SPECIAL PROSECUTOR HELEN GARLICK ISSUES UPDATE ON CORRUPTION CASE IN TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

HELEN GARLICK ISSUES UPDATE ON SIPT CASES

“The Plea and Directions Hearing in this case has been adjourned to September 16th. I have made it clear that I will not comment on the evidence in this case or on any other issue that is for the court of trial to decide, except that where it is right to do so, I will correct mis statements made in public by other people and will also provide as much information as I can about the proceedings.

“There are currently 10 defendants awaiting trial before the Supreme Court. In May 2012 all of them were sent for trial on all charges by Justice Ramsey Hale. Before a trial date can be fixed there are several preliminary matters that need to be decided by the trial Judge in Plea and Directions Hearings. The prosecution have been ready to conduct a Hearing since July 2012 and all the necessary evidence and written submissions have been served on the accused.

“The reason for the continued delay is that the majority of the accused have applied for and been granted legal aid but have rejected the rates fixed by the Registrar and challenged that decision by applying for Judicial Review. The SIPT had no involvement in the Legal Aid decision, this was a matter between the accused and the Registrar. However, we have been joined to the Judicial Review proceedings as an interested party. The application for judicial review was rejected after a hearing before on 8th November 2012. An appeal was also rejected unanimously by the Court of Appeal on 24th January 2013.

“The accused concerned are now applying for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. That application has not yet been made. If they are refused permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal, they have the right to renew their application directly to the Privy Council and it could therefore be some months before this matter is resolved finally.

“The accused have the right to exhaust all legal avenues of appeal but there should be no misunderstanding that however long it may take, the law must take its course and there will be a trial.

“As to the position of Michael Misick, his claim for political asylum is being dealt with in accordance with Brazilian law and the SIPT and the AG are not parties to that process. The request for his extradition could not be dealt with until the asylum claim was decided. The claim had been refused at first instance but he had lodged an appeal to the Minister for Justice. On Monday 15th April the Minister refused his appeal. I am advised that the extradition process can therefore begin. However there should also be no misunderstanding first that, however long it may take, if Michael Misick is returned to the TCI, he will stand trial and second that in the meantime the trial of his co accused will continue.”

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TURKS AND CAICOS STILL LOOKING TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE, SAYS PREMIER RUFUS EWING

TURKS AND CAICOS STILL LOOKING TOWARDS INDEPENDENCE, SAYS PREMIER RUFUS EWING
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Turks and Caicos Islands is still considering political independence from Britain, Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing has said.

Ewing told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that “independence remains a major issue” three years after Britain suspended the island’s constitution and set up a one-man commission to probe the government of then premier Michael Misick.

“I think any right thinking country should have independence as its destination. The time period however is the question. The need for independence must be the goal and so everything you do should be to prepare your people and country for that giant step. There will be a number of factors that will come into play as to whether or not that time should be fast tracked or continue along the pace that you would desire to have or would like to have and that would depend on the ongoing relationship with the United Kingdom government and the people in the territory,” he said.

Ewing said that the government “of the day” would also have a role to play and “allowed to do what is right by the people, for the people to improve their standard of living and to prepare us for our plans for moving towards that step of independence.

“If it doesn’t happen, all it does is to make the people even more convinced that independence is our only way out,” said Ewing, who is here attending the 14th annual Caribbean Tourism Organisation organised Sustainable Tourism Conference (STC-14).

He told CMC that over the past three years, more citizens have become convinced “that independence is the way to go, more than ever before in the past because of the relationship we have had (with Britain) over the past three years.

Ewing, who studied in Barbados and Jamaica and is well known throughout the Eastern Caribbean, said while he would not commit personally to a timeframe” for independence, “what I know we will do is to appoint an independence commission from the House of Assembly to look at timeframes to look at milestones that need to be achieved and to look at referendum settings…”.

Ewing, whose government holds a slender one seat majority in Parliament, said there is stability in the country.

“The stability is just about there. We have elected a government that we have confidence in from a stand point of investors,” he said, aware that with a one seat majority in the House “if anything happens then we can keep on going back to by elections and by elections and so it may not give the people the level of security they would want”.

While he would not comment on the re-arrest of former premier Misick in Brazil and the extradition proceedings that had been started against him by Britain, Ewing told CMC he was still “awaiting” a response to suggestions that Britain was trying to re-colonise its territories in the Caribbean including the Cayman Islands.

