Dellis Cay Groundbreaking in June 2008.
Please click on the link and watch the video.
Date: 18 February 2013
By: Floyd Hall
Subject: Duty Concessions
It was a fascinating read for me going through the Development Order entered into by the Government of the Turks & Caicos Islands and West Caicos Development Company. This was particularly so given that at the Commission of Inquiry of 2009 and the past Interim Administration no effort was speared by the Commissioner and the British big wigs in branding these types of concessions offered by the then PNP Administration as being corrupt and damaging to the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands. In fact, I can still hear the constant refrains from the British folks that included: “because of the concessions offered by the former PNP Administration the country is broke; because of the former PNP Administration the country has lost millions of dollars in revenue; or because of the concessions offered by the previous administration we have to cut cost.”
Those refrains became so monotonous that I think some people begun to tune them out. However, those statements served their purpose well for they cultivated a diabolical and malicious narrative that fed into the notion that the PNP Administration was corrupt and that those investors who were associated with that administration or benefitted in any way from duty concessions offered by that government were likewise corrupt and ought to be held to account. Others harped on the chorus to draw erroneous conclusions that as ministers in government, we stole from the Government’s Treasury or sold the country out.
Needless to say that to jump to such a conclusion was a huge leap especially given that all Development Orders had to be processed through the Attorney General’s Office and ultimately approved by the Cabinet where the British Attorney General set as legal counsel and the Governor set as President. It would appear to me now that for the British, the only thing that mattered was for the elected government of the day to be destroyed and if it were necessary to brand the activities of that government as being corrupt in spite of the vast level of prosperity that it brought to our shores then so be it.
As far as the British representatives were concerned, they had the “support” of the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands to go after us and that they did. They obliterated our Constitution and cast us all as a group of misfits, saved for the few that they picked out to sit on their appointed bodies. Consequently by their actions or, in some cases inaction, they brought our economy to a screeching halt.
A different tale of sorts is now evolving in the Turks & Caicos Islands today. The sinister plot of the British representatives is gradually being exposed. Even those who were in the minority calling out for the British suspension of our Constitution and to take control over our country are beginning to see that this was a monumental mistake. The gross incompetence of some of these British representatives is wreaking havoc on our country daily. We now have a Governor who thinks he is the law; an Attorney General who is absent more often than he is present (both physically and mentally) and law suits that appear to have no end. One has to ask the question these days, was it worth it? Or, are we any better off for what we have had to endure?
Getting back to the issue of duty concessions, I must say that I support the West Caicos Development Group getting its concession. Likewise, I support the concessions that we gave during our time in office to the Seven Stars, Grace Bay Club, The Regent Group of Companies, Third Turtle Club, the Salt Cay Group, Dellis Cay, Beaches, The Veranda and many other foreign investment entities that came to our shores during that period. These concessions are a necessity in small island economies such as ours.
As a small developing country, we have to remain cognizant that we operate in a competitive environment both regionally and internationally. Within the fifty states of the U.S. there is fiscal competitiveness constantly. Texas competes with California for corporate business, New York with New Jersey and there are countless other areas of competiveness. China competes with the U.S with Trade and technology, Hong Kong competes with New York and the City of London. We operate in a competitive universe and elected governments need control of their fiscal policy to make their countries’ economies competitive.
We offer tourism as our main product. Unless we are attractive to foreign investment, it will go elsewhere for certain. Investors everywhere look at the rate of return on their dollars invested and to help them in selecting the TCI for their investment the cost of doing business on our shores is a huge factor in the calculation. That is why we need to remain nimble to adjust to variations in the market place to maintain our competitive edge.
But in meeting the foreign investor’s need for concessions, we cannot forget our indigenous Turks & Caicos Islanders. That is why I am particularly proud of the concessions that our government gave to our local Turks & Caicos Islanders. These included generous concessions to the taxi drivers, the tour boat operators, the owners of apartments, on the fixed assets for commercial businesses, the local car rental agencies, the cargo brokers dealing with bulk material and the list goes on and on. The only criterion that was necessary by my office was that you had to be a Turks & Caicos Islander who was engaged in a business endeavor in our country. The benefits that were given went equally to persons of all walks of life, regardless of political persuasion or color of one’s skin.
