Genel News


By Hayden Boyce – Publisher & Editor-in-Chief,in SUN TCI,on 25th of March 2013.
One cannot help but be amused and bemused by how these British operatives, the latest of them being Dr. Philip Rushbrook, the director of strategy in the office of Governor Ric Todd, are trying to continue spinning and their way out of the unholy mess which they have created in the Turks and Caicos Islands and about which they continue to be in absolute denial.

It is rather disingenuous to say the least, that persons of the caliber of Hon. William Hague and now Hon. Mark Simmonds would allow themselves to first, be misled, and secondly to be blindly drawn into this silly debate about what the Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing said to the recent CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Haiti.

After reading and parsing the Premier’s speech, there can be no question whatsoever that what he reported to CARICOM was an accurate representation of what happened, and indeed what continues to occur, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

What is perhaps most unfortunate in the circumstances, is that none of Hon. Hague, Hon. Simmonds or Mr. Rushbrook can point to any specific part or parts of the Premier’s speech in which he “substantially misrepresented” the past and present situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Instead, and true to form, they have made a broad and general characterisation to CARICOM and the rest of the world, which in and of itself, is a gross misrepresentation of what the Premier stated.

For any correspondence coming from officials in such high office to at least be taken seriously by CARICOM or anyone with common sense, it should be stacked with undisputable facts and the itemization of those particular “misrepresentations” which the Premier is alleged to have made.

In the absence of any such specifics of rebuttal, these honorable men are inviting reasonable and sensible persons to arrive at the conclusion that the Premier lied to CARICOM and, as they were at pains to add, to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Nothing, on critical examination of the facts Dr. Ewing pronounced, could be further from the truth.

The letter from William Hague, who is an honorable man, is uncharacteristically and disappointingly weak and skimpy for someone of his stature.

For example, Mr. Hague talks about the British Government providing initial funding for the Providenciales International Airport many years ago, but makes no mention of the fact that the new $10million expansions are being funded by the operations of the airport and with no help from the Brits.

He also mentions the appointment of a Chief Financial Officer to assist with the finances of the TCI, but fails to tell CARICOM that they had to recall the said CFO Hugh McGarel-Groves because he was an under-performer and a spectacular failure.

His explanation about VAT and the reasons why it will not be introduced, was patently pathetic and failed to mention that nearly 100 percent of the business community in TCI were opposed to it, along with the two political parties.

Mr. Hague also stated that former Premier Michael Misick is “resisting return” to TCI, but he did not tell CARICOM that Misick has repeatedly said he wants to return home voluntarily and that he has written that he wants to waive extradition.

These are but some of the fundamental weaknesses and flaws that are contained in Mr. Hague’s letter to CARICOM; but Mr. Hague is an honorable man.

It therefore is quite sad, to say the least, that Mr. Hague, Mr. Simmonds and these other honorable men are seeking to assassinate the Premier’s character and inflict a vicious assault on his credibility, and that they are seeking to do so in the Caribbean political arena.

It is equally disturbing that by virtue of their written words, they are behaving as though the average resident of the Turks and Caicos Islands cannot read and understand, and that they cannot relate to the accuracy of the Premier’s statement which was pregnant with facts. Indeed, if the Premier can be faulted for anything, it should be that he did not give CARICOM leaders more details.

Analysts and observers may very well and rightly come to the conclusion that the only reason this approach is being taken by these honorable British operatives is because the Premier struck a positive chord among his CARICOM colleagues who perhaps finally would have gotten a true sense and clear picture of what is really going on in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

It can be argued that Premier Ewing may have embarrassed the Brits in the presence of Caribbean leaders by exposing their shenanigans. It can be also posited that as far as the real issues in the Turks and Caicos Islands are concerned, the Brits, who have been controlling the narrative regionally and internationally for far too long, may now feel that they are losing the public relations battle.

