n 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 Turks and Caicos Government with Premier Michael Misick and his ministers.
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 3 years later.
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.
Now after 10 months of this voluntary statement in Istanbul the Prosecution Team (SIPT) obtained an arrest warrant and a Red Notice through Interpol.
I am innocent.I did not received any benefits for any of my political donations.
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.
Dr Kinay is widely recognized for his contributions to the travel industry, In 1996 he was lauded as Austria’s “Tourism Manager of the Year” and in 1997, as “Man of the Year” and Finally on 2007, he has been honored with “State Medal Of Austria”.
Between Dr.Cem Kinay nd Hon.Governor Tauware on 31th July 2005.
Please compare both Development Agreements signed for Dellis Cay ,DA from 1997,before I purchased Dellis Cay in 1997
and 2005,when I purchased Dellis Cay.
I am asking again Hon.Governor Todd to publish all DA’s in the last 20 years for TCI People.
I am asking Helen Garlick to extend their investigations for all DA’s and political donations in this country.
The TCI people has the right to know the TRUTH’s.
Developer of Dellis Cay Turks and Caicos Islands.
PRESS RELEASE DR CEM KINAY
Istanbul, July 10, 2012 Tuesday
After 35 years of successfull tourism and real estate investment experience, I have encountered a new experience today. I learned that a Red Bulletin is issued for me to be taken back to Turks and Caicos Islands. I have been figting my political and legalstruggle with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government since 3 years.
My companies have invested in Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay projects since 2005 until August 2009. We were the largest investor of TCI history. The total investment was going to be around $ 1 billion. I beleived that the unique nature of my development would contribute to the cultural development of the islanders who haveembraced me with much interest. However, ex Premier Michael Missick’s detoriating relations with England, the political conflict between England and Turks and Caicos Islands and the alleged corruption resulted in the intervention of the British government to the island. Missick was dismissed, parliement abolished, and constitution wassuspended. Our investments came to a complete halt. I lost all I have to the funding banks.
The perfectly legal political donation scheme that existed in the islands for many years was turned into a corruption scandal. To prove Missick is guilty, we were chosen as targets. I am a victim of politics, and I am innocent. I did not receive any benefits for any of my political donations. I will continue my defense in the international level.
Dr Kinay practiced medicine at the General Hospital of Vienna in Austria. He received his PhD from the University of Vienna Medical School in 1984. He is a Turkish and Austrian Citizen, Belonger of Turks and Caicos Islands. In 1987, Magister Oguz Serim, his other Austrian citizen partner, and Dr Kinay set up a tour operator by the name of Gulet Touristik, the largest tour operator in Austria. In 1990, They founded the Magic Life Group. Magic Life owned and managed luxury properties in Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Spain, Egypt and Bulgaria. In 1997,they established a further tour operator, Gulet Touropa Touristik. In 2004, they sold Magic Life and Gulet Touristik to the German tour operator TUI AG, one of the world’s largest tour operators.
Dr Kinay is widely recognized for his contributions to the travel industry, In 1996 he was lauded as Austria’s “Tourism Manager of the Year” and in 1997, as “Man of the Year” and Finally on 2007, he has been honored with “State Medal Of Austria”.
10 Temmuz 2012 Salı
Yaklaşık 35 yıldır Türkiye ve dünyada turizm sektörünün en saygın yatırımcılarından birisi olarak devam etmekte olan iş yaşamımda bugün yeni bir deneyim daha yaşadım.
İngiltere ve Turks and Caicos hükümetleri tarafından hakkımda bir Kırmızı Bülten çıkarıldığını haber aldım. Yaklaşık 3 yıldır sürdürdüğüm siyasi-hukuki mücadeleyi kazanacağımdan emin olmakla birlikte, gelinen noktayı kamuoyu ile paylaşmayı da bir borç biliyorum.
Türkiye’nin ekonomik kapasitesini dünyanın her yerine yayması gerektiğine inanan bir işadamı olarak 2005 yılında önce Karayiplerin bir adası olan Turks and Caicos Adalarında yaklaşık 1 milyar dolarlık bir emlak ve turizm yatırımına giriştim. Adanın güzelliğine, ekonomisine, kültürel gelişimine büyük katkı yapacak olan projemizi ada halkı ve yönetimi de büyük bir sevgi ve ilgiyle kucakladı. Ancak Ada yönetiminin ve başbakan Michael Missick’in adanın bağlı olduğu İngiltere yönetimiyle siyasi ihtilafa düşmesi, siyasi istikrarın bozulmasına ve 2009 yılında İngiliz hükümetinin adaya müdahalesine yol açtı. Yolsuzlukla suçlanan Missick görevden alındı ve anayasa askıya alındı.