Some will quickly say that as a small country we cannot afford these concessions. In fact that is exactly what some of the British pundits said. However, they failed to take into account that had it not been for those concessions many of the properties that we now call development and are contributing heavily to our revenues in the form of accommodation tax, departure tax and import duties would not be here today. Likewise, had we not given concessions to our local businessmen, they would not be the owners of businesses in our country either. Therefore, it would be a huge mistake to look at the concessions in isolation. While concessions must be tempered with reason and balance, they do serve an important function to stimulate or maintain both local and foreign investment.
Our party is indeed very proud of our initiative with duty concessions as well as the others we made in tertiary education, health and Crown land. Before our administration, these areas were beyond the reach of our people on this scale. Many Turks & Caicos Islanders were able to get their businesses started and have remained successfully engaged in their companies to this very day. Some, however, are holding on by a “wing and a prayer” hoping for the construction industry to rebound. Nevertheless they are grateful for the opportunity from our government and expressions of gratitude are given by some to us regularly.
Unfortunately for some of the foreign developers who benefitted from duty concessions during this period, the British Interim Administration rewarded them by assessing heavy penalties simply because they supported our political party with campaign contributions. They have been criminalized or at the very least had their once impeccable reputations besmirched. This is patently unfair to these developers as they were properly entitled to support the political party of their choosing with whatever amount they wished under the prevailing laws of our country at the time. These developers were responsible in part for the exponential growth that our country enjoyed during this period. Many of these developments today are beacons of success for the Turks & Caicos Islands like the Seven Stars. Companies like these are a source of pride for Turks & Caicos Islanders who enjoy employment there. Regrettably, developments like the Salt Cay Group that could have been the gem for Salt Cay residents or Dellis Cay which could have provided invaluable opportunities for the people of North and Middle Caicos had to perish in this ill-conceived exercise by the British.
It is my understanding that some of these developers decided to settle their issues with the SIPT even though they felt that they could win legally but rather than being dragged through an arduous and litigious fight in the courts, they chose to exit this way. For some they settled even if it meant falsely admitting to being culpable to some form of impropriety with the government. For others I understand that no admission was necessary with their settlement.
Regardless of the situation, it seems to me that good governance is only dispensed when duty concessions or other governmental activities are undertaken by the British representatives to our shores. The question now for all indigenous Turks & Caicos Islanders is, are we back to those days when only those who come to our shores could receive a benefit from the government?
You be the judge!
House of Assembly votes to repeal VAT, final decision rest with Governor Todd the Dictator
Published in TCI POST on 01st February
The House of Assembly has voted overwhelmingly to repeal the VAT law…………
The Governor put himself in a very awkward position regarding the VAT Bill. It was unprofessional, undiplomatic and dictatorial for him to publicly announced before the elections that an elected government cannot repeal VAT.
Now the governor has his his ego to protect and no doubt would use his considerable offensive colonial powers under the TCI British imposed constitution to veto the bill repealing VAT.
Nevertheless the government and the opposition did the right thing in voting for the repeal of VAT. The only voice in the House of Assembly that argued against repealing the bill was the governor’s appointed member Lillian Misick.
Should the Governor veto this bill whether with the advice of the Secretary of state or or his own accord, it is likely to trigger a series of events which could see civil disobedience on one hand or a spirited diplomatic effort to ensure that the bill is repealed.
The Minister of Finance stated that if the bill is not repealed that he would refused to enforce the law as it relates to VAT. I have no confidence in this approach although I wholeheartedly admire the tenacity of the Minister of Finance.
The trio of the Governor, the AG and the CFO will just do what they do best. They will intimidate and threaten civil servants to enforce VAT. The Governor made it clear in a recent press release that the TCI is jointly governed by him and the PNP. This is a clear admission by the governor that there are two governments performing at the same time in the TCI.
So folks the fight is far from over, in fact it has just began. John Glasgow
Statement on VAT by Hon. Lillian Misick
I served as Chair of the Consultative Forum during the public consultation process and legislative enactment phase for the implementation VAT in the TCI. Therefore I am very familiar with the procedural and substantive issues involved.
This gives me standing to assert the following without fear of any (fact-based) contradiction:
· VAT was the subject of thorough study and vigorous public debate for almost two years (beginning March 2011).