What, therefore, we are seeing being played out here with this CARICOM issue is a typical and classic example of how certain Brits are known to operate. They are past masters of spin. They have a tendency to paint all with the same brush and their approach to problem-solving is that one size fits all. They don’t like to be challenge. You must either put up or shut up. Moreover, in Caribbean parlance, when they are “out to get you” they seem to be guided by the following famous passage in Alice In Wonderland:

“`Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
`No, no!’ said the Queen. `Sentence first–verdict afterwards.’
`Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!’
`Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.
`I won’t!’ said Alice.
`Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
`Who cares for you?’ said Alice, `You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’

While it may not be polite to call these British operatives a “pack of cards”, there is indeed much certainty in saying that they have employed the above tactic before on others here and in other British Overseas Territories and they are now seeking to repeat it with Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Dr. Rufus Ewing. They are obviously on a mission to sentence him as a liar among his CARICOM colleagues, although there is no evidence to substantiate this.

There is, however, some consolation in the fact that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the leaders of CARICOM know better than to believe everything, in anything, that certain British officials here and elsewhere have to say.

In the words of Sir Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!”




Genel News


Response to UK Foreign Secretary William Hague RE-Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing Caricom Speech
Published in TCI POST on 15th of March 2013
Dear Mr. Hague,
I appreciate your latest correspondence as of March 12. I am encouraged by your reaffirming the ideals and objectives lined out in the Overseas Territory White paper. Let me assure you that we in the TCI are equally interested in a flourishing partnership with the UK. However, as I have pointed out before and will point out again, the current situation is nowhere close to the ideals and standards that the White paper prescribes. The remarks at CARICOM were in no way meant to offend, but to correct the path that our friendship has taken in the past 4 years. Unfortunately, previous attempts to address these issues on a less public level had all fallen on deaf ears. As such, these remarks should be seen as an attempt to strengthen the relationship between our nations, and a strengthening of this relationship can only happen on terms that are perceived as fair, transparent and appropriate by both the TCI and the UK.
Before I go into detail on what we have perceived as wrong and unjust, let me make one point very clear.
The current PNP administration can in no way be held responsible for any alleged wrong-doings that happened during the previous PNP government under Michael Misick. While we still wait to see evidence presented in a court of law concerning the alleged actions of select individual of that former administration, let me remind you that the current government consists of a totally different set of persons and none of them have been implicated in the investigations surrounding the old government. As you might recall, there were a number of highly publicized scandals in recent years which involved a large numbers of British politician, both Labour and Tory. However we would never discredit your party, the Tories because of the failures of these few individuals in the past. And we will not discredit your coalition partner, the Liberal Democrats, because of Chris Huhne’s personal failures and his recent criminal conviction. And neither will we discredit the good reputation of the United Kingdom and Her Majesty’s Government because of these past yet regrettable scandals. I will kindly ask you to adhere to the same standards when you refer to my party, the PNP, to my government and to the Turks and Caicos Islands as a whole. We have come a long way to reform our party and we won the recent democratic elections, bringing a group of young and energetic Turks and Caicos Islanders into government. My government deserves a chance to prove itself and we do not agree with constant comparisons and finger pointing to former members of parliament, and I am sure you will understand our concerns.
Let me move on to point out some points that we find troubling and that have caused a great amount of misunderstanding between our nations.
First of all, we welcome your acknowledgement of a broad responsibility for good governance in our territory. In fact, we would have much welcomed this commitment in previous times while alleged Mal-governance and serious wrongdoings by elected officials are said to have caused the dire financial situation we find ourselves in. But let me remind you that the judicial process was and is in no way expeditious or transparent. While our country and our people have already been burdened with a $260 Million loan for undisclosed liabilities, humongous ongoing costs of the prosecutions, the loss of democratic representation, the threat of ever rising taxes, not to mention the loss of self confidence and dignity for our nation – we have yet to see evidence presented in a court of law. While the verdict for our electorate has already been spoken and the punishment has been executed on our people over the past years, we have yet to see the bigger picture and hard facts of how all of these alleged crimes could have taken place under a British Governor and FCO.
