Interview about Joe Grant in Turks and Caicos Islands

  • Dr Kinay, for this interview is the subject Joe Grant Cay in Turks and Caicos Islands. This Cay is one of the less known cays, and its story came up to the attention of the TCIlanders because of bribe allegations in Turks and Caicos. Dr Kinay, What is Joe Grant Cay?

 

Joe Grant’s Cay is a beautiful but remote, uninhabited 712 acres cay located in a remote section of the archipelago between Middle Caicos and Easy Caicos. It is accessible only by sea. The last time I took a boat to visit it, it took me 2 hours from Providenciales to get there. This Cay has no dock, no road, no electricity, no water neither any form of other infrastructure. It is inhabited like East Caicos. The cay is composed mainly of consolidated rock with the ocean frontages consisting of either sand or “iron shore”.   The elevation is low and the shallow water depths at some parts of the island for do not allow visitors to access other areas. These difficulties do not discourage us, as at the end, when properly developed, this Cay is a beauty.

 

We have bought 200 Acres of this island on June 20, 2008 from the Crown through a transfer of title executed by the former Governor., Hon Richard Tauwaree and on November 7, 2008, the former Governor, Hon. Whetherwell has executed a Development Agreement with us for the development of the whole island.

 

  • What is the role of you in this project?

 

When I first came to Turks and Caicos Islands in 2005, I had already my development company O Property Collection in Austria. This company is where I, and my partner Oguz Serim offer our development advice to projects. O Property Collection has, from the first days of this project, ,is acting as “developer” bringing its expertise, in construction, sales, marketing. The center of any development is people. Community is very important. My company’s vision is to create design driven projects. God has already placed a beautiful design for Dellis and Joe Grant, it is now up to us, with respect, to treat these beauties with the best architecture and standards there is.

 

  • What do you want to develop on this island?

 

We want to develop the island with an environmentally friendly Hotel and then Villas in the natural surroundings. We have retained top environmental engineers from Florida, and we already started the process of Environment Impact Assessment. We designed our project with a high class architect from italy, and have signed a brand and management Indent with a very famous brand. The most important consideration though is that this will be a low density and green development.

 

  • When you first heard of Joe Grant Cay? How did you get involved?

 

I first got interested in Joe Grant Cay In December 2006 when I was informed that negotiations with some developers for a proposed project on Joe Grant’s Cay had run into difficulties and I was asked whether I could be interested to take this development further. The Government already had a price for sale on the Cay, US$5 million according to a formal offer that the former Government had placed before the previous developers in November 2006. My initial views for the Cay was that it was a remote location, no infrastructure and it involved Crown Land, and that meant the need of a Belonger Partner. I was not familiar with this process as my first investment Dellis Cay, is a private transaction and does not involve any Crown Land.

 

  • Did you know any of the previous developers?

I understand form the discussions in the past months that there were a number of developers who wanted to take this Cay prior to my involvement in early 2007. I do not know and have never done any business with the gentleman named at the discussions at the Commission of Inquire,. whether in relation to Joe Grant’s Cay or otherwise.

 

  • Who is you local/belonger partner?

 

I was already heavily engaged in our Dellis Cay project, and having regard to the Crown land policy (of which I was then aware), I thought it sensible to have a belonger partner in the development. In that respect, a company called Oceanic Development Ltd owned by Don Gardiner became my partner. I respected Don very much whom I already knew socially. As you may recall he was the President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism Board. I understood that Don was involved in the development prospects of Joe Grant Cay with the previous developers so he was very familiar with it. We have executed a Joint Venture Agreement with Don’s company in January 2007, and became partners in a company called Caicos Platinum Ltd, a company that was the recipient of the first formal offer of US$5 million from the Government back in November 2006.

 

 

  • When did you buy Joe Grant Cay.

 

See, that has never happened. We did not buy Joe Grant Cay. We bought the freehold of the 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, and the rest (512 acres) is provided to us by a Conditional Purchase Lease through a development Agreement. I am not sure whether you followed it, but this island was first offered at US$5 million to Caicos Platinum Ltd, when that company was owned by previous developers. Then, 200 Acres of it (approximately 30%) was offered to us at $2 million in early June 2008, by the decision of Cabinet, led by His Excellency the Governor Richard Tauwaree. At the specific instance of the Government (and with some reluctance on our part given the risk to which we were thus being exposed in advance of the conclusion of a development agreement), we were asked to close the purchase of the 200 acres hotel parcel on an urgent basis, apparently because of very low cash flow issues at Government level. Having agreed to do so, the Governor again changed its mind, obtained a new valuation by a third party QS and informed us on June 19th, 2008 that the price of the hotel parcel had been increased to $3.2 million. We paid that price for 200 Acres and bought a portion of Joe Grant Cay on June 20th, 2008 on de day of Groundbreaking Ceromonie of Dellis Cay.Governor Tauwaree came in the afternoon to this Ceromonie,was very happy,that Joe Grant deal was finally closed after 1,5 years of negotiations.He congratulated me on the day,the funds of the transaction was in the account of government.