· With the UK publication of a Green Paper in April 2012 and a White Paper in July 2012, local political and business leaders, as well as ordinary residents, were given more than enough opportunity and time to express their views and concerns.
· Between 11 May and 7 June 2012 British officials conducted “a series of public meetings for people to learn more about value-added taxes expected to begin April 1, 2013” (Free Press, Thursday 10 May 2012).
· Business leaders (predominantly expatriate) expressed visceral opposition to VAT from the outset and executed a vigilant anti-VAT campaign throughout.
· The PNP are on record opposing VAT as early as July 2012. British authorities have been exhorting them since then to produce a viable alternative. PNP leaders have yet to do so….
· “Acting Gov. Patrick Boyle signed value-added taxes into law July 19, accepting several suggestions from the Consultative Forum and pledging to make more changes before VAT is implemented in the Turks and Caicos Islands on April 1.” (Free Press, 19 July 2012)
· The PDM are not on record opposing it until just weeks before the November elections.
To be fair and, more importantly, to keep our people properly informed, it is imperative to bear these facts in mind when discussing, and reporting on, VAT.
That said, let me assert for the record that I believe VAT is the best system of taxation for the TCI. Moreover, nobody can deny that that our current system – with its exemptions and loopholes that favor the rich – imposes an unfair and unsustainable burden on poor and middle-class TCIslanders.
But, like legislators of good faith in any Commonwealth country, I relied on the findings in thoroughly researched Green and White Papers in voting for VAT. I was also persuaded by the fact that several countries in our region, including Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua, established long ago that VAT is the most equitable, efficient and economically viable system of taxation for them.
By contrast, I remain stupefied by the failure of those opposing VAT to accept the UK government’s entreaty to come up with a fairer and more sustainable system of taxation. And since they will have had over two years to do so, their requests for a delay in the April 2013 implementation of VAT smacks of irresponsible contrivance not worthy of comment.
Nonetheless, I was bemused by the report in your lead article yesterday that “the fight against the imposition of value added tax (VAT) in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has now produced an unusual bipartisan unified front by the government and the opposition”.
After all, this is even more plainly futile than the UK and Denmark forming a unified front to fight against the implementation of the euro. Not to mention that this opposition against the implementation of VAT strikes me as just more of the same feckless defiance that characterized opposition to the suspension of our Constitution.
But surely our leaders should have learnt by now that merely hurling neo-colonial epithets at the British does not constitute effective local leadership. (Like President Obama said yesterday in his second inauguraladdress “we cannot … treat name calling as reasoned debate”.) More to the point, their antic disposition will do little to build the partnership with the UK that is so indispensable to our political viability and economic solvency.
As a case in point, I entreated local political leaders throughout the three-year interim period to work with us in the Consultative Forum to enhance our leverage in negotiations with the British. But instead of doing so they wallowed in some parallel universe where they felt it was more effective to dismiss the Forum as illegitimate and those serving in it as traitors.
This gave rise to their impudent pledges to repeal laws the Forum duly enacted. Indeed, the irony is that, where our Constitution granted the British the authority do everything they have done in the TCI, it does not grant our local leaders the authority to repeal or nullify anything. Alas, this irony seems completely lost on them.
Which brings me to my final, and perhaps most salient, comment:
As much as I sympathize with the frustrations and feelings of inefficacy amongst local leaders, I fear that they have not served our people well by continually vacillating between defiance and victimhood in their dealings with the British.
I note, for example, that finance minister Hon. Washington Misick has been quoted saying that VAT “is being forced down our throats” (CNN, 17 January 2013); whereas the uncontroverted facts delineated above make clear that nothing could be further from the truth.
By contrast I can cite numerous occasions when, in lobbying our British Governor and the head of all Overseas Territories to further the interests of TCIslanders, I had just cause to criticize the UK government. They never failed to accept my criticisms in a spirit of collegiality and, on more than a few occasions, made concessions pursuant to them.
Frankly, our local leaders are going to have to come to terms with the fact that we are still a UK Overseas Territory. Otherwise, their administrative impotence will be surpassed only by their political incompetence.
Apropos of this, I am acutely mindful that the PNP ran on a platform of independence. Therefore, it is stupefying that, instead of engaging the British to chart the course towards TCI independence, PNP leaders (often in concert with opposition PDM leaders) have done little more than complain about the way the British are exercising the authority duly vested in them by our Constitution.
