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Genel News

TREAT TOURISTS LIKE GOLD,SAYS OPPOSITION LEADER IN TURKS AND CAICOS

Treat tourists like gold, says opposition leader
Published on May 10, 2013

“We need to realize what we are doing and look at our visitors as very important, they need to be welcomed and when they encounter a problem we need to treat them like gold,” said opposition leader Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, when she was asked at a recent Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) press conference on how she felt about the treatment of two departing American tourists, who just one day apart were each found with a single unfired bullet in their luggage.

One, an 80-year-old retired neurosurgeon from Florida, was held in jail with a man accused of murder, where he was fed spicy grits and hot dogs.

“I will never look at a hot dog the same,” Horace Norrell told an American reporter interviewing him.

After spending the weekend in jail, because no judge would stay late on a Friday to hear his bail application, the senior citizen was reunited with his wife, who waited on him in the TCI. He was released on $4,000 bail and returned to the US.

Just one day earlier, a 60-year-old Texas woman, accompanied by her husband, was also found to have a single bullet in her luggage. In the woman’s case, the court remained open and granted her $4,000 dollars.

Meanwhile, neither the premier nor the minister for border control has addressed the issue, which is threatening the territory’s tourism industry. Americans are up in arms and are contacting their government about the incident. Many are reportedly cancelling planned visits to the TCI, some through fear that a similar fate could befall them and others in protest over the treatment of the two US visitors.

TCI Governor Ric Todd has said only that the law must be followed.

It is widely accepted locally that the bullets were planted in the visitors’ bags, but the identity of the perpetrators and their motive remains a mystery. There is, however, some speculation that this is yet another attempt to hold the TCI’s fragile tourism industry hostage to promote a political agenda.

The local tourism industry was directly attacked on two previous occasions by members of the ruling Progressive National Party (PNP) when they shut down the Providenciales international airport, once by a public demonstration that closed down access to the airport and the second by a strike of airport firefighters orchestrated by current Premier Rufus Ewing.

Meanwhile, the fragility of the territory’s principal source of revenue is illustrated by continuing media reports and commentary in the US – especially in the Herald Tribune in Sarasota, Horace Norrell’s home town in Florida.

On Wednesday, columnist Tom Lyons warned potential Turks and Caicos visitors to beware: “Your stay could be much longer than planned, with accommodations well below par.”

“Who knows what police were thinking as they hauled a 60-year-old Texas woman to jail for alleged possession of a bullet that she said she knew nothing about, but even the dimmest police administrator surely could have smelled a rat the next day when a second tourist was found to have exactly one bullet in his luggage, too. Sherlock Holmes has not even a distant relative in the Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police, it seems,” he continued.

“It is hard to imagine the degree of incompetence required when a police administrator or prosecutor is unable to deduce these must be false charges based on planted items designed to appear like evidence of what would be an absurd crime,” he said.

In accurately describing Governor Todd as an appointed career British diplomat, Lyons wrote, “There is no mention of him being a total twit, so it seemed reasonable at first to expect him to be as outraged as the average reader who encounters this story. After all, publicity over this visitor-targeted scam could seriously harm tourism, which is the Turks and Caicos only major industry if you don’t count the enabling of drug smuggling and money laundering.”

Lyons said that Todd has responded to an onslaught of public questions mainly by expressing his determination not to get involved.

“I don’t normally do travel advisories, but in my places-to-go ranking, Turks and Caicos just took a spot not far above North Korea,” Lyons concluded.

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BREAKING NEWS Genel

PNP or PDM ,Amanda Misick or Oral Selver?By Election in Turks and Caicos Islands

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Genel Turksjournal Picks

Democracy for Turks and Caicos Islands

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BREAKING NEWS Genel

BREAKING NEWS!!!!FORMER PREMIER MICHAEL MISICK’S LETTER TO MR WILLIAM HAGUE

Letter from Michael Misick to William Hague

March 14 th , 2003

William Hague
Secretary of State
Foreign & Commonwealth Office
London SW1A 2AH

Dear Mr. Hague:

I read with amazement your letter of arrogance that is in the public media to our Premier Hon Dr Rufus Ewing.

The contempt that British officials at the highest level have for Turks and Caicos Islands and its people is astonishing, and the second such letter where a public dressing is handed down to the leader of our country because of his public stand that the local elected government should be able to govern including allowing the elected parliament to enact legislation for the benefit of our people and our country.

I also think that because of Dr Ewing stance, and indeed the PNP party’s stance, our Country should be moving towards Independence. You and your colleagues are doing everything in your power to undermine his government. The evidence is in all of the confusion about the elections and misrepresenting the true facts that transpire with my tenure as Premier of our Country.