 

 

  • What about the Development Agreement?

 

You know, it took us almost 2 years from the first discussions, but 5 months after our acquisition of the 200 Acre parcel, in November 2008 to get a Development Agreement. I am not sure whether you re know but The Governor executes all major agreements on behalf of the Government. So, our that time new Governor HE Gordon Wetherell, Attorney General Hon.Rhondalee Braithwaite and our CEO, Director, Michel Neutelings have met for the execution of the Development Agreement.

 

  • Dr, Is there anything special in the Agreement?

 

All development agreements in Turks and Caicos Islands, usually have more or less the same provisions. However, we have an additional obligation on our part to pay 15% on the gross amount on the sale of villa lots in the development to the Crown. I am not privy to all development agreements in TCI but I am not personally aware of any other development agreement which contains an obligation of that nature. From the standpoint of the public, it is clear that if my partners and I make a major investment on Joe Grant’s Cay such that the price which a buyer might pay for a villa lot is greatly enhanced, the Government receives a corresponding benefit without any of the business risks undertaken by the developer. Joe Grant Cay was going to be a new source of income for the TCI Government and TCI islanders. This remote and unhabited island was going to be the home for a new hospitality project providing new jobs and opportunities for everyone. I would imagine that most of the ex middle caicos residents would returned to their home from their present endeavors in Providenciales. In summary, this project had a very important social aspect. I have on many occasions discussed these aspects with both Honorable Governors Tauwahare and Whetherel.

 

  • There was a discussions about the valuation? What you have to say on it?

Look, I am a developer, a businessmen. I got interested in this deal as the 712 Acres was available at US$5 million to a number of developers who apparently did not perform. I wanted to buy at this price. At the end, I have negotiated more than 18 months to get 30% of this cay at US$3.2 million. I took a significant risk by paying that price and closing that purchase without having a signed development agreement with TCIG, with no guarantee that we could carry out our development plan or acquire the rest of the Cay.

 

Now coming to the valuations, I understand from the Inquiry that under the leadership of the HE Governor Tauwaree himself, the Cabinet has sought a number of conflicting valuations both from their own valuation department and from a private commercial appraiser on June 2008. They have as the Cabinet, together with HE the Governor, have decided to take the valuation of the commercial appraiser as it reflected the market value.

 

Now, the question is why did they not picked the high value but the low value?

 

My answer is that the valuation of the land is obviously a matter for the Crown and for experts in that field. That is why I I have hired some of the leading experts in this field to assist me. What they say is simple: the Valuation officer has attempted to value this property by direct comparison to couple at Ambergris Cay, and sale listings from marketing brochures (and not actual transactions) at North Caicos Marina and Middle Caicos. I am told that those comparables do not come near being appropriate for the purposes of valuing Joe Grant Cay.

 

At Ambergris Cay, for example, lot sizes of between 0.32 – 1.85 acres each are compared to our project of 700 acres.   In addition, Ambergris Cay forms part of an established luxury brand, and considerable expenditure has been undertaken on the extensive infrastructure. I do not know if you know but Ambergis Cay has all its utilities underground, electricity and water, It is the only island in this country which has an underground sewer system. Everything is self-generated on the island, water making, the treatment of the sewer system. It has even an uncompleted marina that is not completed but obviously a port facility) including the inclusion of the biggest private runway (6,000 feet) in the Caribbean. Overall Ambergis Cay it is a self-sufficient island that has all of the amenities and can function, unlike North and Middle Caicos which has to have power on the sea cable from Providenciales. North Caicos Yacht Club is also a developed property, so no parallels to undeveloped land neither. We also understand that the valuer has used “sales brochure prices” in 2008. The Middle Caicos comparative is based on a sales listing as well, which was withdrawn from the market after 22 months listing period and not sold.

 

Now, that is what experts say. These will all come out soon. Now if you ask me what I personally think. To me, the real valuation is what I paid. I paid US$18 million to Dellis Cay, a 500 acres island, of which 200 Acre is private land. Dellis Cay is only 20 minutes from Leeward Highway, it had PPC Electricity cable in it, for plenty of electricity, and it is next to world renowned Parrot Cay. I think that we have paid for the 200 Acres at Joe Grant Cay reflects the fair market price at its present state and that is “undeveloped” land at a remote location for commercial use. That is what it is.