Incidentally, like the enlightened people of Bermuda, I believe TCIslanders have far more to lose by becoming independent than we have to gain.
But it reeks of hypocrisy and cowardliness for local officials to continue mouthing rhetoric about independence without taking any steps towards it. Especially since they know full well that, far from standing in their way, the UK would be all too happy to cut the colonial chord of obligation that makes it, in effect, the parent of now notoriously unruly and ungrateful children.
In the meantime the only way our local leaders will earn the respect they clearly covet is if they begin showing more respect for the constitutional authority the British have to ensure good governance and sound management of our public finances.
They should beware, though, that if they push for independence, they might end up leading a parade with no one marching behind them.
New tax creates political unity in Turks and Caicos
Published on January 21, 2013
By Caribbean News Now contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — The fight against the imposition of value added tax (VAT) in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) has now produced an unusual bipartisan unified front by the government and the opposition.
While government supporters, including former Progressive National Party (PNP) candidate Royal Robinson, have gone public with an appeal for unity against Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), which promoted the VAT legislation in the first place and has since rejected requests for a delay in its imposition, resistance to VAT had not so far generated any political unity.
All this changed on Saturday, when Premier Rufus Ewing invited Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) opposition leader Sharlene Cartwright Robinson to join in a press conference on the issue of VAT. While both parties both oppose VAT, this is where they begin and end on the matter, however.
VAT is the means implemented by the former interim government last year to raise taxes to pay down the $260 million loan guaranteed by Britain. In fact, this was restated in last Monday’s Appropriations Committee meeting by chief financial officer Hugh McGarel Groves. It was also repeated in a letter sent last Monday to Ewing from Mark Simmonds, Britain’s minister for the Overseas Territories, who rejected a request for a delay in the imposition of VAT in the TCI and confirmed that the new tax will take effect as planned on April 1, absent a credible alternative.
The PNP government feels that VAT is not enough and has complained strongly that it is not a democratically imposed tax. However, the government wants to impose other taxes, which will raise what it estimates to be 150 percent more tax revenue. In fact, finance minister Washington Misick has said his suggested taxes will “improve the economy of the Turks and Caicos Islands”. What it appears he meant was that such new taxes will improve the income of the government not the economy itself.
The opposition PDM, while against the imposition of VAT, has not suggested any new taxes. The party has issued a position paper on the issue, which states that the fundamental budget problem is failure to collect all the current taxes due and the extraordinarily high cost of health care.
PDM leader Cartwright Robinson said at an earlier press conference that there has been no work by the PNP government on reforming the NHIP health plan.
Cartwright Robinson said that her party was opposed to VAT primarily because it will raise the cost of living.
“When you change the basic tax structure of an entire country, the elected government representing the people needs to make that decision,” said Cartwright Robinson
Following the election of the PNP as the new government last November, Ewing and his finance minister Washington Misick have been seeking a delay of six months in the implementation of VAT.
However, according to overseas territories minister Simmonds, a delay in the implementation of VAT would present significant risks.
“A delay at this stage would risk undermining the credibility of the government’s commitment to VAT particularly with those businesses that have invested in preparation. And I am not convinced that delay would make it easier for you to find and commit to the introduction of a credible alternative. I fear that a property or income tax would be likely to attract opposition at least as strong as VAT,” he said.
Simmonds went on to say that any such delay would be unlikely to diminish the opposition of those businesses who will have to pay tax for the first time or open their books or lose some of the benefits of what he described as “excessive concessions” granted by previous administrations.
He also pointed out that delaying the implementation of VAT would require the government to cut public spending further than would otherwise be necessary.
“I think you have a choice between pressing ahead with the introduction of VAT from 1 April or making a clear commitment to introducing a credible alternative to VAT such as property or income tax. I should be clear that I believe that, at this stage, the best option for Turks and Caicos is to press ahead with implementation of VAT,” Simmonds said.
Tinkering with the current disparate and unsatisfactory mix of taxes would not address the underlying weakness and unfairness of these and would not offer a credible alternative to VAT, he added.