Here are the facts:

The Turks and Caicos Islands during my time in government experience one of the highest GDP growths in the world. When we came to office the GDP was $150 million dollars when we left office it was close to a billion dollars in six (6) short years.

During our PNP party’s time in office we attracted billions of dollars in inward investments, particularly in the tourism sector and has firmly put the Turks and Caicos Islands on the map as a premier Tourist destination in the world. We attract investment from the Amanyara and Seven Stars hotel to the Carnival Cruise Terminal in Grand Turk and as a direct result of this example and many others Tourism has grown from when we took office from under 200 Thousands visitors to well over one million Tourist nowadays.

The PNP government invested tens of millions of dollars in infrastructure, building modern roads in all of the islands including the Middle and North Caicos causeway, parks and recreational facilities like the Gus Lightbourne arena, the National Stadium, The Five Cays Community Center, Horse-stable Beach Park and other parks, The South Caicos Community Centre, and Clinic, the two Hospitals in Grand Turk and Providenciales just to name a few.

We invested tens of millions of dollars in Education and Scholarships, providing hundreds of Turks and Caicos Islanders with university degrees at the best universities in the US, UK and the Caribbean. We built institutions such as TCInvest, National Insurance, TCI Bank, TCI New Media and your Government along with the British Interim Government has either destroyed or closed them all.

We hired hundreds of civil servants, paid and them properly, and instilled national pride in them and in all of our people. Our citizens were proud to be Turks and Caicos Islanders.

We provided the best medical care for all, young and old regardless of their political affiliation, race, religion or creed. There were no questions asked, we took care of our sick people.

We had six (6) straight years of a surplus budget and have never run a deficit budget. When we left office the government total borrowings was no more than $75 million dollars.

These are the facts Mr. Hague and they speaks for themselves, so no matter how much you and the British Government put misinformation out there to hide your true agenda and to cover up for your incompetent officials, it will not change the facts nor the heart of Turks and Caicos People that the British has worn out their welcome in the Turks and Caicos Islands and their days are numbered. The clock is ticking and political Independence and freedom for our people cannot be stopped.

Here are some other facts that you do not want the Turks and Caicos people or the world to know.

The fact is that the British Government has destroyed the Turks and Caicos economy, its judicial system and eroded the rule of law over the past 4 years.

The borrowings that you refer to in your letter were borrowings that your British occupation government did to prop up an illegitimate interim regime and to spend tens of millions of dollars in a political motivated investigation to politically persecute me and my colleagues because of our views. No elected Turks and Caicos Government should have to pay back money that you borrowed.

You talk about Robin Auld, a sole hand picked commissioner by the British government to carry out their instructions in a commission of inquiry whether outcome was predetermined. If there was nothing to hide than there should have been a transparent commission of inquiry with at least a commissioner with eminent Judges from the Caribbean included on the panel.

You also talk about the UK government high standard of maintaining the rule of law, respect for human rights and upholding the judiciary.

Do I need to remind you of the UK history of slavery, colonization abuse and torture in places like Kenya and India? Nothing has changed the only thing has happen that the British have modernized their abuse of human rights and rig-judiciary under the disguise of good governance.

Ask yourself why, if my colleagues and I have committed a crime and not being politically persecuted, did you have to change the constitution? Why did you have to change the laws and the whole judiciary system to assure a conviction? Why did you have to violate my human rights by abolishing my colleagues and my right to a jury trial? Why did you have to change the hearsay laws and other laws on evidence targeting us? How can we ever get a fair trial when you, who is responsible for appointing the governor, the judges, passing laws for the colony, but in your letter you have implied that my colleagues and I are guilty of corruption when after four years of investigations and 60 million plus dollars there has not even been a plea and directions hearing.

You mentioned in your letter that the Attorney General is properly and legally seeking my extradition from Brazil and that I am resisting return by seeking political asylum. Why you did not inform the people that you and the British has violated my human rights by having me arrested and put in a maximum security prison for two months although my asylum process was not completed and I had temporary political asylum and that since my release you and the British are continually trying to re-imprison me? Why did you not tell the public that during my imprisonment, In spite of my political persecution I offer to voluntary return and you and the British government has refused to allow me to voluntarily return home.

Why did you not tell the people that since my release I have offered to voluntary return with the only condition that my colleagues and myself is assured a fair trial, that is a jury trial and you and the British Government have refused to guarantee me a fair trial?

Why don’t you tell the people that you and the British really don’t want me to return to Turks and Caicos Islands, that you just want me in jail, any jail but not back home?