 

Later on, we have asked both local and international professional valuation firms to conduct a full analysis and report an official valuation of this island. All these reports have confirmed the value that we have paid to Joe Grant Cay’s 200 acres and the lease agreements that we have entered with the TCI Government. In any case, after the World Economical Crisis starting in November 2008 and onwards land values have significantly eroded all around the world and especially the Caribbean.

 

  • But Dr Kinay what is the benefit of this Project to the TCIslanders? What do they get?

 

Look, The government did not simply sell a piece of land, they entered into a development agreement for the development of that land. If I can not develop it on time, and spend the money that the Government wants me to spend on it, than they will get back. It is in the Agreement. It is ours as long as we spend money on it. You know how much? My Development Agreement says I need to spend US$120 million on this cay in a fixed period of time. We estimated that the construction will take 2 years and create at least 150 new local jobs. Once the island is fully operational it will require at least 70 locals to manage it. As I have already mentioned, in addition to the purchase price of the land of the hotel site, we will pay 15% of our Villa sales on the 300 Acre Villa Lots and this goes straight to the Government’s budget. Not to mention, the usual development agreement obligations such as the Annual Scholarship payments, duties, work permit fees, the rents paid under the leases, stamp duty benefits accruing to TCIG arising out of sales in the development and the boost to the tourism economy of TCI.

 

  • Dr Kinay, you lost a court case concerning Joe Grant Cay? What will happen now?

 

I received the Turks and Caicos Islands Court’s judgment concerning Joe Grant Cay. I also received TCIG’s Press Release. The judgement is grossly unfair and Joe Grant Cay development companies are currently appealing it. I could not afford lawyers as Turks and Caicos Islands Courts have frozen all my worldwide assets not allowing me to spend any funds towards my right to defend myself and my companies. Looking at the Judgment, in essence, His Hon. Justice G W Martin has concluded in connection with the political donation of $500,000 made by Dellis Cay’s parent company Turks Development LP (the Court states the donation was from ‘Dr Kinay’) to Michael Misick on 9 January 2007, the Judge found (paragraph 33) “there to be a very strong probability that the money was paid as a bribe in order to ensure that the Defendant companies obtained the benefit of the proposed development” disregarding the facts that the Defendant companies did not even exist at that time, and that the donation was made by Turks Development LP, a company developing Dellis Cay, not related in any way to Joe Grant Cay . His Hon Judge further observed (paragraph 41): “I emphasise that this judgment should not be treated as a conclusive finding that any individual has acted corruptly.  Nobody should be declared corrupt if he has not had the opportunity to defend himself at trial, and that has not happened in this case.’ These statements did not make the Judgment just and fair, the basic principle of law.

 

On the matter of Joe Grant Cay’s valuation, His Hon Justice completely ignored the Government’s valuation report obtained from BCQS, an independent commercial appraiser who valued 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, at USD 3.2 million for commercial use, exactly the amount of money asked by the Government in June 2008, which the development companies have paid in full. His Hon Judge ruled (Para 36, The Judgement) ‘When instructing BCQS to give an alternative valuation, McAllister Hanchell did not tell them of the proposed development, so that their valuation made no allowance for the intended use of the land.’. The Learned Chief Justice has failed to recognize that BCQS valuation report specifically stated on Page 7 Item 3.5 ‘It is assumed that planning permission is available for the subdivision of the land for residential plots or for a commercial use.’ By ignoring BCQS’s clear statement specifying that Joe Grant Cay valuation report is prepared for “commercial use”, The Hon. Chief Justice presented an unbalanced approach for the benefit of the Plaintiff. The Court’s omission of BCQS’s written representations in their valuation report is not something that I can live with and we will be pursuing the reasons for this material error.

 

First, the Commission of Inquiry’s publication of unredacted Final Report despite the TCI Supreme Court’s Order not to publish the unredacted Final Report cost Dellis Cay its business and caused the funders to pull their finances, now Joe Grant Cay Development companies are striped of their rightfully obtained assets.

 

It is clear to me that there is a set political agenda which is geared to restructure the political landscape at the Turks and Caicos Islands and we are chosen as the main victims. I repeat categorically that I reject all accusations, and state that we are innocent

 

For those who doubt that the Development of Joe Grant Cay is not innocent, I have only one question: Had the alleged privileges, favors or better conditions been present in the acquisition of 200 acres of this island, or in the Development Agreement, why both Hon. Governor Tauwhare, and the present Hon. Governor Whetherell would have executed these on behalf of the Crown? Both Hon Governors are experienced public officials, with history of making land transactions, and executing Development Agreements on behalf of the Crown. Why did they approve these transactions if the preferential treatment was all over the documents that they have signed?