In regards to the process of these investigations, many of my countrymen are deeply worried about the fact that foreign developers of a certain skin color involved in these alleged crimes were given the option to settle their cases for multi-million dollar settlement fees, while our own people have not been offered this option and are now facing criminal trials and jail time. It is further worrisome that the investigation stops short of investigating some individuals at all, if I can just mention the fact that no British bureaucrat has ever been mentioned in this investigation, yet it is alleged that $3 to 5 Billion in crown land assets have been removed from our country and the Governor at this time signed off on every single transaction. It is hard to see transparent and responsible action in this process.
In regards to the outcome of this investigation, I have to remind you that the recovered amounts are only barely higher than the costs of the investigation which currently stands at over $13 Million, leaving only a tiny amount of net gains after lawyers’ fees. In the scope of the overall scope of the alleged crime, this can only be labeled as the proverbial drop in the ocean.
In regards to the case of Mr. Michael Misick, let me assure you that it is totally beyond the power of myself or my government to control the actions of this one man. Mr. Misick is a grown man and he is making decisions for himself. I can only assume that he is trying to protect his legal rights and human rights during this investigation, which he is very much entitled to.
However at this point, I will have to remind you that it took the British Government more than a year to fund the investigation against Mr. Misick and a few more years to come up with official charges, and then Mr. Misick was given again more than 9 months to allegedly conceive a child in Brazil, all of which has massively deteriorated chances of bringing a proper judicial process against this one individual into motion. Once again, the current situation is unfortunate for all of us however it is not the time to cast blame on my administration which was just elected less than 5 months ago.
Then let me move on to the issue of VAT, which in itself has stood out as a frightening example of a heavy handed, non-transparent and irresponsible approach to governance executed by the British interim administration, particularly by current Governor Ric Todd and the CFO McGarel-Goves. To implement such a massive new tax burden without proper consultation, against the will of the whole electorate and the whole business community, without any consideration of our economic situation and without any fine-tuning to our specific circumstances, this alone has all the markings of an arbitrary dictatorship and not the flourishing partnership that you cited. I could go on and fill many pages on this topic, however since the whole dilemma is so well documented, I will leave it at that. I will however mention that the recent refusal to sign the VAT repeal bill and to leave the tax hanging over our heads is an unprecedented case in both the TCI and UK legislative process. This has only lead to a further hardening in emotions for my people, which was so easy to avoid had we only been listened to early last year – this is what a flourishing partnership would have easily prevented from happening.
To close my response, let me make clear that we stick with our call to recall Governor Ric Todd and the Attorney General, and that we are relieved that the current CFO is leaving and will hopefully be replace by an individual that has an ear for our concerns and a heart for our country. The country is spiraling out of control with Ric Todd at the helm. Not only has he alienated every political and religious denomination in this country, he has caused much sorrow and distress for my long suffering people. We are a forgiving people but in his case, too many lines have been crossed, and too much disrespect has been displayed towards our country and culture. On top of that, we are faced with a deteriorating health situation and a rise in crime which has lead to the historic Travel Advisory by the US embassy issued yesterday. We are thriving to accomplish a flourishing relationship with the UK, however this will only be possible with a new set of representatives and a fresh new beginning.
Let me conclude by reiterating my believe that not all is lost, and that the TCI and the UK can move forward as a partnership between equals, and that we can learn from each other rather than pull each other down. There is a lot that is still to be achieved to improve our relationship, and we will not turn down any honest attempt to assist us and pave the road to the future. I hope this open discourse will set the foundation for a process that ultimately leads to the achievement of our goals.



Genel News

CARICOM expressed Grave Concern about Turks and Caicos Islands Affairs

by Hayden Boyce – Publisher & Editor-in-Chief,
Published in Sun TCI on 20th of February 2013

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has expressed “grave concern” about the state of political affairs in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In fact, the regional leaders are taking matters in this country so seriously that they intend to raise concerns indentified by Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing with representatives of the British Government.

