the least!

When a white, foreigner can get the type of remuneration that he rightly deserves without question, and our local boys have to go through such problems to get a little uplift, something is definitely wrong with the system! It does not matter that the Registrar might be new. The information on a case by case basis is within the ambit of the administrators. Just look at the files and see if the process is fair!

What too is striking is that there a few lawyers her who are prepared to take on the human rights issues before the Court on behalf of the little man. Mr. Lloyd Rodney, God rest his soul, did that and Barnett and Skippings to their credit, have taken up that mantle and have decided to soldier on! So give them what is rightly due to them! They should not have to be given the uplift as a matter of right, but when the case merits it, no impediment should be places in their way of getting it.

We have to begin to treat our own equally. There is no better place to start than with the Judiciary. We talk and invoke the notion that there is equality of justice. But how can that be if there is definitely a deficiency when it comes to the equality of arms? We might not have the numbers as yet, but we certainly have the quality! Let us begin at a very good place, that is, before the law and the justice system here in the Turks and Caicos Islands. As Lord Denning is often quoted as saying, “Justice must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done!”


Gov.Ric Todd and Amanyara signed an Agreement


Turks and Caicos Signs Agreement for Amanyara Resort Expansion

Above: the Amanyara Resort in Turks and Caicos

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Turks and Caicos Islands Governor Ric Todd has signed a multi-million-dollar agreement with Caicos Resorts Limited, the owner of the Amanyara resort.

The agreement involves a lease by Caicos Resorts, Ltd of 17 acres of Crown Land for a $3.04 million down payment and annual rental income.

“This new investment in the TCI shows that business growth does not always come from inward investment,” Todd said in a statement. “While business conditions remain challenging here, we are in a much stronger position than many other parts of the world, as the recent publication of the country’s GDP figures showed. I remain confident that we will see further investment here in the TCI in the next few months.”

The land will be the site of an expansion of Amanyara’s villa programme, along with a new spa and tennis centre.

“The increased demand of Amanyara Villas over the past years has inspired us to extend the portfolio further,” said Caicos Resorts’ Michel Neutelings. “We are happy to also boost the profile of Turks and Caicos and create a significant number of jobs for the local economy with this expansion.”

The lease is for a term of 999 years.