 

All these contracts, and 200 acres land sale were approved by the Attorney General, TCI Invest, Ministers, the Premier, and executed by 2 Hon. Governors. The Government and both Hon. Governors had 2 years to conduct due diligence. Do you really believe that they were all ‘deceived’? and did not know what they were selling? That is the real question the Turks and Caicos Public must ask.

 

I have faith in the law, and I will look for justice until I find it.

 

  • What are your long term goals?

 

I did not come to Turks and Caicos Islands, to do few projects and go back to anywhere. I will stay and work here for many years. When Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay will one time open, my children, together with the young generation of Turks and Caicos Islands, will be proud of having these developments, in remote locations and will have fun.TCI er will be proud about it too.

 

STATEMENT OF DR CEM KINAY WITH RESPECT TO THE JOE GRANT SALE.THE TRUTH.

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Statement of Dr Cem Kinay with respect to the Joe Grant Cay’s Sale

Istanbul, Turkey 18 December 2013

I understand from Turks and Caicos Islands media sources that a 200 acre parcel of Joe Grant Cay has been sold for $4.04m in October 2013 in a transaction that was never made public.

I was sure that one day, the truth about Joe Grant Cay’s true value will come to the light, Today, is my day. For the past 6 years, I have been living stripped of my basic human rights and assets just because the TCI Courts have concluded in connection with a political donation made to Michael Misick on 9 January 2007 “there to be a very strong probability that the money was paid as a bribe in order to ensure that the Defendant companies obtained the benefit of the proposed (Joe Grant Cay) development” disregarding the fact that there was in reality no benefit at all, as we have paid the true and accurate value of this land which was USD 3.2 million for the same 200 acres parcel back in 2008.

More specifically, on the matter of Joe Grant Cay’s valuation, His Hon Justice completely ignored the Government’s valuation report obtained from BCQS, an independent commercial appraiser who valued 200 acres parcel of Joe Grant Cay, at USD 3.2 million for commercial use, exactly the amount of money asked by the Government in June 2008, which my development companies have paid in full.

What is more astonishing was the fact that His Hon Judge ruled (Para 36, The Judgement) ‘When instructing BCQS to give an alternative valuation, McAllister Hanchell did not tell them of the proposed development, so that their valuation made no allowance for the intended use of the land.’. The Learned Chief Justice has failed to recognize that BCQS valuation report specifically stated on Page 7 Item 3.5 ‘It is assumed that planning permission is available for the subdivision of the land for residential plots or for a commercial use.’ By omitting BCQS’s clear statement specifying “commercial use” in its report, The Hon. Chief Justice violated our right to a fair trial, and unfairly favored the Turks and Caicos Islands Government by omitting what the true valuation report states. Instead, the Hon. Chief Justice relied on a series of valuation reports prepared by the Turks and Caicos Island’s own employee Mr. Hoza, which are at best confused. Mr. Hoza’s valuation reports valued the 200 acre parcel at a whopping 45 million for commercial use!

For those who doubt that the Development of Joe Grant Cay is not innocent, I have only one question: We have paid 3.2 million in 2008 for this 200 acre land, and today, 6 years later, the same land has been sold for 4.04 million in an open market transaction ! I ask you what happened to the alleged tens of millions of dollars that the Government and some of our opponents claimed that this land was supposed to be worth?

I have the answer: The alleged valuation of this island was a big lie ! Joe Grant Cay’s 200 acre was never valued more than what we paid for. That was the exact reason why many internationally repute valuation companies as well as all the local valuation companies have valued it at the exact value that we paid for it. That is why both Hon. Governor Tauwhare, and later on Hon. Governor Whetherell have approved and executed the sale of this 200 Acre land to us for USD 3.2 million, and that was why the sale was approved by the Attorney General, TCI Invest, Ministers, and the Premier.

In fact, there was no “favor” from anyone for Joe Grant Cay. In fact, we have paid the true value of this land, and the shameless dark forces took away from us alleging the “undervalue” sale. The evidence is before you, the same land is now sold for USD 4.04 million after 6 years.

In the past five years, I have been victimized by politics. My assets were frozen and hundreds of people lost their jobs. I could have developed Joe Grant Cay and create much needed jobs, and further tourism income for Turks and Caicos Islands. I was denied my fundamental right to a fair trial in TCI, a red notice application has been filed with the Interpol for my arrest. I am calling upon the TCI Government and the Attorney General to end these groundless accusations against me, return my assets, and clear my name as I have done nothing wrong.

