By David Tapfer
For years the names of those thought to be manipulators and beneficiaries of the dealings of the Misick administration were believed to be limited to those eventually indicted and forced to appear in court. There was Mike Misick, Floyd, Lisa and Jeffrey Hall. Then there was McAlister ‘Piper’ Hanchell and Lillian Boyce. Also involved were Quentin Hall and Earlson Robinson. Attorneys Clayton Greene and Melbourne Wilson were charged.
David Tapfer is a retired, US-born engineer and management executive. He is the former chairman of the Middle Caicos Branch of the Peoples Democratic Movement
Now in the opening days of the trial, when the evidence is being summarised, other names have come out. Private individuals and law firms.
In fact, the first list of names coming before the public were certain witnesses. This caused speculation over the involvement of the witnesses. What could witness Shaun Malcolm testify to?
Now, as the evidence is summarised, one wonders who else will be drawn in. Oswald Skippings has been mentioned but it is not said he personally did anything wrong. As one time minister of immigration, the department within his ministry gave a permanent residency certificate to a developer. The developer has admitted he bribed the Progressive National Party (PNP) and paid a huge fine. It is believed he gave evidence to escape prosecution.
The fact is Governor Posten, a British appointee, is not yet mentioned. The country knows he liked to drink and may well have died from the effects. Then Governor Tauwhare who will testify for the prosecution could be condemned by the defence for allowing corruption to happen.
The unnamed judges that called for the 2003 by-election and the judge who gave the PNP the near independence of the 2006 constitution are yet to be named. The PNP never asked for a jury in these now disastrous decisions.
Then new names have surfaced. Tarsha Hall is one that received a number of fat checks. Many dollars went to someone yet to be revealed.
We find it impossible to believe that Ariel Misick and Carlos Simons did not smell something bad, given the funds and correspondence that passed through their law firms. How could Phil and Washington Misick not be charged, when corrupt funds were shuffled through their firm, Prestigious Properties, to pay the bills of baby brother Mike? The funds did not come from Mike’s government paycheck.
It is only days into the trial estimated to take six months and I begin to wonder how those charged will defend themselves. Hopefully, we will hear no more about how Mike Misick was dragged back from his hiding place in Brazil. That was up to Brazilian judges.
The defence must deny that the dealings were in some way normal, or the evidence fabricated. We shall see in days to come. The public does not want this trial to digress into a bunch of legalese that has no bearing on right and wrong.
Now the underlying question looms large. Will charges be made later against those who were assisting the corruption and getting compensated?
Here is a new question for the citizens, stockholders and depositors in the bankrupt TCI Bank. Ariel Misick, PNP Carlos Simon and PNP Clayton Greene shuffled off the records of the TCI Bank mismanaged into receivership by Ariel’s brother Washington to the Bahamian accounting firm Deloitte and Touche in 2010. TCI Bank records never to be seen again.
Prosecutor Mitchell tells us that there was a serious argument between Governor Tauwhare and Michael Misick over the value of 122 acres up for sale to Salt Cay developer Mario Hoffman. Misick wanted to sell the people’s Crown land for half of its worth.
Now Mitchell reveals that this same Bahamian accounting firm, Deloitte and Touche, was used two years earlier, in 2008, to appraise the value of the Salt Cay land at Misick’s one-half its true value. Governor Tauwhare was tricked and let the deal go through. Then Ariel’s brother Mike was on the receiving end of a $6 million loan and millions in credit card credit from the Salt Cay developer’s bank. Loans that ended up in another Misick brother Thomas Chalmers’ law firm. Millions used by the Misicks, never repaid.
The people of the TCI were short changed $6 million and all their cash in TCI Bank by the brothers Misick and the PNP. Will there ever be an accounting? The people elected Washington as the current finance minister, who has laid taxes on their income to pay his party’s debts. Taxes that discourage needed development.
Where does shame belong?