In a communiqué issued at the conclusion of the 24th Inter-sessional Heads of Government meeting held in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, the Caribbean leaders stated: “The Conference noted with grave concern that, though the elections of November 2012 had led to the restoration of representative government, the overall state of political affairs remained less than desirable and the restoration of true democracy was still a far way off. The 2011 constitution, conceived in London and thrust upon the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands when they were without representation, was viewed as a mere by-law for the continuance of direct rule under the pretext of representative democracy.”

The CARICOM report added: “Of additional concern were the challenges emanating from the workings of the justice system in relation to the criminal investigations that followed the commission of enquiry, and what was portrayed as “constant infractions of democratic principles and insults to the ideals of elected government”.

The Conference noted the reaffirmation of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government’s commitment to the Caribbean Community as well as the expressed appreciation for the pronouncements of the Community on the situation in TCI. It was decided to continue to keep the situation under close review and to raise concerns with representatives of the British Government.”

The communiqué said that the conference “received with interest” the address made by the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Dr. Rufus Ewing.

It was the first meeting of the Community at which the Turks and Caicos Islands had been officially represented by a democratically elected Government since the suspension of its constitution in August 2009, and a three-year period of direct rule by the United Kingdom Government.

In his maiden speech to a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting on Tuesday, Premier Ewing called on CARICOM (Caribbean Community), to advocate on the international stage for the full restoration of the institutions of true democracy in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

He also asked regional leaders to “support our (Turks and Caicos Islands) cries for removal of the spectre of colonial influences of the past, as we fight for our rights on our journey towards true self governance and self determination”.

Dr. Ewing’s said then: “The current state of affairs in the Turks and Caicos Islands has the potential to throw our Country into chaos. For so long as I am the leader and principal spokesman of the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I will use every means available to me to ensure that does not happen.”




Genel News

Premier of Turks and Caicos Dr Rufus Ewing Address to CARICOM

20130219-210839.jpgTurks and Caicos Islands Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing Address to CARICOM