God Bless

JOE GRANT SCANDAL IN TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

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The below article ,published in June 2012 in SUN

By Royal S. Robinson, MBE
The Interim Administration continues to try to have its cake and eat it as well as to operate in a very non-transparent way. When you take into consideration the premise on which they took over the country from the duly elected local representatives, the actions so far have not been to show you how best to get the job done, but how best to carry on the process by which cronyism is the hallmark of the day and picking winners of your own choosing is the best was in which to do business.
The British Government, FOC, DFID, SIPT and the Civil Recovery team declared that the original sale of land by the TCI government to Platinum was a corrupt transaction and as such should be recovered and redound to the benefit of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Steps were taken through the Court system to have the land returned to the Crown and the court agreed that the land should be returned. No sooner than this exercise was completed (Platinum seem not to take an interest in appealing the court’s decision), there seems to be a concerted effort being made to now ensure that the Turks and Caicos Islands’ people do not benefit effective from the return of that land.
The first part of the deception and deceit started with the decision to sell the land to satisfy a mortgage that had been placed on the property by Temple as a result of Platinum borrowing some $2M and using the property as collateral. My understanding of the legal system is that if a leaf of the fig tree is tainted, then the whole tree is tainted. As it relates to this particular transaction, if it was corrupt for Platinum to obtain the land in the first instance, then any subsequent transaction had to be corrupt also.
So why was there a rush on behalf of the Interim Administration to satisfy Temple Mortgage? There can be one inference to be drawn and that is that someone in the Administration or very close to the Administration had something to be gained by the sale of the land by the government to satisfy the debt to Temple!
According to all previous pronouncements by the Interim Administration, all of the land that had been reacquired as a result of some fraudulent activity would be kept in the land bank for future generations to benefit from. So what is the real rush to dispose of this land at this time? Something smells fishy here.
Now in the proper scheme of things, if the Interim Administration had a real reason to dispose of the land for the benefit of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the first thing it should have done was to specifically say so. Following on from that, it should have issued a Request for Proposals. If as they like to claim they are operating in an open and transparent manner, and they want to get the best value for money, that is what would have happen. But they have decided to pick winners from “their side of the ledger”. What is that called? Is it Insider trading? Or is it nepotism? I thought those were the common faults and flaws identified by Sir Robin Auld as being part of the systemic weakness and corruption in the previous political administration that had to be rooted out. But like Courtney Missick likes to say, corruption has only changed its colour, from black to white!
Now let us look at the local firm that got to market and sell the 200 acres of land on Joe Grant Cay. It is Sotheby’s and its local affiliate is Connolly-Zahm! Is it just coincidental that one of the principals of Connolly-Zahm if Mrs. Josephine Connolly, the wife of Advisory Council member Joseph (Joe) Connolly? As Ernie Clarke likes to say “I have the documents”. I will definitely like to see the documents showing that there is no nexus at all!
The old Finance and Audit Ordinance and Financial Instructions, followed by the now brand new Public Finance Management Ordinance, all speak to a transparent process with respect to the procurement of services by government.
As I have indicated before, there should have been a tendering process set up and the firm with the best proposal selected to carry out the work. The worst case scenario would have been to short-list say six of the local real estate firm that have international connections and ask them to submit proposals, I could live with that. I would have thought that that would have given me some piece of mind that I would have been getting value for money.
What I still cannot fathom is how the governor fixed his mouth to call the initial land transaction of Joe Grant cay corrupt and it had to be returned to the people, but no sooner was that done, he is out there secretly trying to sell that asset. Something untoward must be afoot here. I just cannot for the life of me understand the amount of double standard that is being used by this Interim Administration, save to say that a concerted effort is being made dispose of everything of value that belong to us, in a manner that they feel and say that it is in our best interest so to do.
I have never seen so many thing done in my best interest, that am totally opposed to as is happening with these bumbling idiots at the helm. As time progresses, everyone is seeing that the Emperor has on no clothes and is operating in a clueless manner.
How the Interim Administration hopes to be able to get away with such blatant disregards for the rules that they say they came here specifically to enforce and demonstrate the ethics of doing things in the proper manner?
However, what they have and are demonstrating to us is that what we were doing was child’s play and they are certainly showing us how bad business should operate. That does not give us faith and comfort in these operators. That is why on the streets there is now total skepticism as to the real reason the intervention took place.
We must by now be in a position to determine for ourselves that what is currently being done to us is neither right nor fair! The reset button has now been pushed by the setting of the date for elections. We should all go out and get registered so that we can send a clear and unambiguous message to the Interim Administration that business as usual will not be the order of the day. Joe Grant Cay has not been sold as yet and it is not too late to restart the process on a proper footing.
There cannot be a rush as there is a surplus budget proposed, so the money from the sale is not critical to our financial position except that the Interim Administration is hell bent of getting from under the loan guarantee as quickly as possible and to hell with whatever adverse consequence to the Turks and Caicos Islands people!

published in Sun TCI

Cem Kinay.Father of All Inclusive.