Bu süreçte Turks and Caicos adalarında yatırım yapan onlarca işadamı da başbakan Missick ile bağlantıları olduğu ve yolsuzluğa karıştıkları iddiası ile suçlandılar. Ancak suçlananlar hep yabancı yatırımcılar oldu. Başbakan Missick’in rüşvetçi olduğunu ispat etmenin yolu, özellikle hedef seçilen yabancı yatırımcıların rüşvet verdiğini kanıtlamaktı. Ben de bu siyasi mücadelenin günah keçilerinden birisi olarak seçildim ve yıllar sürecek bir hukuk mücadelesinin içerisine itildim. Gerçekten “”masum ve haklı olduğum” için, “masum ve haklı olduğumu” kanıtlayacağımdan eminim. Bugüne kadar bu konuda açılan ve tamamlanan bütün davalarda olduğu gibi bundan da beraat edeceğim. Siyasi bir davaya karşı yürüttüğüm hukuki mücadelemi ise uluslararası platformların tümünde sürdüreceğim.
Hem Türkiye’nin büyüyen gücüne paralel olarak dünyanın her yerinde iş geliştiren Türk işadamlarını bu tür riskler konusunda uyarmak ve hukuki süreçler konusunda hazırlıklı olunması gerektiğine dikkati çekmek hem de küresel bir güce dönüşen Türkiye’nin tüm dünyada bayrağımızı dalgalandıran işadamlarından birisi olarak ilgililerin desteğine ihtiyaç duyduğumuzu belirtmek için bu kısa açıklamayı kamuoyunun bilgisine saygılarımla sunuyorum.
Dr. Cem Kınay
Birlesik Ingiltere Kralligi na dahil Turks ve Caicos Adaları’nda yer alan Dellis Cay bir doğa harikasıdır. Parrot Cay’in yanında yer alan adaya Providenciales’den deniz yoluyla 20 dakikada ulasmak mümkündür. Dellis Cay, Haziran 2005’te özel bir şahıstan satın alınmıştır. Adada dünyanın önde gelen mimarlarının eşsiz tasarımlarından oluşan lüks bir yerleşim kompleksi planlandı.. Proje tamamlandığında, adada Mandarin Oriental otelinin çevresinde yer alan ve otelin hizmet vereceği lüks villalar ve residenceler olacaktı. Projenin inşaat çalışmalarına, Haziran 2008’de başlanmıştı ve planlanan, projenin ilk bolumunun Ekim 2010 da tamamlanması şeklindeydi.
Dr. Kinay, son otuz yıldır ,vizyon sahibi,saygıdeğer bir uluslararası iş adamı olarak haklı bir üne kavuşmuştur. Magic Life Grubu’nun kurucusu olan Dr. Kınay, 2006 yılında layık görüldüğü “Avusturya Devleti Onur Payesi ve Madalyası” da dahil olmak üzere yüksek ahlaki ilkelerini, dahası iş dünyasındaki zekasını ve yetkinliğini tanıyan pek çok ödül almıştır.
Istanbul, Turkey 2 July 2012
I understand that Sotheby’s has been instructed to act for the Government, and has placed the 200 acres parcel 30101/25 of Joe Grant Cay on the market for sale at US$9.95 million. The parcel was recovered last year for the government following a claim by the Civil Recovery Team against my companies. I appealed the decision. The Appeal Court will decide later this year whether the Court’s decision was just and fair, as it was not.
The people of Turks and Caicos Islands must know that according to the Court documents submitted by the Attorney General:
- on 7 November 2006, Mr Shaban Hoza, Government’s own valuation officer, reported a freehold value of this land for commercial use to be $230,000 per acre, but advised that the Government (or the Crown) could negotiate a price of up to $330,000 per acre. Those figures produce a valuation of between US$46 million and US$66 million for this 200 Acres land for commercial use ;
- on 10 June 2008, this time Mr Hoza has produced a valuation of US$50 million for this 200 acres land for commercial use .