According to SImmonds, the previous elected PNP government had already decided that VAT had significant advantages over property and income taxes but, nevertheless, invited Ewing to submit a new fiscal and strategic policy statement by the end of January.
“While you are finalising this I expect preparations for VAT implementation to continue at full speed, including investment in planned new IT, so that it can take effect on 1 April,” Simmonds added.
However, Simmonds’ claim that the previous PNP government had endorsed VAT was disputed in a subsequent statement by then finance minister, Floyd Hall.
“That statement is completely false. While it is the case that the former PNP had agreed to explore the option of selecting one of four taxation models being imposed on us by advocates for the Organization for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), the European Union, IMF and the FCO to obtain compliance with international tax standards in our financial services industry and to achieve revenue sustainability, it was never the case where VAT was selected as a done deal for implementation in the Turks and Caicos Islands by our PNP administration,” Hall said.
The new tax was signed into law during the term of the previous interim administration run by Britain following the suspension of elected ministerial government in the TCI in 2009 as a result of widespread and systemic government corruption during the PNP’s previous term in office from 2003 to 2009.
Unrestrained government spending during those years brought the TCI to the verge of bankruptcy, necessitating a $260 million loan guaranteed by Britain and other measures to enable the territory to balance its budget.
PLEASE WATCH THE OUTCRY OF ILLEGAL POET FROM TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS.
Democracy is in danger in Turks and Caicos Islands and I am a victim of this.
In July 2008 The Governor of Turks and Caicos – representing the UK Government – appointed a Commission to conduct an Inquiry into “possible corruption or other dishonesty” in Government. Hearings were held – presided over by His Lordship, Mr. Justice Sir Robin Auld – in January of 2009, concluding in February of the same year. In August 2009, His Excellency, then the Governor of the Turks and Caicos islands, Gordon Wetherell brought into force an Order in Council suspending portions of the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution. Under this move Ministerial Government, and the House of Assembly – which is the only means of representing the people – was dissolved and all representative seats were vacated, with the promise of elections in 24 months. Amongst the astounding changes was that the basic right in the European Declaration of Human Rights to a Trial by Jury was also suspended, and confirmed recently by law. The sole political power in the Turks and Caicos Islands is now the Governor, appointed by the British government. He has appointed an Advisory Council and a Consultative Forum. However, as the appointment documents make clear, the Governor has no obligation to follow or regard their recommendations. This undemocratic move, which is totally inconsistent with Article I of the United Nation’s Charter on the Right to Self-Determination, is still the case in Turks and Caicos, and still, now nearly 2 and a half years later.
And still there is no date for elections.
My involvement in the Turks and Caicos dates from early 2005. In June of that year we purchased a private island called Dellis Cay, to develop a USD$1 billion project with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and villas with world famous architects – including Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, Kengo Kuma, Shigeru Ban, Piero Lissoni and Carl Ettenspenger. The development proceeded in an unremarkable fashion, with usual succession of planning permits, from the start construction date of June 2008 to October 2009. A mixture of funds from my own resources, sales of residential units and loans from the Trinidad & Tobago Unit Trust Corporation funded the development.
In June of 2008, we bought a second island, Joe Grant Cay, from the Crown (The government of Turks and Caicos), presented the deal structure to the British Governor of Turks and Caicos – who was then His Excellency Richard Tauwhare – with the development agreement signed in November of 2008 by the new Governor, His Excellency Gordon Wetherell, with the objective of developing a resort with Bulgari Hotel and Villas.
In January 2009, in the course of hearings by the Commission of Inquiry, the Premier of Turks and Caicos disclosed political contributions by several businessperson and companies toward his party’s elections, two years before, in 2007. He disclosed a political contribution made by our company as well; which is normal all over the world, including in Britain.
Neither the Inquiry, nor the Judge, nor the Governor made any request of me, or my representatives to provide answers about these contributions. Yet, our actions were remarked upon adversely in the Commission’s report.
In June 2009, we asked the High Court of Turks and Caicos Islands to undertake a Judicial Review of the Final Report of the Commission of Inquiry, with the result that the Supreme Court called for the removal of any and all adverse references to my or our companies. In his ruling the Chief Justice agreed with us, that there was a “Clear and almost total failure by the Commission to follow its own procedures”. His Lordship stated further that I had not been given a fair hearing, and said that if any adverse statements were included in the Final Report, they should not be published.