“Well, I am sure everybody has a reason for doing things and I still awaiting the answer to the question,” he said, adding “I were a conspiracy theorist that would be my theory” as to whether London was using finances to the territories to “keep them in check

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Settlement with Former Minister and Pleading Guilty in Turks and Caicos Corruption Case

20130416-114814.jpg20130416-114825.jpgimage“UPDATE ON SIPT CASES
Published Sun TCI on 15th April 2013

The Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) on Monday April 15th dropped all criminal charges against Samuel “Sammy” Been after he reached an agreement with them and the Attorney General’s Chambers to give up a portion of his commercial building, the Sammy Been Plaza, on Airport Road, Providenciales. The value of the settlement is approximately $850,000.
Developer Richard Padgett has agreed to plead guilty to various charges including bribery on May 31st, 2013. Because he is medically unfit to travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands, Padgett will make his plea by way of video link from the Central London Court at 10 a.m. on that date.

SIPT Prosecutor Andrew Mitchell, QC, said if Padgett is sentenced to jail, provision will be made the have him serve his prison term in England and Wales.

The SIPT cases which were heard before Mr. Justice Paul Harrison, have been adjourned until September 16th, 2013.”

Attorney General in Turks and Caicos settles with Former Minister in Corruption Case

Attorney general settles with Samuel Been, prosecution discontinued
Published on April 16, 2013

Attorney General Huw Shepheard said on Monday that he has agreed to settle civil recovery proceedings brought against Samuel Been, one of the defendants facing criminal charges as part of the inquiries pursued by the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT).

Samuel Been
“At the same time criminal proceedings against him for an offence of conspiracy to defraud and acquiring the proceeds of criminal conduct, contrary to s29 Proceeds of Crime Ordinance 1998 will be discontinued,” Shepheard said in a statement.

The settlement will result in the transfer to the TCI government of property owned by Been at Sammy Been Plaza, Providenciales, valued at $825,000, he added.

Been is the former husband of Lillian Boyce, a former minister in the previous Progressive National Party (PNP) government, who has also been charged with criminal offences in relation to government corruption.

It had recently been rumoured locally that Been would escape prosecution by agreeing to give evidence against his co-defendants.

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Governor Ric Todd from Turks and Caicos marks Grand Turk hospital third anniversary

Governor marks Grand Turk hospital third anniversary
Published on April 15, 2013

On Wednesday, Governor Ric Todd visited the Cockburn Town Medical Centre in Grand Turk to mark the third anniversary of his predecessor, Gordon Wetherell, officially opening the facility three years ago.

The governor was accompanied throughout his visit by Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) government permanent secretary in the ministry of health, Desiree Lewis. They were joined on their visit by director of health services, Dr Nadia Astwood, InterHealth’s CEO Jill Magri, Cockburn Town Medical Center hospital administrator Dr Denise Braithwaite, engineer Donald Wilson and internist Dr Ravindra.

Todd heard how over the past three years the hospital has treated: 86,810 accident and emergency visits; 5,914 inpatient admissions; 141,375 outpatient visit; 1,462 inpatient and 1,948 day surgeries.

Some of the benefits and improvements of the new hospital over its predecessor include:

• The cost of overseas treatment has fallen from $60m to $10m each year.

• The ability to deliver local orthopedic services with an in-house surgeon, reducing overseas costs; as well as oncology services and reconstructive plastic surgery services.

• An improved international reputation – the hospital was quoted in a major meeting in Trinidad and Tobago last summer as an example of excellence, and awarded Diamond Accreditation by Accreditation Canada.

• A first class diagnostics service, enabling better diagnosis and, where patient required overseas transfer, the provision of clinical information / images essential for the receiving centre. There was no on-island radiologist or pathologist prior to the opening of the hospital.

• Development of locally provided urology services using the skills of a UK trained practitioner with a strong regional reputation.

• High patient satisfaction levels.

• The hospitals’ teleconference capabilities support Ministry of Health work between the TCI islands.

“While the challenges of the cost of healthcare provision are a challenge to governments all over the world, today was an occasion to pause and reflect on how much healthcare has improved here in the TCI in recent times,” said Todd. “What I saw today were happy, satisfied patients and caring, hard working health professionals doing a great job.”