The Attorney General has quoted these valuations to build the Government’s case against our companies. The Court on the other hand, disregarded the Government appointed BCQS Limited’s US$3.2 million valuation for this 200 acres land for commercial use which was the basis for our purchase of Joe Grant Cay through our companies back in June 2008.
Now they are attempting to sell it at US$9.95 million.
The Government owes to TCI people, to declare the true value of the 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, is it worth USD 50 million? US$250 million ? Or US$3.2 million that BCQS, a reputable Caribbean commercial firm has reported when they worked for the Government to confirm what must be the fair market price of this 200 acres?
If US$50 million is true, somebody is going to benefit US$40 million of Turks and Caicos People’s money.
If US$3.2 million is true, the Government should give us back our land,, that it claimed we bought at undervalue at the absence of a Development Agreement, in the midst of Worldwide economic crisis.
In any case, The Government must immediately stop the illegal sale of the 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay. This land is still the subject of an upcoming appeal between our companies and TCIG.
I appeal His Hon. Governor Richi Todd to suspend the sale of 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay. I also appeal to Sotheby’s Turks and Caicos Islands to immediately stop the sale of this land, which is still in dispute. I appeal to Temple Trust, to wait the results of the upcoming appeal.
Joe Grant Cay is a remote uninhabited cay located in a remote section of the archipelago between Middle Caicos and Easy Caicos, accessible only by sea. This Cay has no dock, no road, no electricity, no water neither any form of other infrastructure. The cay is composed mainly of consolidated rock with the ocean frontages consisting of either sand or “iron shore”. The elevation is low and the shallow water depths at some parts of the island for do not allow visitors to access other areas.
In 2008, We took a huge risk when we decided to invest into this property encouraged by his Hon. Governor Tauwahare, and ex Chief Minister Michael Missick.
I condemn the statements of certain people who claim that Joe Grant Cay will pay off TCI’s US$ 260 million debt to the UK. The best 200 acres of beach front parcel of Joe Grant Cay is up for sale US$9.95 million and it is unlikely that it will meet any buyer, unless the Government promise a preferential Development Agreement never seen before, with huge subsidies. Perhaps a preferential Development Agreement is already on the table, and the lucky buyer is already known. We will see what will come up behind the decision to sell this land so swiftly, without waiting the result of the appeal.
Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay Development Agreements:
Whether the Government has on the offer a preferential Development Agreement to the new buyer of Joe Grant Cay’s 200 acres, our Development Agreements had nothing
My companies have invested in Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay projects since 2005 until August 2009. We were the largest investor of TCI history.
We have bought Dellis Cay at the time of His Hon. Tauwhare in June 2005 for USD 18 million from Mrs Dini Zingone. This deal was the largest private deal in TCI. I signed Dellis Cay’s development agreement dated July 2005 with Hon. Governor Tauwhare.
Further, on June 2008, we bought 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay island after 1,5 years of negotiations directly with the Attorney General, at the prices and terms determined by third parties appointed by His Hon. Tauwhare. On November 2008, our companies signed a Development Agreement for Joe Grant Cay after 2 years of intense negotiations, with the Attorney General. The signature on the Joe Grant Cay Development Agreement belongs to His Hon. Governor Wetherell.
Both Hon. Governors, have executed all Cabinet resolutions for Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay throughout their respective terms. I read in the press speculations about the Development Agreements of these projects. I have taken the decision to immediately publish in public both the former Development Agreement executed for Dellis Cay with Mrs. Zingone Dini before me, and the current Development Agreement for Dellis Cay signed by Hon Governor Tauwhare on July 2005.
I will also publish to public the Sale & Purchase Agreement signed by His Hon. Governor Tauwhare for Joe Grant Cay on June 2008, and the Development Agreement signed by His Hon. Gov. Whetherel for Joe Grant Cay on November 2008.
I am all for transparency. Therefore, I invite His Hon. Governor Richi Todd who is currently in office, to disclose all Development Agreements signed by TCI Government for the past 20 years. At the end of the day, these Development Agreements are negotiated and provided to the Investors for the benefit of both the Investors as well as the TCI people. TCI people have a right to know what is going on in these agreements. Why to keep them secret? Why let people speculate? Publish them and show to the people of Turks and Caicos Islands, who got what?