Why did you not tell the people, that maybe you believe that my presence in the Turks and Caicos Islands may interfere with your plans as I still have broad support among my beloved people or maybe you feel that I have information base of meetings that you have had with me that will implicate you and others close to you?

In any event what is clear is the relationship between the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Government is over. It is now not base on mutual respect but based on a bullying and arrogant superiority complex that should be relegated to the dust bin of history. If you are so confident that the Turks and Caicos people want to remain British why don’t you carry out a referendum on the question as you just did for show in the Falklands, or as Scotland is doing in 2014? That referendum and only that referendum will determine the true desire of the Turks and Caicos people.

You should manifest your claim of belief in democracy and act honest, transparent and behave responsibly.

Michael Misick
Former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands

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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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SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS WARNS CANDIDATES AGAINST TREATING by Turks & Caicos Islands Government Press Office

As the By-Election for Richmond Hill and Cheshire Hall Constituency ED 7 Providenciales on Friday March 22, 2013 draws closer, Supervisor of Elections, Dudley Lewis has issued another reminder to candidates, that under the Election Ordinance they are NOT allowed to offer inducements to electors to influence their voting intention.
Candidates, political parties or anyone associated with them are not permitted to provide food, drink, gifts of any kind or cash during political rallies, meetings or general campaigning, as these could interpreted as an attempt to corruptly influence a voter in the way they cast their vote at the by-election.
This behavior, known as ‘treating’ is illegal. The Supervisor of Elections explained that ‘treating’ has been illegal for many years, although in past elections some people have chosen to ignore it. Such behavior is no longer being ignored. The person offering this kind of inducement is committing a serious criminal offence and so is any member of the public who accepts a gift or cash.
Mr. Lewis has warned that he will follow up on all reports received and will not hesitate to collaborate with the Police to initiate criminal investigation. He is also inviting members of the public to inform him if they are aware of any incident involving voter inducements. He also points out that inexpensive tee shirts, caps and advertising materials provided by political parties and candidates are not regarded as treating.
Dudley Lewis explains: “I have been satisfied that campaigning up to the present time has been overwhelmingly free and fair. By issuing this announcement I wish to ensure any tendency to cut corners and disregard election law is avoided during the intensive final days of campaigning”.
Leaders of political parties and Candidates are reminded of their obligation to continue to ensure their campaigns remain within the law.
A fair election, untainted by any hint of corrupt practices, is in the best interest of the voters of Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill and Citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Supervisor of Elections can be contacted by telephone 946-2558 and email at [email protected] .

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CRITICISM OF TURKS AND CAICOS ATTORNEY GENERAL

More criticism of Turks and Caicos AG after election flip-flop
Published on March 18, 2013 ,Caribbean News Now

The acting attorney general tried to withdraw out of time election challenges against five sitting members of the TCI House of Assembly: (L-R) George Lightbourne (PNP); Edwin Astwood (PDM); Derek Taylor (PDM); Josephine Connolly (PDM); and Delroy Williams (PDM)

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — Acting Attorney General Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles has come in for even more criticism following her unexpected decision on Saturday to attempt to withdraw her election challenges to five sitting members of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) House of Assembly.

On Friday, March 9, Braithwaite-Knowles had filed a total of six challenges based on late or inadequate filing of notices with the Integrity Commission of interests in government contracts. Only one of such challenges was brought within the statutory five-day time limit – that against Amanda Misick, Progressive National Party (PNP) candidate in the Cheshire Hall/Richmond Hill by-election.

On Thursday and Friday, Braithwaite-Knowles argued before Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough in the Supreme Court in Grand Turk that Misick was disqualified from election as a result of her late filing of a required declaration of interests in government contracts.

However, the chief justice ruled against the acting attorney general in the Misick matter on Friday, thus allowing the by-election to go ahead as planned.

Out of time challenges by the acting attorney general against five sitting members of the House of Assembly: George Lightbourne (PNP); Edwin Astwood (PDM); Derek Taylor (PDM); Josephine Connolly (PDM); and Delroy Williams (PDM) for their alleged failure to disclose government contracts prior to the general elections in November last year were heard on Saturday, at which point Braithwaite-Knowles attempted to withdraw her applications.

However, in denying this request, the chief justice indicated that there were serious issues of law to be determined, which he needed to study in depth, and accordingly adjourned the case until April 9.

Braithwaite-Knowles’ overall conduct of the matter and the ongoing leakage of what should have been confidential information from the Attorney General’s Chambers prior to her filing the relevant applications with the court had already resulted in allegations of partisanship and of intentionally destabilising the TCI.