It must be understood that even though this court is in Turks and Caicos, it is an English court, applying English law and procedures. Yet, four (4) weeks later, in July of 2009, the Final Report was published, with text unredacted, so that the adverse statements made about me and my companies, which were judged to have been unfair and unlawful, were made public; even after the Chief Justice ruled they should not be published.
Despite my attempts to cooperate and assist the lending bank for our projects to understand the issues relating to the Commission of Inquiry and their unlawful published reports, it was no longer possible to avoid the entrance into Receivership of the Dellis Cay project in favour of the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation in October 2009.
This failure of the Commission to follow the law has therefore done me harm because I provided personal guarantee to the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation.
Since that time – January 2010 – the bank has obtained a worldwide freezing order against me. The Attorney General of Turks and Caicos issued a Writ and Statement of Claim regarding Joe Grant Cay in July 2010.
I have appealed both actions.
After three (3) years, in October 2011, I was finally able to explain my side of the allegations of bribery for the political contributions above. In the meantime, my assets in Dellis Cay and the assets of buyers in that development have been destroyed; even though I have never bribed anyone in Turks and Caicos, or anywhere else.
I have been made a victim of the politics of Turks and Caicos. In English law, the saying is that “justice must not only be done, but it must be…seen to be done”. I speak now to warn that this is not the case in Turks and Caicos and to say that human rights, and property rights, democracy and justice are under threat in Turks and Caicos
He delivered by this speech his vision 20/20 for the country.
He would very soon release the specifics of his 20/20 vision.
Very strong speech and vision.
He is talking about sign of victory,victory for the people of TCI.He wants restore democracy and he wants remove the people from the claws of the British.
He wants to lead the TCI people to a place of social,mental,economic and political independence.
Heritage and national pride
Harmony and Unity
Respecting of Human Rights and Dignity
are the main milestones of his 20/20 Vision.
Good luck,God bless
By Caribbean News Now contributor,02.04.2012
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — The appearance in the public domain of witness statements by former Turks and Caicos Islands MP Karen Delancy and former politician Shaun Malcolm has provided considerable insight into local political events of recent years.
The Delancy statement was recently reviewed here, with the benefit of access to a complete copy of the actual statement. In contrast, Malcolm’s statement is notable for its extensive blacked out redactions.
Nevertheless, it has been learned that former Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) leader Floyd Seymour was angered when he saw the statement because, according to Seymour, much of it is fabricated and only reflects the disappointments experienced by Malcolm in his political career. Seymour declined comment but he did say that he wished Malcolm well and was praying for him.
The statement does, however, provide insight into the operations of the PDM and the Progressive National Party (PNP) from Malcolm’s perspective. In the last ten years, Malcolm has had a foothold in both camps and at one time attempted to orchestrate a takeover of the PDM, with a view to getting himself appointed to parliament and then to become a PDM candidate for office.
Malcolm was also a leading contributor to the TCI Journal weblog; however, the Journal has indicated that Malcolm has not submitted any articles for over a year.
What has brought Malcolm’s activities to light is the sudden appearance of his 16-page witness statement dated October 2010, apparently for the use of the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT).
The source for the apparent leak of the statement has yet to be identified; however, attorney general Huw Shepheard has threatened to bring legal proceedings against those responsible for disclosing the documents to the media, effectively confirming that the documents in question are in fact genuine.
According to local sources, physical copies of both statements are reported to have first surfaced during a meeting at “Gillys Restaurant” at the Provo Airport, which is owned by former premier Galmo Williams.
In his statement, Malcolm claims to be a politician and also a “civic leader”, and goes on to describe how, as a member of a singing group that performed at political functions, he became acquainted with various politicians from both political parties in the TCI.
This, he says, caused him to choose to become active in the PNP in 1997, becoming chairman of the Provo Branch of the PNP until 1999, when he ran for office as a PNP candidate but was unsuccessful. Records indicate that, as a candidate, he received a minimal number of votes.
At that election, the Derek Taylor-led PDM government was returned to a second term, after having defeated the Washington Misick PNP administration, which served one term beginning in 1995.