There is not a single developer who did not make a perfectly legal donation to the political parties in the TCI, but I am picked as a victim with a select few other to pay a deer price. I hope one day, all developers will disclose their development agreements and their donations to the political parties. Only then, the TCI people will see the truth.
The Responsibility of the his Hon. Governors
On July 18th 2009, His Hon. Governor Whetherell published the Commission of Inquiry’s Final Report which provided access to the unredacted text that contained our good companies name, ruining our reputation, and causing the banks to pull funding. Later on, His Hon. Governor brought into force the Order in Council suspending parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands constitution. The House of Assembly was dissolved and Members’ seats were vacated. The constitutional right to trial by jury was suspended. Shortly after in October 2009, a receiver was appointed to our project Dellis Cay by TTUTC.
Since then, I am exposed to numerous claims, in breach of my human rights. I am really sorry that two principal players between 2005- 2009 are not in the TCI today. They are the ex Hon. Governors Tauwhare and Whetherel
It is my strong belief that these Hon Governors have caused major damage not only to my companies but also to the TCI people. They have ruined the properties and lives of many people, by abusing their responsibilities.
Governor Tauwhare and Governor Whetherel represented the principal office ruling TCI, and they must be accountable for both good and bad things that happened in the TCI. They have chaired every Cabinet meeting along with the Attorney General. They have executed each and every resolution in the TCI. If the Courts one day, prove there has been “widespread” corruption at TCI, the Governors must surely be hold accountable as well.
I am very pleased that the elections are now proposed and finally we see the possibility to return to democracy after 3 years of interruption. I believe that TCI people deserve democracy and hope that both PDM and PNP will fulfil their responsibility in this respect.
ONE VICTIM OF POLITICS IN TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
Prominent businessman and Queen’s Counsel Clive Stanbrook is spearheading a team of businesspersons from the Turks and Caicos Islands who are sending a “clear warning” to Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne that the imposition of a Valued Added Tax (VAT) would be inappropriate and undesirable in this British Overseas Territory.
In a press statement issued from London on behalf of the newly-formed Turks and Caicos Independent Business Council (TCIBC), Stanbrook, who is the group’s chairman, stated: “We are sending a clear message to the British Government. It is the view of virtually the entire business community in the Turks and Caicos that a VAT tax is inappropriate, costly, cumbersome and unnecessary at this stage in the development of these Islands. In the short term it is clear that the existing taxation systems can be relied upon to raise such extra revenue as may be needed. ”
The press release said that the British Government “has a major battle on its hands over the proposed implementation of VAT in The Turks and Caicos islands”, following the formation of TCIBC by a broad group of concerned individuals from all sectors of the economy and business community throughout the TCI.
Stanbrook, is the owner of IGA Graceway, the largest supermarket chain in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and a former partner in the prestigious law firms Misick and Stanbrook. An anti-VAT online petition, (www.ipetitions.com/petition/just-say-no-to-vat) was started on May 29, 2012. Its first signatory was a Fleur Stanbrook, the name of one of Stanbrook’s daughters.
Meantime, the press release quoted a TCIBC spokesman as saying: “We have a common purpose in that we are all unified in our opposition to the introduction of VAT in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We send a clear warning to Chancellor George Osborne that we represent the interests of all the leading businesses in the country and indeed it can be said that our views are representative of virtually every business concern. We are deeply concerned about the expected negative effects of the hasty introduction of VAT into the island’s tax structure. As business professionals we do not have a problem with taxation and recognize the need to fund government.”
The TCIBC said it has a major problem with this particular type of tax and its inappropriate nature for the Turks and Caicos Islands and its unique economy at this time and at this specific point in its young development.
“We believe that the recent gains in economic sustainability will be lost with the imposition of this “boiler plate”, cookie cutter, tax system,” the TCIBC added. “This new VAT tax is not driven by a “grass roots” initiative, but is a politically driven tax imposed upon us by distant bureaucrats based in Europe without effective due process and regard to our specific economy and its future development. One size does not fit all. It is our intention to continue the debate on VAT through wider public education and dissemination of information and to oppose and resist its introduction through whatever legal mechanisms are open to us. This will include public consultations and education through the press, TV and radio.”