Please click on the link to read about Cem Kinay and his life  with a lot of pictures.

http://www.turizmguncel.com/haber/pismanligim-yok-para-icin-degil-yeni-bir-seyler-yapmak-icin-calistim-h14463.html

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THE TANGLED WEB OF BRITISH DECEPTION IN THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLAND

THE TANGLED WEB OF BRITISH DECEPTION IN THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
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!”

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BREAKING NEWS!!!!Turks and Caicos Premier Dr.Rufus Ewing Response to Mr.William Hague

20130320-235317.jpgDr. Hon. Rufus Washington Ewing

Statement

March 20, 2013

As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands I, on February 10, 2012, wrote to the Rt. Hon. William Hague, First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, requesting without prejudice, the recall of the Chief Financial Officer, His Excellency the Governor and the Attorney General. In my letter to Rt. Hon. Hague I outlined the concerns of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and cited reasons why those persons named should be recalled. My dissertation on the past and current state of the affairs of the Turks and Caicos Islands that was presented to CARICOM, also articulated my concerns and those of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands indicating the need for intervention and assistance from our regional neighbours.

As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands and as someone who was elected to represent the people of these islands, I am disappointed but not surprised, that I am being chastised by the Foreign Minister for exposing the facts and representing my people. I take exception to this and at the same time, stand by my position on both of the matters in question.

In my address to CARICOM I stated that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands acknowledged that the allegations of corruption and maladministration of the previous administration necessitated investigation. The Commission of Inquiry was presided over by a single Judge, Sir Robin Auld. After hearing evidence in those proceedings, Sir Auld concluded that there was a “High probability of systemic corruption amongst the Ministers, members if the legislature and public officials in the TCI” as a result of these conclusions our constitution was suspended. What was indeed unfortunate, but an indisputable fact, was that this conclusion was drawn without including the then Governor Richard Tauwhare, the TCI Head of State who was at the time entrusted with the responsibility for good governance and who was responsible for presiding over and signing most, if not all of the transactions that were cited in the commission of inquiry report as being corrupt.

The professional integrity and dignity of many hard working and dedicated Turks and Caicos Islanders, including our first Premier and Ministers, are now under question, because of the conclusions of Sir Auld. Furthermore, the fate of all accused persons now rest in the custody of a system designed to entrap and secure conviction of some whilst, at the same time, others walk free in exchange for money and information. It is also obvious that the accusations made against former members of government have moved from an alleged “high probability of corruption” by Sir Auld to what amounts to a verdict of “corruption” by the Secretary of State and the Governor. In these circumstances, I cannot state with any degree of confidence that the system of justice as it relates to the accusations of malfeasance is fair, as all of the actions thus far by those entrusted with investigations and administration of those accused, seem to be directed more at securing convictions at all cost and by all means, especially of persons of a particular political affiliation, rather than the pure pursuit of justice. I support the laws of this land being upheld, and the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” must be adhered to and the system of justice must be fair and balanced irrespective of who the accused is, from where he hails and what political party he or she is associated with.

 I have no need to misrepresent the facts about the past or present as the facts are there for all to see.

I speak directly to my people of the Turks and Caicos Islands to say that The Progressive National Party (PNP), of which I am Leader is an institution of the people, by the people and for the people. The label of corruption may justly or unjustly be placed upon individuals within any institution or organization, the clear distinction needs to be however made that the institutions or organizations themselves should not bear this label. I therefore resent the attempts by the Governor’s Office and the Foreign Office to repeatedly tarnish the name of any political party or group, by labeling it as being corrupt as it influences the minds of voters and prejudices the image of new officers of such parties.

It is my belief that the constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands was partially suspended, to exclude representative democracy in the legislative and executive arms of government so as to avoid interference by the local populous whilst the Interim Administration went about the many reforms that they desired to have implemented. It is well known that the Turks and Caicos Islands has been responsible for its own financial upkeep for decades without assistance from the United Kingdom, save for DFID grants in the past and EU grants as of recent. I cannot say that our lives have been made easier with the UK guarantee of a 260 million dollar loan that Turks and Caicos Islanders are now required to repay in a very short period or that we necessarily agree with the decisions made as to how that money is being spent. If the Interim regime had focused on expanding our economy in addition to employing less drastic cost cutting measures, then we would be in a much better financial position than we are now. The fact that our national debt is more than 3 times what it was in 2009 highlights this situation! In a nutshell, had better financial strategies been implemented there would have been no need for a loan guarantee nor would there have been a need for the yet to be repealed VAT initiative. Though we are grateful for the Secretary of State’s decision not to enact the VAT bill on April 1, 2013, the cries of our people through a resounding vote for repeal by a democratically elected House of Assembly are still being denied and democracy is still yet to be served.

