Letter from Michael Misick to William Hague
March 14 th , 2003
Secretary of State
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
London SW1A 2AH
Dear Mr. Hague:
I read with amazement your letter of arrogance that is in the public media to our Premier Hon Dr Rufus Ewing.
The contempt that British officials at the highest level have for Turks and Caicos Islands and its people is astonishing, and the second such letter where a public dressing is handed down to the leader of our country because of his public stand that the local elected government should be able to govern including allowing the elected parliament to enact legislation for the benefit of our people and our country.
I also think that because of Dr Ewing stance, and indeed the PNP party’s stance, our Country should be moving towards Independence. You and your colleagues are doing everything in your power to undermine his government. The evidence is in all of the confusion about the elections and misrepresenting the true facts that transpire with my tenure as Premier of our Country.
Here are the facts:
The Turks and Caicos Islands during my time in government experience one of the highest GDP growths in the world. When we came to office the GDP was $150 million dollars when we left office it was close to a billion dollars in six (6) short years.
During our PNP party’s time in office we attracted billions of dollars in inward investments, particularly in the tourism sector and has firmly put the Turks and Caicos Islands on the map as a premier Tourist destination in the world. We attract investment from the Amanyara and Seven Stars hotel to the Carnival Cruise Terminal in Grand Turk and as a direct result of this example and many others Tourism has grown from when we took office from under 200 Thousands visitors to well over one million Tourist nowadays.
The PNP government invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure, building modern roads in all of the islands including the Middle and North Caicos causeway, parks and recreational facilities like the Gus Lightbourne arena, the National Stadium, The Five Cays Community Center, Horse-stable Beach Park and other parks, The South Caicos Community Centre, and Clinic, the two Hospitals in Grand Turk and Providenciales just to name a few.
We invested tens of millions of dollars in Education and Scholarships, providing hundreds of Turks and Caicos Islanders with university degrees at the best universities in the US, UK and the Caribbean. We built institutions such as TCInvest, National Insurance, TCI Bank, TCI New Media and your Government along with the British Interim Government has either destroyed or closed them all.
We hired hundreds of civil servants, paid and them properly, and instilled national pride in them and in all of our people. Our citizens were proud to be Turks and Caicos Islanders.
We provided the best medical care for all, young and old regardless of their political affiliation, race, religion or creed. There were no questions asked, we took care of our sick people.
We had six (6) straight years of a surplus budget and have never run a deficit budget. When we left office the government total borrowings was no more than $75 million dollars.
These are the facts Mr. Hague and they speaks for themselves, so no matter how much you and the British Government put misinformation out there to hide your true agenda and to cover up for your incompetent officials, it will not change the facts nor the heart of Turks and Caicos People that the British has worn out their welcome in the Turks and Caicos Islands and their days are numbered. The clock is ticking and political Independence and freedom for our people cannot be stopped.
Here are some other facts that you do not want the Turks and Caicos people or the world to know.
The fact is that the British Government has destroyed the Turks and Caicos economy, its judicial system and eroded the rule of law over the past 4 years.
The borrowings that you refer to in your letter were borrowings that your British occupation government did to prop up an illegitimate interim regime and to spend tens of millions of dollars in a political motivated investigation to politically persecute me and my colleagues because of our views. No elected Turks and Caicos Government should have to pay back money that you borrowed.
You talk about Robin Auld, a sole hand picked commissioner by the British government to carry out their instructions in a commission of inquiry whether outcome was predetermined. If there was nothing to hide than there should have been a transparent commission of inquiry with at least a commissioner with eminent Judges from the Caribbean included on the panel.
You also talk about the UK government high standard of maintaining the rule of law, respect for human rights and upholding the judiciary.
Do I need to remind you of the UK history of slavery, colonization abuse and torture in places like Kenya and India? Nothing has changed the only thing has happen that the British have modernized their abuse of human rights and rig-judiciary under the disguise of good governance.
Ask yourself why, if my colleagues and I have committed a crime and not being politically persecuted, did you have to change the constitution? Why did you have to change the laws and the whole judiciary system to assure a conviction? Why did you have to violate my human rights by abolishing my colleagues and my right to a jury trial? Why did you have to change the hearsay laws and other laws on evidence targeting us? How can we ever get a fair trial when you, who is responsible for appointing the governor, the judges, passing laws for the colony, but in your letter you have implied that my colleagues and I are guilty of corruption when after four years of investigations and 60 million plus dollars there has not even been a plea and directions hearing.
You mentioned in your letter that the Attorney General is properly and legally seeking my extradition from Brazil and that I am resisting return by seeking political asylum. Why you did not inform the people that you and the British has violated my human rights by having me arrested and put in a maximum security prison for two months although my asylum process was not completed and I had temporary political asylum and that since my release you and the British are continually trying to re-imprison me? Why did you not tell the public that during my imprisonment, In spite of my political persecution I offer to voluntary return and you and the British government has refused to allow me to voluntarily return home.
Why did you not tell the people that since my release I have offered to voluntary return with the only condition that my colleagues and myself is assured a fair trial, that is a jury trial and you and the British Government have refused to guarantee me a fair trial?