Braithwaite-Knowles is well known for her support of the PNP and a personal friendship with Premier Rufus Ewing, and her actions against predominantly Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) members of the Assembly fuelled this controversy.

Following the acting attorney general’s surprise decision on Saturday, a local weblog known to support the PNP has accused the Attorney General’s Chambers of “causing public alarm and attempting to destabilise the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

The cases in question stem from what seems to be varying interpretations of the exact nature of conditional Crown land leases and the resulting freehold title – whether they are an open contract with the government or a simple asset – something that was not made clear in instructions to the political parties by the Integrity Commission.

However, such Crown land leases appear never to have been treated as a binding contract by the government. In many reported cases, the agreed pricing contained in the lease was thrown out by the former PNP administration and local leaseholders were forced to pay a much higher price for the land than that specified. In some cases, leaseholders abandoned the leases and gave up the monies already paid down on the conditional lease. Many in the TCI therefore believe the leases are agreements subject to change by the government and are not binding contracts.

The new reporting requirement, albeit arguable in scope, resulted from the manipulation of the sale of Crown land by members and supporters of the PNP prior to the August 2009 imposition of direct rule by Britain. In what were called “land flips”, the PNP government ministers, relatives and supporters were alleged to have had parcels of Crown land appraised at a low value, then purchased the land for belonger discounts of as much as 75 percent and then within days resold the land for much higher prices to pre-arranged buyers.

A number of criminal charges of fraud and corruption laid against 12 former PNP ministers, their family members and others relate to this practice of land flipping.

However, according to Premier Ewing, the prosecutions, which are due to go to trial next month, are “a farce.”

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There will be BY-ELECTION on 22nd March in Turks and Caicos Island

PRESS RELEASE

The Supervisor of Elections

The Supervisor of Elections Dudley Lewis has advised that based on the ruling of the Supreme Court in the matter between the Attorney General and Ms Amanda Anisha Missick; and considering the withdrawal of the challenge against Amanda Missick brought by Oral Selver and the withdrawal of the challenge against Oral Selver brought by Althea Ewing Williams; there will be a By-Election in the Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill 7 th Electoral District as planned on March 22, 2013.

Therefore, both Candidates Mr. Oral Isaac Selver representing the People’s Democratic Party (PDM) and Ms Amanda A. Misick, representing the Progressive National Party (PNP) are eligible for the by-election.

Mr. Lewis has also cautioned the public against the publishing of false information about the withdrawal of any candidate. Under section 75(1) (b) of the Elections Ordinance, it is an offense to publish false information against any candidate in an effort to win votes for another.

Section 75 (1)(b) states

Every person who before or during an election knowingly publishes a false statement of the withdrawal of a candidate at such election for the purpose of promoting or procuring the election of anther candidate shall be guilty of an illegal practice and shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine of $2,000 and be incapable during a period of five years from the date of conviction, of being registered as a voter or of voting at an election.

Dudley Lewis

Supervisor of Elections

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WAR OF WORDS BETWEEN BRITAIN AND TURKS AND CAICOS CONTINUES

War of words between Britain and Turks and Caicos continues
Published on March 15, 2013,by Caribbean News.

TCI Premier Rufus Ewing (L) and Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — In a statement to the House of Assembly in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on Thursday, Premier Rufus Ewing accused Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague of corruption.

Responding to a strongly worded letter on Tuesday from Hague, which had described Ewing’s speech last month to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government as a substantial misrepresentation, Ewing said that the release of Hague’s letter just prior to election petition court hearings and before a potential by-election was an attempt by Britain to influence the voters and the courts and is therefore a corrupt act.

Ewing then went on to defend his address to CARICOM. He repeated his position that CARICOM was a key factor in Britain’s recent agreement to shelve the imposition of value added tax in the TCI. However, none of the CARICOM member states or associate members has made any public statement expressing any opinion in relation to the TCI and/or VAT.

Hague had chided Ewing for failing to mention the dire state of the economy coming out of the previous Progressive National Party (PNP) government led by Michael Misick who, Hague pointed out, remains a fugitive from justice.

Ewing said there was no need for him to mention this because “we all know about these events.”

Ewing went on to say that he was sure that many TCI citizens now favour independence.

For the first time, Ewing, who is himself a medical doctor, spoke about the pressing health care issues in the TCI.

Weeks earlier, Ewing had celebrated the idea of the third party use of the hospitals and health care facilities for medical tourism. As these facilities are operated by private contractors funded by the TCI government, media questioning as to who benefits from the practice has been ongoing.