During the reign of the Interim Administration a slew of legislations were drafted and enacted, including the 2011 Constitution. These pieces of legislation sought to achieve, among others, the following objectives:

1. Empowering the Governor with greater power and influence over the executive and legislative arms of government.

2. Total control and influence over financial matters

3. Enhancing good governance and greater accountability for persons in public life

4. Improving the chances of conviction of those accused of malfeasance by enactment of Trial without Jury and Hearsay laws to be used retroactively

5. Dismantling of the system of political patronage

It was stated clearly by the Secretary of State that he has full confidence in the Governor despite our overwhelming lack of confidence in the leadership of the present Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is also widely known that the Attorney General has been absent from duty for several months now and the many public failures of his office in the past several weeks have brought question to his level of competence and leadership. I therefore stand by my request for the recall of the Governor and the Attorney General and also the summonsing of Governor Tauwhare to the Turks and Caicos Islands to speak to the allegations against ministers for which he was a possible co-conspirator.

As Premier of this country, my responsibility is to ensure good governance whilst creating a higher quality of life for my people, and to make representation in their best interest. Given the many governance challenges being experienced by the UK and the lack of transparency and accountability on the part of UK appointed officials to the TCI, I will also not hasten to use the UK Government as a yard stick upon which to measure good governance. I proudly say that I was born and raised here in the Turks and Caicos Islands and that I share the dreams and aspirations of my people.

The future of the Turks and Caicos Islands is bright, but there are many challenges that we have to overcome as we govern in the best interest of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. My responsibility as Premier of this country is to represent the interest of the electorate, like the Secretary of State does for his electorate which I am sure takes precedence over ours. I will continue to respect his office but will also continue to represent, to speak, to act without fear or favour, in the interest of my people.

In regards to our position of independence, it is without a doubt independence is indeed our destiny. It may or may not come under my leadership, but whenever it comes, it will be by an act of the determined will of Turks and Caicos Islanders. When the timing is appropriate the question on independence will be asked through a referendum and I am confident that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands will be given the same opportunity as those in the Falkland Islands to answer the question as to whether it is their wish remain a UK Dependent territory.

I call on all Turks and Caicos Islanders to stand for what is right and what is just for all Turks and Caicos Islanders. I call on all Turks and Caicos Islanders to be vigilant, be honest and dedicated to the future of a brighter, prosperous nation that we can continue to proudly call our own.

Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands

N.J.S. Francis Building, Pond St, Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands

Tel: (649) 946-2801 ext 40101 – Fax: (649) 946-1803 – email: [email protected] – Twitter: @premier_tci

LONDON DENIES CONSTITUTIONAL POWERS FOR TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

Self-Determination for Falklands but Nowhere Else in the Remaining British Empire

London denies constitutional powers to Afro-Caribbean population in the Turks and Caicos

By Wayne Madsen
Global Research, March 19, 2013
Strategic Culture Foundation 17 March 2013

Britain is loudly proclaiming that the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands, the South Atlantic island group that is hotly contested between Britain and Argentina, voted 99.8 percent to remain an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. British Prime Minister David Cameron publicly rebuked the Argentine government and the new Pope, Francis I, for their support of Argentine sovereignty over the Falklands. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio supported Argentina’s historical claim to the islands.

If only Mr. Cameron were as dedicated to the wishes of the inhabitants of some of Britain’s other far-flung and nearer –to–home territories as he is toward the “Kelpers,” as the Falkland Islanders call themselves.

In the cases of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla in the Caribbean, the Tory-Liberal Democratic government in London has rolled back the self-government previously afforded the two island colonies.

The British government imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos in 2009, citing misrule and corruption by the island’s then-premier, Michael Misick. Britain appointed a Commission of Inquiry led by Sir Robyn Auld that recommended direct rule of the islands from London through Governor Gordon Wetherell; his successor Ric Todd; Attorney General Huw Shepheard; and Chief Financial Officer Hugh McGarel Groves. The Commission of Inquiry was replaced by a Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) that began investigating Turks and Caicos government officials for corruption.

The new Premier, Galmo Williams, declared, “Our country is being invaded and re-colonized by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance.”