Lewis also explained to the governor the TCI government’s plans for the development of long term care and hospice facilities, which would release the Wellness Centre, located on the site of the previous hospital, to be developed for other uses such as psychiatry. Other developments under discussion include: expanding ophthalmology, mammography, echocardiography, neurophysiology, blood donor and transfusion facilities as well as looking to build a medical tourism offering.

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Turks and Caicos has one of lowest Crime Rates in the Region

Turks and Caicos still has one of lowest crime rates in region, says police commissioner
Published on April 15, 2013,Caribbean News Now

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force Commissioner Colin Farquhar has stated that the TCI still has one of the lowest crime rates in the region and has excellent success in solving crimes.

The territory recently had a spike in violent crime that was quickly countered with investigative and patrol initiatives, which that had very positive affects in reducing crime.

Two high profile cases that received international attention have been successfully investigated and resulted in suspects being charged and remanded until June 7, 2013, at which time they will appear in the Supreme Court for a sufficiency hearing.

Various other investigations have led to crimes being detected in a matter of a few short days.

The commissioner acknowledged officers for their tireless efforts and for utilising sound police investigative strategies in apprehending the alleged suspects responsible for the crimes. He also thanked the community, businesses, and government for their assistance and support.

“It is realised that strong partnerships are imperative to ensuring a safe and secure society for our citizens as well as our visitors. The recent successes can be attributed to this,” Farquhar said.

The commissioner nevertheless stressed that residents and visitors must continue to exercise proper precautions and have an awareness of their surroundings, as it is recognised that there are still individuals who will take advantage of situations and persons to further their criminal enterprise.

The police will be initiating a program to work closer with hotel security officers, managers and other tourism related personnel on crime prevention. This is an addition to other special initiatives already in place, which have had positive outcomes.

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Letting The Turks and Caicos Islands Slip Away

Letting the Turks and Caicos Islands slip away

Gord Henderson, The Windsor Star
| Apr 06, 2013 | Last Updated: Apr 06, 2013
Canadians, proud but perennially shivering occupants of the Great Northern Meat Locker, must have been suffering from chilblains of the brain when we chose to look the other way while an opportunity to claim a hot and juicy slice of paradise was dangled under our drippy noses.

It boggles the mind, seeing the Turks and Caicos Islands for the first time from the window of a Brazilian-built Air Canada jet, looking down on a riot of blues, greens, turquoises and pastels, to think we let this 40-island splash of sand, sun and serenity in the Atlantic south of the Bahamas slip away when it coveted an intimate relationship with Canada that could have included vows of marriage.

Seriously? We let this suitor go without even trying? In nixing an engagement with TCI, as the locals call it, we doomed ourselves as a polar nation to forever being the polite paying guests in someone else’s tropical retreat because we lacked the chutzpah to seal the deal on our own place in the sun.

A lot of folks have never heard of the British Overseas Territory known as Turks and Caicos Islands. That might explain why mail bound for island businesses sometimes ends up in Istanbul, Turkey. But for Canadians who enjoy a bit of history, the tiny island chain, population a mere 32,000, is a curious case of what might have been if only an unassuming Canada had been willing to extend its reach beyond the 10 provinces and three northern territories.

Canada did have visionaries who saw the possibilities. Sir Robert Borden, the PM on our $100 bill, tried to persuade Great Britain at the end of the First World War to place some of its Western Hemisphere possessions, including the Turks and Caicos Islands, in Canada’s loving care. His proposal was given the brush-off by British prime minister Lloyd George at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference where triumphant global powers were busy sowing the seeds for the next world war.

And then there was Max. In 1974 Max Saltsman, an RCAF veteran and New Democratic MP for the Waterloo region, introduced a private member’s bill calling for Canada to annex a more than willing Turks and Caicos Islands.

His proposal, sadly, never made it to a vote. Critics dismissed it as a hare-brained idea, inconsistent with Canada’s high-minded stand against colonialism during the Pierre Trudeau years – even with as many as 90 per cent of islanders in favour of some kind of association with Canada. Fears were also expressed that the island chain, as Canadian territory, could become an open door for illegal immigration from the Caribbean. Other federal politicians took up the cause over the years. And yet it never goes beyond chatter.

Some would say that’s a good thing, given the difficulties the Turks and Caicos has faced in recent years. A longtime sleepy backwater, it experienced dazzling growth in the early 2000s, especially on the main island of Providenciales which became a leading destination for jet-setters and celebrities, creating a construction boom in upscale hotel/condo towers, shops and restaurants. The place looks more like South Florida than the Caribbean.