Despite his defeat, Malcolm says he remained active as a PNP member until 2002. This was approximately one year before the 2003 election. In the Malcolm statement he reports that the reason for his leaving the PNP was the coming to power within the party of Michael Misick. Malcolm says he forecast Misick to be self serving political leader.
Malcolm goes on to say that the PDM (then led by Taylor) approached him in 2002, the same year he left the PNP, asking his advice on how to counter Michael Misick as the opposition leader. Malcolm says he then joined the PDM and was appointed by the Taylor-led party as national campaign manager for the 2003 election.
While the PDM party headed by Derek Taylor was based in Grand Turk, they did have a successful member of parliament at that time in Clarence Selver of North Caicos (Michael Misick’s home island) and former MP Sam Harvey of adjacent Middle Caicos.
In the 2003 election, the eight-year-old PDM administration lost, due to marginal wins and the reversal of two election districts during a by-election. The by-election resulted from witnesses saying they were offered bribes by a PDM operative for their votes.
Malcolm says in his statement that, during his tenure as campaign manager, one campaign donation alone from Jack Civre of Seven Stars resort amounted to $400,000. It has long been held maintained by then PDM leader Derek Taylor that the witnesses who claimed they were offered bribes were themselves bribed by the PNP to give false testimony. However, they were never investigated or charged with perjury and it is not known why Taylor maintains this position.
Malcolm continues his statement saying he became the Provo Branch chairman of the PDM in 2003 and PDM national chairman in 2004 serving until the June 2008 convention. During this period, the Taylor-led opposition, despite allegations of corrupt activities within the PNP government, was unable to unseat Michael Misick.
By 2006, the PDM opposition was being led by Floyd Seymour.
Malcolm then refers to a November 2007 trip to London taken by the PDM executive group, which called on the British Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), carrying evidence to support their claim that the Misick-led government was not operating according to well established policies, was breaking the law and engaging in corrupt practices.
In a public announcement, the FAC in late 2007 indicated they had received more information complaining about the PNP led administration than the other 13 overseas territories combined.
In 2007, the FAC undertook its ten-year review of the governance of all 14 British overseas territories.
In fact, the evidence received when the announcement was made in November 2007 was arriving so fast and in such a quantity that the FAC extended the deadline for submitting more evidence until January 31, 2008. Normally the deadline would have been December 2007.
In the Malcolm statement he suggests the PDM group was shunned by the FAC, “We were told to go away.”
Malcolm goes on to say the FAC wanted the information formalized and this assignment fell on then leader Floyd Seymour, who as leader would have headed the mission to London.
According to law, the opposition leader Seymour (a CPA and financial planner as well as a real estate agent) headed the Public Accounts Committee, which reviews all the invoicing and payments made by the incumbent (PNP) government. While serving in this capacity, Seymour called 33 meetings, summoning the PNP administrators to bring their records for review. A number of these meetings ended up being canceled due to non-attendance by members of the PNP government. However the majority of the meetings went forward and Seymour was in a position to use the records as evidence of malfeasance in office.
All of the meetings were recorded on audio tape and submitted to the then parliamentary clerk Ruth Blackman for transcription to writing. Blackman, who failed to perform this assignment, is now retired and has been announced to replace Robert Hall as the host of the radio show Expressions. However, the audio tapes remain to document the meetings.
At the June 2008 PDM convention, Seymour presented to approximately 100 delegates a copy of the massive bound report of his findings, which he had sent to the FAC months earlier.
The Malcolm statement then reports that while visiting London in May on other business, he became aware that the evidence had not reached the FAC from Seymour at that late date.
Malcolm claims that further evidence of Seymour alleged failing to submit the formalized evidence was when FAC members Sir John Stanley, accompanied by British MPs Greg Pope and Paul Keetch, visited TCI in March 2008 on the heels of a visit days just earlier by Labour MP and Overseas Territories Minister Meg Munn and then Director of Overseas Territories Leigh Turner. However, the way events played out it appears the opposite is true.
At that earlier meeting Munn met with then governor Richard Tauwhare and premier Michael Misick. The Munn report coming out of the meeting was “no findings of serious corruption.” This appears to have been one reason behind the FAC official visit, which happened shortly thereafter. In fact, after a very brief visit and before leaving TCI, Stanley told the media that his information varied widely from Munn’s report.