The TCIBC noted that this task has already begun with over 3000 people having already signed an on-line petition opposing VAT, adding that many more are joining us daily.
“This is not a done deal as many think. No government or administration can impose any policy upon a community if that community refuses to accept the policy,” the TCIB added.
Discussion on the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) in the Turks and Caicos Islands has reached the House of Commons in England.
On June 18th, MP Andrew Rosindell asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on the introduction of VAT in the Turks and Caicos Islands; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Henry Bellingham, who was recently in the Turks and Caicos Islands to announce that elections will be on November 9th, 2012, replied: “The introduction of VAT is a decision for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government. Their decision was based on thorough research and an assessment that VAT would offer a simpler, equitable and stable revenue source. A decision to introduce VAT was announced in the 2011-12 budget statement. A Green Paper on VAT implementation was published in May and consultation is under way on this.”
Chief Financial Officer Hugh McGarel-Groves in response to a local anti-VAT campaign, said last week that introducing VAT in the Turks and Caicos Islands offers the opportunity to further strengthen the country’s fragile recovery by introducing a simpler, equitable and stable source of Government revenue.
He said: “As the community of the TCI continues to discuss the implementation of VAT, critical questions must continue to be asked of both of the Government but also of the anti-VAT campaigners: what are their alternatives to the benefits of VAT to a renewed TCI; is opposition to VAT borne from a desire to continue not to pay tax at all in some business sectors?
“Given the difficulties endured by the TCI economy since the collapse of the last Government, it is in the best interests of the entire community to ensure that Government finances are secure and that it can continue to develop expenditure plans in line with local peoples’ priorities – a process already begun in this year’s Budget. VAT is a proven system across the Caribbean. It is straightforward to administer and is beneficial here in that this single form of taxation replaces five different sets of ordinances that both Government and business need to keep abreast of.”
They are a lot of discussions regarding recovery of Joe Grant first through SIPT in Turks and Caicos Islands 6 months ago and now the statement of Governor Todd,that through recovery of Joe Grant they will cover the UK Loan about 200,0 MIO USD???
Nobody would like to wait the court decisions.
Is it possible to cover the SIPT costs and fundings through recovery of Joe Grant?Is it true or is it only a story to get the people of TCI calm about the costs and fundings of SIPT?
Or is it an international Scandal?
This Cay is one of the less known cays, and its story came up to the attention of the TCIlanders because of bribe allegations in Turks and Caicos. Dr Kinay, What is Joe Grant Cay?
Joe Grant’s Cay is a beautiful but remote, uninhabited 712 acres cay located in a remote section of the archipelago between Middle Caicos and Easy Caicos. It is accessible only by sea. The last time I took a boat to visit it, it took me 2 hours from Providenciales to get there. This Cay has no dock, no road, no electricity, no water neither any form of other infrastructure. It is inhabited like East Caicos. The cay is composed mainly of consolidated rock with the ocean frontages consisting of either sand or “iron shore”. The elevation is low and the shallow water depths at some parts of the island for do not allow visitors to access other areas. These difficulties do not discourage us, as at the end, when properly developed, this Cay is a beauty.
We have bought 200 Acres of this island on June 20, 2008 from the Crown through a transfer of title executed by the former Governor., Hon Richard Tauwaree and 5 months later on November 7, 2008, the former Governor, Hon. Whetherell has executed a Development Agreement with us for the development of the whole island.
What was the role of you in this project?
When I first came to Turks and Caicos Islands in 2005, I had already my development company O Property Collection in Austria. This company is where I, and my partner Oguz Serim offer our development advice to projects. O Property Collection has, from the first days of this project, ,is acting as “developer” bringing its expertise, in construction, sales, marketing. The center of any development is people. Community is very important. My company’s vision is to create design driven projects. God has already placed a beautiful design for Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay, it is now up to us, with respect, to treat these beauties with the best architecture and standards there is.
What do you want to develop on this island Joe Grant?
We wanted to develop the island with an environmentally friendly small Hotel and then Homes in the natural surroundings. We have retained top environmental engineers from Florida, and we started immediately the process of Environment Impact Assessment. We designed our project with a high-class architect from italy, and have signed a brand and management Indent with a very famous brand. The most important consideration though is that this will be a low density and green development.
When you first heard of Joe Grant Cay? How did you get involved?