FEBRUARY 18th 2013
His Excellency Michel Martelly, President of the Republic of Haiti and Chairman of CARICOM, Hon. Laurent Lamothe, Prime Minister of Haiti, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Secretary General of CARICOM, Heads of State of CARICOM and other Delegates present, friends all. I bring you greetings on behalf of the Government and people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I would like to thank the CARICOM Secretariat and you the CARICOM Heads of Government for affording me the opportunity to address this gathering on matters concerning the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It is indeed an honour to be here and I consider it a privilege to address you at this very significant Twenty-Fourth Inter-Sessional Meeting. This meeting is of significance, because it is the first meeting of CARICOM at which the Turks and Caicos Islands is being officially represented by a democratically elected Government since the suspension of our Constitution in August 2009. It is also of significance, because it the first of such meetings to be held by one of our closest neighbours and important trading partner. Given the long relationship between the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the people of Haiti, my own father captaining many voyages to Haiti, I feel able to say that Haiti’s membership in CARICOM, is a recognition within the region, of our brotherhood with Haiti. Haiti is a part of us and we are a part of Haiti.
The Turks and Caicos Islands extends its congratulations to His Excellency Martelly and the people of Haiti and do look forward to both our nations growing from strength to strength within the Caribbean Community.
On November 9th 2012, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands were granted the ability to exercise their democratic right to elect a representative government following a three year period of direct rule by United Kingdom Government. Though these elections have indeed led to the restoration of ministerial government, the overall state of political affairs remains less than desirable in our islands. The restoration of true democracy is still a far way off. In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we are today being governed by a constitution that was conceived in White Hall, and was for all intents and purposes thrust upon the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, at a time when they were without representation. The 2011 Constitution is merely a by-law for the continuance of direct rule under the pretext of representative democracy.
Distinguished colleagues, friends, we seize the opportunity of this audience to reflect briefly on the evolution of events in our country over the past three years, so that you may better appreciate our realities and come to understand that our yearnings are not unique. The people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, wish simply to serve democracy because they are confident that if they serve democracy, democracy will in turn serve them.
In 2008, a Commission of Inquiry presided upon by a sole Judge; found that there was evidence of systemic corruption, by politicians, senior government officials and co-conspirator developers. The findings of the Inquiry also suggested that there were significant deficiencies within the administrative arm of Government. Following on from his findings, the Commissioner made several recommendations including the investigation of those persons accused of wrong-doing, but more importantly, the suspension of vital parts of our 2006 constitution, allowing for direct rule from the UK by an Interim Administration from August 2009.
During the period of direct rule from the United Kingdom, all power was vested in the office of the Governor, so that he wielded absolute power. The Advisory Council and the Consultative Forum, whose members were appointed by the Governor, were institutions established by the Interim Administration designed to mimic respectively the Cabinet and the House of Assembly. His Excellency was not however bound to take the advice of either body. Under the Direct authority of the United Kingdom Government the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands witnessed the following:
The implementation of new laws such as “The Trial Without Jury Law” and amendments to the laws governing the admissibility of Hearsay Evidence. To the extent that these laws are intended to be retroactive, they erode the confidence in the Judiciary that must underpin every democracy and challenge the very rule of law that the Interim Administration was charged to promote.
The approval of budgets without debate, so that there was no opportunity for the ordinary citizen to influence in any way, how his tax dollar was being spent,
The transfer of protected pension funds from the National Insurance Fund to the Consolidated Fund
The implementation of laws facilitating the imposition of taxation against the wishes of the people
Such were but some the abuses of the United Kingdom Government visited upon the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the name of Democracy and Good Governance during the rule of the Interim Government.
Your Excellency, I wish to assure the Community, that the Government and people of the Turks and Caicos Islands are committed to all the principles of democracy and the tenets of good governance. As a Government, we are committed to strengthening where they exist and creating where they do not exist, all those institutions that promote democracy and good governance. Guided by that commitment, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands by and large welcomed the need for reforms and for the strengthening of governance systems. By and large we acknowledged that the allegations of corruption and maladministration necessitated investigation, we have however, always been concerned that the inquiry was left to a lone Commissioner and we have always maintained that the suspension of our constitution and the establishment of an Interim Administration, was an inappropriate response to the Commissioner’s findings and ran counter to every principle of democracy and good governance.
Our sense of what is right and decent and fair compels us to question even to this day, why it is that former Governor Tauwhare, who was a member of the Cabinet for a significant period of the last elected government’s term, has not been required to speak to his involvement in the alleged wrong doings. Your Excellency, as you would expect, I am slow to comment on judicial processes, but I would betray my duty to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands if I did not express our concern that in relation to the criminal investigations that followed the commission of inquiry, persons who were charged criminally have avoided the criminal process by paying millions of dollars into the treasury before they were even called upon to answer the charge. This type of action is abusive and nothing short of corrupt. It is the more egregious, because those who have to date been able to purchase their justice, have not been Turks and Caicos Islanders. When those who dispense justice are allowed to see black or white, rich or poor, expatriate or belonger, what they dispense ceases to be justice. When justice is for sale and when laws are implemented and made retroactive, arguably in an effort to secure particular convictions, the justice system and the system of justice is being challenged and democracy is under siege.