It has always been assumed that it was the evidence sent to the FAC months earlier, joined with the Seymour evidence, would have brought both the visit and the results of the Stanley visit. Numerous people, including Seymour, had reported that when they attempted to send evidence to Munn she shunned the submissions with the message to direct the information to then Governor Tauwhare.
Within days of returning to London, during a public hearing the FAC had the FCO on the spot for the FCO failure to recognize what was going on in the TCI. Shortly after this hearing in April 2008, Munn was replaced as overseas territories minister and Turner was reassigned to the Ukraine.
Shortly after the PDM convention that confirmed Seymour’s leadership, Governor Tauwhare stunned the TCI with an announcement that he himself had called for a Commission of Inquiry shortly after his arrival in 2006. However, Tauwhare himself allowed the Misick government to lease him an upscale condo in Provo for the balance of his tenure (until July 1, 2008). Tauwhare asked the FCO to have his tenure extended but was refused.
According to local sources, this portion of the Malcolm statement appears to be a fabrication. In fact, in May and June 2008, when Malcolm was planning to attempt a move from national chairman to leader of the PDM, he visited several convention delegates, telling an entirely different story.
At that time, he reportedly told the delegates that the singular purpose of his May 2008 trip was to deliver copies of the evidence collected and compiled (apparently by Seymour). Malcolm told the delegates in face to face meetings that he received a “message from God to travel to London for this purpose.”
The Malcolm story was delivered during a campaign around the islands by Malcolm, accompanied by attorney Finbar Grant.
Malcolm and Grant announced they were planning to contest the party’s leadership and deputy leadership at the June 2008 convention which was then only weeks away. The pair nominated each other at the convention but only received three votes each. Seymour was reconfirmed as leader at this convention.
In fact, on page six of his October 2010 witness statement, Malcolm claims that he has never seen a formal copy of the Seymour report. This, of course, cannot be true because the report was brought to the June 2008 convention by Seymour and presented for review by the approximately 100 people in attendance, including Malcolm himself.
Malcolm’s statement claims that he was nominated to return to the post of national chairman but he refused the nomination. He fails to mention the nomination came from his associate Finbar Grant.
Malcolm left that convention after being soundly defeated for party leader and says in his statement he never returned to party functions.
Malcolm then takes up the issue of a 2007 election candidacy, which he claims was changed. Cheryl Astwood Tull had been selected as a PDM candidate for the February 2007 election. According to Malcolm’s statement, as national chairman, he was asked to offer a bribe to Tull to step down so he could run. Other sources in the PDM confirm that Tull did indeed step down from her candidacy because now treasurer of the PDM Dwayne Taylor had the desire to run in Tull’s assigned district, Provo’s Cheshire Hall.
The payment to Tull is said to have been compensation for campaign paraphernalia, tee shirts, banners, advertisements and the like, for which Tull presented invoices. Dwayne Taylor did run in Cheshire Hall and lost the seat for PDM. Dwayne Taylor’s former seat in West Road (Grand Turk) was also lost to the PDM, being captured by Samuel Been, former husband of Lillian Boyce. Only Seymour and Arthur Robinson won seats in the 2007 Michael Misick landslide victory
Malcolm, then PDM national chairman, claims in his statement that he did not know where the money came from to satisfy Tull’s claims. He then states he was told by Arthur Robinson the contribution in the 2007 election coming from Jack Civre was only $20,000. Malcolm contends he was told by another it was $100,000. A recent review of the PDM accounts by then treasurer Sharlene Gardiner reveals that the donation was in actuality $25,000 not $100,000.
Further, Shaun Malcolm claims that Tull and himself were both slated by the PDM executive to be the party’s appointed member of parliament after the PDM lost the 2007 election in the PNP landslide victory. Malcolm bemoans the fact that Douglas Parnell, then president of the Provo Chamber of Commerce, eventually received the appointment. Such appointments are controlled by the party
According to the delegate from North Caicos that actually nominated Parnell as the PDM’s appointed member, Parnell was known to be a lifetime supporter of the PDM, and he hailed from North Caicos, which would provide some balance, as the other elected PDM members of parliament held seats in Grand Turk.
The Malcolm statement then turns back to the PNP, where he complains that, after being awarded Crown land in the Chalk Sound area, his lease was not upheld and it was given to a PNP supporter.