I first got interested in Joe Grant Cay In December 2006 when I was informed that negotiations with some developers for a proposed project on Joe Grant’s Cay had run into difficulties and I was asked whether I could be interested to take this development further. The Government already had a price for sale on the Cay, US$5 million according to a formal offer that the former Government had placed before the previous developers in November 2006. My initial views for the Cay was that it was a remote location, no infrastructure and it involved Crown Land, and that meant the need of a Belonger Partner. I was not familiar with this process as my first investment Dellis Cay, is a private transaction and does not involve any Crown Land.
Did you know any of the previous developers?
I understand from the discussions in the past years that there were a number of developers who wanted to take this Cay prior to my involvement in early 2007. I do not know and have never done any business with the gentleman named at the discussions at the Commission of Inquiry,. whether in relation to Joe Grant’s Cay or otherwise.
Who is you local/belonger partner by Joe Grant?
I was already heavily engaged in our Dellis Cay project, and having regard to the Crown land policy (of which I was then aware), I thought it sensible to have a belonger partner in the development. In that respect, a company called Oceanic Development Ltd owned by Don Gardiner became my partner. I respected Don very much whom I already knew socially. As you may recall he was the President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism Board. I understood that Don was involved in the development prospects of Joe Grant Cay with the previous developers so he was very familiar with it. We have executed a Joint Venture Agreement with Don’s company in January 2007, and became partners in a company called Caicos Platinum Ltd, a company that was the recipient of the first formal offer of US$5 million from the Government back in November 2006.
When did you buy Joe Grant Cay?
See, that has never happened. We did not buy Joe Grant Cay. We bought the freehold of the 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, and the rest (512 acres) is provided to us by a Conditional Purchase Lease through a development Agreement. I am not sure whether you followed it, but this island was first offered at US$5 million to Caicos Platinum Ltd, when that company was owned by previous developers. Then, 200 Acres of it (approximately 30%) was offered to us at $2 million in early June 2008, by the decision of Cabinet, led by His Excellency the Governor Richard Tauwaree. At the specific instance of the Government (and with some reluctance on our part given the risk to which we were thus being exposed in advance of the conclusion of a development agreement), we were asked to close the purchase of the 200 acres hotel parcel on an urgent basis, apparently because of very low cash flow issues at Government level. Having agreed to do so, the Governor again changed its mind, obtained a new valuation by a third-party QS and informed us on June 19th, 2008 that the price of the hotel parcel had been increased to $3.2 million. We paid that price for 200 Acres and bought a portion of Joe Grant Cay on June 20th, 2008 on de day of Groundbreaking ceremonies of Dellis Cay.Governor Hon. Tauwaree came in the afternoon to this ceremonies,was very happy,that Joe Grant deal was finally closed after 1,5 years of negotiations.He congratulated me on the day,the funds of the transaction was in the account of government.
What about the Development Agreement?
You know, it took us almost 2 years from the first discussions, but 5 months after our acquisition of the 200 Acre parcel, in November 2008 to get a Development Agreement. I am not sure whether you re know but The Governor executes all major agreements on behalf of the Government. So, Governor HE Gordon Wetherell, and our CEO, Director, Michel Neutelings have met for the execution of the Development Agreement.
Dr, Is there anything special in the Agreement?
All development agreements in Turks and Caicos Islands, usually have more or less the same provisions. However, we have an additional obligation on our part to pay 15% on the gross amount on the sale of villa lots in the development to the Crown. I am not privy to all development agreements in TCI but I am not personally aware of any other development agreement which contains an obligation of that nature. From the standpoint of the public, it is clear that if my partners and I make a major investment on Joe Grant’s Cay such that the price which a buyer might pay for a villa lot is greatly enhanced, the Government receives a corresponding benefit without any of the business risks undertaken by the developer. Joe Grant Cay was going to be a new source of income for the TCI Government and TCI islanders. This remote and inhabited island was going to be the home for a new hospitality project providing new jobs and opportunities for everyone. I would imagine that most of the ex Middle Caicos residents would returned to their home from their present endeavors in Providenciales. In summary, this project had a very important social aspect. I have on many occasions discussed these aspects with both Honorable Governors Tauwahare and Whetherel.
There were discussions about the valuation? What you have to say on it?