Why don’t you tell the people that you and the British really don’t want me to return to Turks and Caicos Islands, that you just want me in jail, any jail but not back home?
Why did you not tell the people, that maybe you believe that my presence in the Turks and Caicos Islands may interfere with your plans as I still have broad support among my beloved people or maybe you feel that I have information base of meetings that you have had with me that will implicate you and others close to you?
In any event what is clear is the relationship between the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Government is over. It is now not base on mutual respect but based on a bullying and arrogant superiority complex that should be relegated to the dust bin of history. If you are so confident that the Turks and Caicos people want to remain British why don’t you carry out a referendum on the question as you just did for show in the Falklands, or as Scotland is doing in 2014? That referendum and only that referendum will determine the true desire of the Turks and Caicos people.
You should manifest your claim of belief in democracy and act honest, transparent and behave responsibly.
Former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Democracy is in danger in Turks and Caicos Islands and I am a victim of this.
In July 2008 The Governor of Turks and Caicos – representing the UK Government – appointed a Commission to conduct an Inquiry into “possible corruption or other dishonesty” in Government. Hearings were held – presided over by His Lordship, Mr. Justice Sir Robin Auld – in January of 2009, concluding in February of the same year. In August 2009, His Excellency, then the Governor of the Turks and Caicos islands, Gordon Wetherell brought into force an Order in Council suspending portions of the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution. Under this move Ministerial Government, and the House of Assembly – which is the only means of representing the people – was dissolved and all representative seats were vacated, with the promise of elections in 24 months. Amongst the astounding changes was that the basic right in the European Declaration of Human Rights to a Trial by Jury was also suspended, and confirmed recently by law. The sole political power in the Turks and Caicos Islands is now the Governor, appointed by the British government. He has appointed an Advisory Council and a Consultative Forum. However, as the appointment documents make clear, the Governor has no obligation to follow or regard their recommendations. This undemocratic move, which is totally inconsistent with Article I of the United Nation’s Charter on the Right to Self-Determination, is still the case in Turks and Caicos, and still, now nearly 2 and a half years later.
And still there is no date for elections.
My involvement in the Turks and Caicos dates from early 2005. In June of that year we purchased a private island called Dellis Cay, to develop a USD$1 billion project with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and villas with world famous architects – including Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban, Piero Lissoni and Carl Ettenspenger. The development proceeded in an unremarkable fashion, with usual succession of planning permits, from the start construction date of June 2008 to October 2009. A mixture of funds from my own resources, sales of residential units and loans from the Trinidad & Tobago Unit Trust Corporation funded the development.
In June of 2008, we bought a second island, Joe Grant Cay, from the Crown (The government of Turks and Caicos), presented the deal structure to the British Governor of Turks and Caicos – who was then His Excellency Richard Tauwhare – with the development agreement signed in November of 2008 by the new Governor, His Excellency Gordon Wetherell, with the objective of developing a resort with Bulgari Hotel and Villas.
In January 2009, in the course of hearings by the Commission of Inquiry, the Premier of Turks and Caicos disclosed political contributions by several businessperson and companies toward his party’s elections, two years before, in 2007. He disclosed a political contribution made by our company as well; which is normal all over the world, including in Britain.
Neither the Inquiry, nor the Judge, nor the Governor made any request of me, or my representatives to provide answers about these contributions. Yet, our actions were remarked upon adversely in the Commission’s report.
In June 2009, we asked the High Court of Turks and Caicos Islands to undertake a Judicial Review of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry, with the result that the Supreme Court called for the removal of any and all adverse references to my or our companies. In his ruling the Chief Justice agreed with us, that there was a “Clear and almost total failure by the Commission to follow its own procedures”. His Lordship stated further that I had not been given a fair hearing, and said that if any adverse statements were included in the Final Report, they should not be published.
It must be understood that even though this court is in Turks and Caicos, it is an English court, applying English law and procedures. Yet, four (4) weeks later, in July of 2009, the Final Report was published, with text unredacted, so that the adverse statements made about me and my companies, which were judged to have been unfair and unlawful, were made public; even after the Chief Justice ruled they should not be published.
Despite my attempts to cooperate and assist the lending bank for our projects to understand the issues relating to the Commission of Inquiry and their unlawful published reports, it was no longer possible to avoid the entrance into Receivership of the Dellis Cay project in favour of the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation in October 2009.
This failure of the Commission to follow the law has therefore done me harm because I provided personal guarantee to the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation.
Since that time – January 2010 – the bank has obtained a worldwide freezing order against me. The Attorney General of Turks and Caicos issued a Writ and Statement of Claim regarding Joe Grant Cay in July 2010.
I have appealed both actions.
After three (3) years, in October 2011, I was finally able to explain my side of the allegations of bribery for the political contributions above. In the meantime, my assets in Dellis Cay and the assets of buyers in that development have been destroyed; even though I have never bribed anyone in Turks and Caicos, or anywhere else.
I have been made a victim of the politics of Turks and Caicos. In English law, the saying is that “justice must not only be done, but it must be…seen to be done”. I speak now to warn that this is not the case in Turks and Caicos and to say that human rights, and property rights, democracy and justice are under threat in Turks and Caicos