Ewing said he will be making sure that the TCI gets a share of the third party operations of InterHealth Canada, which is are operating the hospitals.

TCI taxpayers are responsible for paying a $120 million mortgage on the two small hospitals, which also includes an excessive 12 percent rate of interest. The National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP), in the creation of which Ewing was reported to have played a central role, is costing the TCI over 40 percent of every tax dollar collected.

On three separate occasions, Ewing has claimed that financial audits of the hospitals were underway but the new InterHealth Canada CEO said that no audits had been started.

Ewing also blamed the downturn in the economy for people losing their jobs and no longer paying 6 percent of their wages into the health plan.

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PEOPLE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT OF TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS PRESS STATEMENT

PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT
PRESS STATEMENT

The Peoples’ Democratic Movement wishes to take the opportunity to address a few pertinent issues affecting our Beautiful by Nature Turks and Caicos Islands –
US Travel Advisory to US Citizens
We are troubled by the Statement issued by the US as a result of the recent acts of crimes that affected Us citizens visiting our Islands. We deeply regret the experience of the tourists that fell victim to these crimes and offer our sincerest apologies and regrets. It is important that these individuals (as well as persons looking to travel to our Islands) understand and appreciate that these are not common occurrences and we are still a country that enjoys a low crime rate with great people. To this end, we are seeking to make contact with the victims and have our sincerest regrets personally conveyed to them.
The Opposition remains committed to assisting the Government and the Police in any and all efforts to ensure the safety of our tourists and residents alike. We must remember as a people the importance of this Industry to our economic survival and also our individual role in ensuring that Statements like these are not issued nor the alert heightened.
I am calling on all citizens to assist the Police by coming forward and assisting in the solving of these crimes. We also have the benefit of Crime Stoppers who are committed to crime fighting and whose number 1800TIPS treats each caller as anonymous. Crime Stoppers does not want to know who you are, they just want to partner with you in making these Islands safer for all of us.
I also wish to use this Forum to condemn the actions of the few individuals who continue to prey on our tourists and residents. There is no justification ever for violent crimes and I am asking persons to see the errors of their ways and what can become of a nation for a few selfish acts.
It is important that the Government does everything to assure the United States that these incidents are not common and also to ensure that the Police and other Crime Fighting Agencies are well resourced.
Cuban Detainees
Today we were shocked and dismayed to learn of the escape of the 16 Cuban Detainees seeking Asylum in the Turks and Caicos Islands. There were many issues that arose during the handling of this matter and it was important to respect the legal process. However this recent event turns on an issue of national security. We are calling on the Government to conduct a full Inquiry into the escape of these Detainees and to forthwith make an initial Statement to the people of these Islands as to when the Government and Law Enforcement became aware of this issue that has already played out on US Television.
Healthcare and NHIP
The challenge to accessing healthcare is mounting and more and more incidences are being reported to me for representation. It is important that we begin to seriously address this issue. Though we are faced with many other challenges that can easily become a national distraction, it is important that we maintain focus on the important issues affecting us of which healthcare ranks as a high priority. I will like to encourage persons who are experiencing difficulties and who have had bad experiences to make the Reports to the relevant Bodies and/or to continue to make representations to your elected Representatives.
We await the Premier now Minister of Health’s Statement on the audits of the Hospital Contract and to inform the people of these Islands as to what the Committee to which it can make its complaints.
TC Invest Home Owners
Equally important is the issue facing former TC Invest mortgage holders. We are also very concerned about the plight of former TCI Mortgage holders whose mortgages have been sold and whose loans are being called in under strained and near impossible conditions. We are in possession of letters that were sent out to Home Owners informing that they were being given a total of three months to pay their mortgage in full or have their properties auctioned. This is rather unfortunate and it is important that these persons are assisted. We wish to advise those affected that we will be addressing these matters with urgency.
Though we are faced with seemingly other distractions, we deem it important to let the people of these Islands know that we are on the job and that we will seek to always represent your best interest. As we move on over the next few days, I pray peace over this land and a speedy resolution to all that remains unsettled so that we can move forward as a People.
Unemployment
We in the PDM are very concern about the continuing high levels of unemployment and the seemingly lack of interest or no how of this Government to create meaningful high paying jobs for our people. Therefore, we are calling on the Private Sector businesses to not only follow the Labour Laws when it comes to filling job vacancies but to take on a new commitment to ensure that our people are given the opportunities they deserve. Now more than ever we need everyone to do their part, as we are committed to do ours.
May God bless these Turks and Caicos Islands.

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