Look, I am a developer, a businessmen. I got interested in this deal as the 712 Acres was available at US$5 million to a number of developers who apparently did not perform. I wanted to buy at this price. At the end, I have negotiated more than 18 months to get 30% of this cay at US$3.2 million. I took a significant risk by paying that price and closing that purchase without having a signed development agreement with TCIG, with no guarantee that we could carry out our development plan or acquire the rest of the Cay. I trusted to Governor Hon.Tauwahare and later on to Governor Hon.Whetherel.
Now coming to the valuations, I understand from the Inquiry that under the leadership of the HE Governor Tauwaree himself, the Cabinet has sought a number of conflicting valuations both from their own valuation department and from a private commercial appraiser on June 2008. They have as the Cabinet, together with HE the Governor, have decided to take the valuation of the commercial appraiser as it reflected the market value.
Now, the question is why did they not picked the high value but the low value?
My answer is that the valuation of the land is obviously a matter for the Crown and for experts in that field. That is why I have hired some of the leading experts in this field to assist me. What they say is simple: the Valuation officer has attempted to value this property by direct comparison to couple at Ambergris Cay, and sale listings from marketing brochures (and not actual transactions) at North Caicos Marina and Middle Caicos. I am told that those comparable do not come near being appropriate for the purposes of valuing Joe Grant Cay.
At Ambergris Cay, for example, lot sizes of between 0.32 – 1.85 acres each are compared to our project of 700 acres. In addition, Ambergris Cay forms part of an established luxury brand, and considerable expenditure has been undertaken on the extensive infrastructure. I do not know if you know but Ambergis Cay has all its utilities underground, electricity and water, It is the only island in this country which has an underground sewer system. Everything is self-generated on the island, water making, the treatment of the sewer system. It has even an uncompleted marina that is not completed but obviously a port facility) including the inclusion of the biggest private runway (6,000 feet) in the Caribbean. Overall Ambergis Cay it is a self-sufficient island that has all of the amenities and can function, unlike North and Middle Caicos which has to have power on the sea cable from Providenciales. North Caicos Yacht Club is also a developed property, so no parallels to undeveloped land neither. We also understand that the value r has used “sales brochure prices” in 2008. The Middle Caicos comparative is based on a sales listing as well, which was withdrawn from the market after 22 months listing period and not sold.
Now, that is what experts say. These will all come out soon. Now if you ask me what I personally think. To me, the real valuation is what I paid. Our company paid US$18 million to Dellis Cay, a 500 acres island, of which 200 Acre is private land. Dellis Cay is only 20 minutes from Leeward Highway, it had PPC Electricity cable in it, for plenty of electricity, and it is next to world-renowned Parrot Cay. I think that we have paid for the 200 Acres at Joe Grant Cay reflects the fair market price at its present state and that is “undeveloped” land at a remote location for commercial use. That is what it is.
Later on, we have asked both local and international professional valuation firms to conduct a fgull analysis and report an official valuation of this island. All these reports have confirmed the value that we have paid to Joe Grant Cay’s 200 acres and the lease agreements that we have entered with the TCI Government. In any case, after the World Economical Crisis starting in November 2008 and onwards land values have significantly eroded all around the world and especially the Caribbean.
But Dr Kinay what is the benefit of this Project to the TCIslanders? What do they get?
Look,the government did not simply sell a piece of land, they entered into a development agreement for the development of that land. If I can not develop it on time, and spend the money that the Government wants me to spend on it, than they will get back. It is in the Agreement. It is ours as long as we spend money on it. You know how much? My Development Agreement says I need to spend US$120 million on this cay in a fixed period of time. We estimated that the construction will take 2 years and create at least 150 new local jobs. Once the island is fully operational it will require at least 70 locals to manage it. As I have already mentioned, in addition to the purchase price of the land of the hotel site, we will pay 15% of our Villa sales on the 300 Acre Villa Lots and this goes straight to the Government’s budget. Not to mention, the usual development agreement obligations such as the Annual Scholarship payments, duties, work permit fees, the rents paid under the leases, stamp duty benefits accruing to TCIG arising out of sales in the development and the boost to the tourism economy of TCI.
Dr Kinay, you lost a court case concerning Joe Grant Cay June 2011? What will happen now?