On the issue of taxation without representation, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands by its duly elected Parliamentarians have just recently unanimously voted in support of an ordinance to repeal the Value Added Tax Ordinance that was passed by the Interim Administration and that is scheduled to come into force on April 1st of this year. The unanimity of the vote to repeal the VAT Ordinance, did not come as a surprise, as both political parties campaigned against its immediate implementation and sought its delay in order to allow the elected Government to explore alternative measures. We have made representations to the effect that VAT is not in the best interest of a small economy such as ours and have provided sound alternative revenue generating measures. While we maintain that VAT will not work in the Turks and Caicos Islands, we are more concerned, as you can see, that the principle of Democracy and Good Governance, which mandates that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands through their elected officials, must have an opportunity to consider any measure that seeks to impose an additional tax burden on them or to otherwise alter their tax structure, is a principle that is being sacrificed on the altar of despotism. If His Excellency The Governor refuses to assent to the repeal bill, he would have said in no uncertain terms that the voice of the people is the voice of God, only so long as God and the United Kingdom Government are singing in chorus. I cannot stress with sufficient strength nor overstate the significance of these events. The question is not one of taxation, but rather, one of democracy.
An additional insult to the democratic process, is the continued presence of a UK appointed CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, whose office controls government expenditure without the authority of the elected Minister of Finance. Friends, imagine if you could, an elected Government unable to give a clear undertaking to the works because this strange, unelected creature, the CFO, is deciding upon the operations of Government without the authority of the Minister of Finance.
Your Excellency, Ministerial Government in the Turks and Caicos Islands is not yet 40 years old – younger in fact, than the treaty of Chaguaramas. In that time, we have by any standards, made significant strides and by the same token, we have made mistakes. Your Excellency, fellow heads of Government, I assure you that the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands has constantly under review, the successes and failures of those Governments that came before us. We will not be afraid to emulate the actions that lead to successes and avoid those that lead to failures. I wish also to assure you, that so long as I am entrusted with the office of Premier, I will stand in opposition to any individual or group of individuals, whose purpose it is to reverse the social, political and economic gains of past governments.
On February 10th 2013, moved by dismay over the constant infractions of democratic principles and insults to the ideals of elected government, I caused a letter to be forwarded to the First Secretary of State, The Rt. Hon. William Hague, MP – Minister of Foreign Affairs – requesting the recall with immediate effect, of the UK appointed dignitaries responsible for these infractions, namely His Excellency the Governor, the Attorney General and the Chief Financial Officer.
For some time Your Excellency, perhaps blinded by the euphoria of success, the Turks and Caicos Islands may not have been as public in its support for CARICOM as it could have been. We may not have been as bold as we could have been in championing the ideals of the Community. We may have failed to look within the region for the assistance in strengthening our institutions and building our democracy. The Turks and Caicos Islands have a vested interest in CARICOM, not least because we have living and working among us, citizens from perhaps every member and associate member of the Community. Your Excellency, please know that the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands is committed to this region as we strive to build our small nation.
Even as I make public my Government’s commitment to the Caribbean Community, I want to make clear that that commitment is not at the expense of our willingness to continue work with the United Kingdom Government. The Government of the United Kingdom must by now realize that the Turks and Caicos is not prepared “to go along”, with all that they propose just “to get along”. The Partnership only works, if, notwithstanding our status as overseas territories, Her Majesty’s Government recognizes that we also carry the mandate of a constituency, whose interest we have a duty to represent.
In the words of Sir Lynden Pindling “We (the Government), must take the worst and make them Better. We must take the lowest and take them Higher. We must take the saddest and make them Happier. We must take the sickest and make them Healthier and we must take the poorest and make them Richer.” I have no doubt that all the Governments represented here today subscribe to that vision. It was that vision that propelled Toussaint L’Ouverture in to action. That vision drove Eric Williams, Alexander Bustamante, Forbes Burnham, Errol Barrow, Lynden Pindling and a slew of others, to challenge the status quo. So too, are the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands Inspired.
Your Excellency, There has always been a commitment in CARICOM for democratic values and a concern for basic human rights. CARICOM has never been afraid to condemn any circumstance that is an affront to democracy or denies the basic human rights to any people. In this regard we wish to thank the Community for its pronouncements thus far.
The current state of affairs in the Turks and Caicos Islands has the potential to throw our Country into chaos. For so long as I am the leader and principal spokesman of the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I will use every means available to me to ensure that does not happen.
Today therefore, on behalf of the Government and peoples of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I am calling on the Community and the individual member states, to keep the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands under review. I urge you to stand with us, not on one or other specific policy, but on the question of democracy. I invite you, to advocate on the international stage for the full restoration of the institutions of true democracy in our islands and to support our cries for removal of the spectre of colonial influences of the past, as we fight for our rights on our journey towards true self governance and self determination.
On behalf of the people of The Turks and Caicos Islands, I thank you.