The British neo-colonial government brought criminal charges against a dozen Turks and Caicos official, including five ministers in the Misick government, including Misick himself. The former premier fled to Brazil and was arrested pursuant to an extradition request from Britain. However, the breakdown in relations between London and Latin America over the Falklands issue may have compelled the Brazilian government to release Misick on bail awaiting a final determination on the extradition request.

Last November, an election was held in the Turks and Caicos and the Progressive National Party of former Premier Misick barely eked out a victory in an 8 seat to 7 seat vote for the opposition People’s Democratic Party in the House of Assembly. Dr. Rufus Ewing became Premier and among his first acts was to demand London restore constitutional powers from the abrogated constitution to the elected government and sack the governor, Attorney General, and other appointed officials. Cameron and Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary William Hague have resisted these calls. Essentially, when the white population and government of the Falklands demand something from London, they are heard and the request in positively acted upon. However, when it is an Afro-Caribbean population in the Turks and Caicos that makes a demand, they are ignored. It is the British colonial way.

In a letter to Hague, Ewing wrote that the investigation of the previous Misick government was a “farce, impregnated with cloak and dagger acts on the part of the Governor, AG Chambers and SIPT, to incarcerate Turks and Caicos Islanders at all costs, even the cost of the violation of the principles of justice and the human rights of individuals.”

Ewing told a summit of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Port au Prince, Haiti, “We are today being governed by a constitution that was conceived in Whitehall, 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.” Ewing was referring to the 2011 Constitution that afforded the island less rights than the previous Constitution of 2006.

One of the main objectives of the London-appointed government was to impose a tax hike and austerity measures on the Turks and Caicos. Hague rejected Ewing’s request and stated: “We expect the territories to meet the same high standards of good governance and public financial management as in the UK.” That is rich coming from a British government that has been mired in financial and sexual scandal since it came to power. But, again, the rationale in London is based on the fact that when white ministers and Tory and Liberal Democratic MPs are engaged in scandal, it is a minor infraction, but when a government composed of people of color are accused of scandal, an unconstitutional, anti-democratic, neo-colonialist sacking of the entire government ensues.

It is clear that the Turks and Caicos wants to join its fellow CARICOM partners as an independent nation but London has thrown in a number of obstacles to full sovereignty. The Turks and Caicos are not alone in having neo-colonialism imposed on them from the halls of power along the banks of the Thames.

Britain, working with France, the Netherlands, the United States, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada, Israel, and Australia, has sought to diminish the role of the United Nations’ Special Committee on Decolonization in speeding independence for the 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories recognized by the committee, which includes the Turks and Caicos and another Caribbean island where Britain has re-stamped its colonial imprimatur, Anguilla.

In the 1960s, Anguilla declared unilateral independence from the Federation of St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla because it wanted to retain its ties to Britain and not shed them in favor of a colonial status within a West Indies mini-federation. However, after some forty years, things have started to change on the island. Britain, instead of allowing Anguilla more self-government under Anguilla Constitutional Order 1 April 1982, amended in 1990, has reversed course and started to retain and retake more powers for itself. This has resulted in more Anguillans bringing up the independence option decades after the Anguillan Revolutions of 1967 and 1969.

Britain is trying to eliminate a provision in the Anguillan Constitution that provides for an option of independence. It is clear that Britain is trying to do to Anguilla what the Netherlands did to the three small Caribbean island territories of Bonaire, Saba, and Saint Eustatius after the dissolution of the self-governing Netherlands Antilles, make Anguilla part of Britain and incorporate it into the United Kingdom and European Union. The Netherlands incorporated its three territories as municipalities of the Netherlands in a move that was not clearly explained to the residents of the islands.

Last year, Anguillan Chief Minister Hubert Hughes told the UN that his government “decided that the Anguilla people will have to decide whether they want to stay in slavery or go on to freedom.”

As with the Turks and Caicos, Britain has imposed economy-crippling austerity on Anguilla using the pretext that the island is rife with financial corruption.

As bad as the Turks and Caicos islanders and Anguillans are in being re-colonized by Britain, no people have suffered more than the Ilois of the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean. In the 1960s, they were removed by Britain against their wishes and relocated to Mauritius where they live in squalor. Britain removed the islanders to make way for a U.S. nuclear weapons, intelligence, and, more recently, a gulag for detainees, on the island of Diego Garcia.

So, while Mr. Cameron lectures the Pope and Argentina on respecting the wishes of the Falkland Islanders, he continues to run roughshod over the wishes of the peoples of the Turks and Caicos, Anguilla, the Chagos Archipelago, and even those closer to home in the Channel Islands and Isle of Man, who would opt for independence if not for the heavy jackboot of British colonial rule…

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