I received the Turks and Caicos Islands Court’s judgment in June 2011 concerning Joe Grant Cay. I also received TCIG’s Press Release from July 2011. The judgement is grossly unfair and Joe Grant Cay development companies are currently appealing it. I could not afford lawyers as Turks and Caicos Islands Courts have frozen all my worldwide assets not allowing me to spend any funds towards my right to defend myself and my companies. Looking at the Judgment, in essence, His Hon. Justice G W Martin has concluded in connection with the political donation of $500,000 made by Dellis Cay’s parent company Turks Development LP (the Court states the donation was from ‘Dr Kinay’) to Michael Misick on 9 January 2007, the Judge found (paragraph 33) “there to be a very strong probability that the money was paid as a bribe in order to ensure that the Defendant companies obtained the benefit of the proposed development” disregarding the facts that the Defendant companies did not even exist at that time, and that the donation was made by Turks Development LP, a company developing Dellis Cay, not related in any way to Joe Grant Cay . His Hon Judge further observed (paragraph 41): “I emphasise that this judgment should not be treated as a conclusive finding that any individual has acted corruptly. Nobody should be declared corrupt if he has not had the opportunity to defend himself at trial, and that has not happened in this case.’ These statements did not make the Judgment just and fair, the basic principle of law.
On the matter of Joe Grant Cay’s valuation, His Hon Justice completely ignored the Government’s valuation report obtained from BCQS, an independent commercial appraiser who valued 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, at USD 3.2 million for commercial use, exactly the amount of money asked by the Government in June 2008, which the development companies have paid in full. His Hon Judge ruled (Para 36, The Judgement) ‘When instructing BCQS to give an alternative valuation, McAllister Hanchell did not tell them of the proposed development, so that their valuation made no allowance for the intended use of the land.’. The Learned Chief Justice has failed to recognize that BCQS valuation report specifically stated on Page 7 Item 3.5 ‘It is assumed that planning permission is available for the subdivision of the land for residential plots or for a commercial use.’ By ignoring BCQS’s clear statement specifying that Joe Grant Cay valuation report is prepared for “commercial use”, The Hon. Chief Justice presented an unbalanced approach for the benefit of the Plaintiff. The Court’s omission of BCQS’s written representations in their valuation report is not something that I can live with and we will be pursuing the reasons for this material error.
First, the Commission of Inquiry’s publication of unredacted Final Report despite the TCI Supreme Court’s Order not to publish the unredacted Final Report cost Dellis Cay its business and caused the funders to pull their finances, now Joe Grant Cay Development companies are striped of their rightfully obtained assets.
It is clear to me that there is a set political agenda which is geared to restructure the political landscape at the Turks and Caicos Islands and we are chosen as the main victims.
I repeat categorically that I reject all accusations, and state that we are innocent
For those who doubt that the Development of Joe Grant Cay is not innocent, I have only one question:
Had the alleged privileges, favors or better conditions been present in the acquisition of 200 acres of this island, or in the Development Agreement, why both Hon. Governor Tauwhare, and the present Hon. Governor Whetherell would have executed these on behalf of the Crown?
Both Hon Governors are experienced public officials, with history of making land transactions, and executing Development Agreements on behalf of the Crown. Why did they approve these transactions if the preferential treatment was all over the documents that they have signed?
All these contracts, and 200 acres land sale were approved by the Attorney General, TCI Invest, Ministers, the Premier, and executed by 2 Hon. Governors. The Government and both Hon. Governors had 2 years to conduct due diligence. Do you really believe that they were all ‘deceived’? and did not know what they were selling? That is the real question the Turks and Caicos Public must ask.
I have faith in the law, and I will look for justice until I find it.
What are your long-term goals in Turks and Caicos Islands?
Now a new Governor is appointed as you know.His Excellency Hon.Todd is a very positive person and has a new approach for TCI.I will explain him following:
I did not come to Turks and Caicos Islands, to do few projects and go back to anywhere. I will stay and work here for many years. When Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay will one time open, my children, together with the young generation of Turks and Caicos Islands, will be proud of having these developments, in remote locations and will have fun.TCI er will be proud about it too.
It is also not right,to tell TCI Islander,the government recovered Joe Grant.It is not true.We have still our appeal open and when we will again lose because of the pressure of Attorney General,SIPT,TCI Government etc,we will go to the international courts for this injustice.