That’s history. The boom came to a screeching halt with the Great Recession and the end of good times and easy money. The cranes are gone, along with thousands of imported construction workers. The business headlines say it all. The Economist: “Paradise Interrupted.” The Independent: “An Economic Free-for-all that veiled a culture of corruption.” And this from the Caribbean Centre for Money and Finance: “Turks and Caicos Economy in Meltdown – Paradise Suspended.”

In 2009, appalled by reports of massive government corruption, the British government reasserted direct control over the essentially bankrupt colony and has been footing the bill for basic government services while it tries to have the former premier extradited from Brazil to face corruption charges.

In other words, it’s a right royal mess. Not that your average visitor would notice. Tourists continue to pour in, enticed by 350 days of warm sunshine annually and by 12 km of glittering white sand on Grace Bay, repeatedly listed as the world’s best beach. The island is too rocky and arid to be pretty. But the beaches, reefs and restaurants? In a league of their own.

Here’s the strange thing. Canada, officially, has never climbed in bed with Turks and Caicos. On the ground, it’s a different story. A Canadian company provides the power. The hospital is Canadian operated. The two most senior police officials (on loan) are former RCMP officers. Canadians own and operate hotels, restaurants and recreation and adventure companies. The head of the real estate board is a Canadian.

It doesn’t show on a map. There are no boasting rights. But we’ve slipped in and quietly made ourselves right at home. I suppose that’s the Canadian way.

[email protected]

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PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON URGED TO ACT OVER BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

British PM urged to act over British Virgin Islands
Published on April 6, 2013

Road Town, British Virgin Islands. Wikimedia/Captain-tucker

By Caribbean News Now contributor

LONDON, England — Britain’s prime minister David Cameron has come under pressure to act against the secretive offshore industry at June’s G8 summit, as leaked evidence continued to mount that politicians and tycoons from all over the world have used the British Virgin Islands to hide funds.

The premier of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, was the latest to be named, along with prominent Pakistani, Indian, Thai and Indonesian figures – while there was fresh evidence of Britons acting as front directors for companies based in offshore havens such as the BVI, the Guardian newspaper reported.

A senior Liberal Democrat figure said the leaks showed the secret haven of the BVI “stains the face of Britain”, as anti-corruption campaigners called for action.

“How can David Cameron keep a straight face calling for the G8 to make big business pay tax when we let the BVI use British law and British protection to suck in billions in dirty money?” said Lord Oakeshott, a former Treasury spokesman.

“How much British aid paid to corrupt countries like Pakistan ends up behind a BVI brass plate?” he asked.

Robert Palmer of the campaign group Global Witness repeated the call for Cameron to act, saying, “The massive cache of leaked documents demonstrates how hidden ownership of shell companies facilitates corruption, tax dodging and other crimes.”

He added, “The time to deal with this issue is now. Given that he has pledged to tackle these secretive shell companies at this year’s G8 summit in Northern Ireland, he and his fellow leaders must commit to publishing information on the people who ultimately control and own companies.”

The names of thousands of owners of secret offshore companies are currently being published by the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in collaboration with the Guardian and other international media.

This follows the leak to ICIJ of a hard drive containing 200GB of internal files of offshore incorporation agencies in the BVI, Singapore and the Cook Islands.

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Mr.Butch Stewart

Threesome Governor Todd/Butch Stewart/PDM
Published in TCI Post on 04.04.2013

As many readers may have noticed the Jamaican Observer a newspaper owned and operated by Butch Stewart has in the last few months begun publishing lots of articles about events in the TCI.
I’ve thought was very strange and unusual so I decided to do digging.
I reliably informed that Butch Stewart was granted a licence by the relevant authorities to start a newspaper in the Turks and Caicos specifically Provo.
An inside source with knowledge of the proposed operations informed me that the Governor/the Brits and Mr. Butch Stewart were/are not at all pleased with the coverage they have been receiving from the local media (all forms) so they have decided that the best way to get their spin out there is to open a newspaper in TCI.
It is also alleged that the Hon. Shawn Astwood (with the blessing of Hon. Sharlene Cartwright, Leader of the Opposition) worked closely with Mr. Stewart to get the necessary licenses for the operation.
To those who are thinking this venture will provide jobs for TCIs, think again as we all know Butch Stewart hires Jamaicans first and I’m guessing that all the work for this newspaper will be done in Jamaica.

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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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