It is confirmed that the Turks and Caicos has two governments -- one elected by the people and one imposed on the will and direction of the people, the former Governor Damian Ric Todd, the attorney general (AG) and the British capitalistic controlling interests.
Recent statements from premier, the minister of finance confirm that the former governor did his own thing, without explanation or observance of the law. So the weak assertion by the former governor that he “has always operated within his limited constitutional powers.” It is clear that the governor read too widely into his so-called powers and as such leads to the conclusion that he is either misinformed, ill advised by the attorney general or following a specific agenda.
This specific agenda will come from those persons who usually control governments: to get returns on campaign funds and loans without immediate repayment. Such a trend in loans emerged from the public hearings of the 2009 Commission of Enquiry wherein it was revealed that ministers of the TCI government, 2003-2009, obtained loans from entities such as First Caribbean International bank, Belize Bank (the local banks) without repayment demands.
More so, the vice perpetrated at TCI Bank, where ministers of this PNP government, while acting as directors of that bank obtained loans in the amounts of $2 million and these loans were unsecured. Most notably, the source of the loan funds came from the National insurance Fund that we all have to pay into and if we don’t pay there is public embarrassment, notice and prosecution, as well as selective persecution.
In a recent media release, Minister of Finance C. W. Misick also revealed that his government, as a matter of policy and sheer decision, were all against the actions taken by the former governor in the Trade Winds Industries case, Conch Farm litigation. Yet for no real, sensible or clear policy reason, the former governor and the attorney general fought a personal issue, on what appeared to be instructions from investors and bankers from London.
They have yet to say why from a public policy or practical view, even though the laws of the islands commend and mandate environmentally friendly projects of the nature of the Conch Farm, why they wanted to fight and destroy the project.
Yet this unexplained opposition to the project adds to the debt profile and picture for the TCI in the region of $100 million. This again does not make any kind of sense. This minister’s statements should clear up the matter and a court should follow suit that the word of a minister, elect, would settle the matter once and for all. Governors should not be allowed to run countries. This is the realm of ministers and opposition.
What could be the reasons for this two government system and why it must endure? Do we need a Commission of Enquiry into the actions of the former governor and the AG on this issue? After over 29 years in the islands, paying taxes, national insurance payments, NHIP payments, hiring people, investing many millions, there being no criminal or other allegation, no alleged breaches of the development orders or agreements, the former governor and AG, just did not want that project? This cannot make sense!
It behooves the government, public, opposition, people, etc., to come out and oppose the clear wrong this former governor and British are doing here. If you speak to the average person they would tell you that they cannot understand why the former governor opposed. The former governor himself, up to the time of his much needed departure, has yet to say why he opposed the project, except to say that his reading the development agreement denied fish farming. All other persons locally and otherwise having read the development agreement all see that provision is made for fish farming.
So the former governor had no real legal or policy reasons to oppose the project. So one can only say that the former governor simply carried out the mandate of the other government of the Turks and Caicos Islands: Ric Todd, the AG, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and those financial interests that control the FCO. A commission of enquiry is critically needed.
The clear and present danger in the culture of the two TCI government system is exposed in the questions being asked about the destruction of the TCI environment:
Why has Attorney General Huw Shepheard refused to file criminal charges or civil action against those persons responsible for the act of illegally dredging at Leeward and thereafter illegally dumping dredging spoils on top of Mangrove Cay Shoal in 2008 in a misguided and environmentally damaging attempt to create “Star Island”?
Dredging in a National Park in the Turks and Caicos Islands is illegal. Dumping dredged spoils in a Nature Preserve is also illegal.
However, in 2007 and 2008, Leeward Waterfront Ltd dredged Leeward from the Leeward Going-through Channel to the North shore barrier reef to create a canal for mega yachts to access the proposed Leeward Yacht Club and Marina and, in doing so, dumped much of the dredging spoils on top of Mangrove Cay Shoal, which is located within the Princess Alexandra Nature Preserve, where dumping dredged spoils is a criminal act. National Park and Physical Planning Ordinances were intentionally contravened for the illegal benefit of the Leeward Marina operators. Why have there been no charges or prosecutions by the Integrity Commission or Attorney General Huw Shepheard?
During this time (2008), developers illegally dumped hundreds of cubic yards of dredging spoils on top of Mangrove Cay Shoal in the Princess Alexandra Nature Preserve. The evidence is still there. We know who the conspirators and perpetrators are. Why has there been no legal action? Yet the AG wants to remain responsible for Crown Lands.
Again it has been asked, why has Attorney General Huw Shepheard not acted? This is not a subjective issue. The irrefutable evidence is objective and exists for anybody and everybody to see.
The former TCI attorney general, the infamous deaf, dumb, blind and comatose Kurt de Freitas, who was serving at the time those criminal acts were perpetrated, was believed by many to have been persuaded to turn a blind eye by certain persons benefiting from that crime.
What is the legitimate legal reason that Huw Shepheard has refused to investigate or prosecute those well-known persons who are guilty of flagrantly violating the Turks and Caicos Islands National Parks Ordinance specifically for the financial benefit of the owners and operators of Leeward Yacht Club and Marina or whatever entity that operation is currently being called?
The end result, and the reason why there must be two TCI governments, is that we seemingly are back in interim government mode where the climate of uncertainty, ill defined policy, sheer opposition to the will of the elected is prevailing. While at the same time we face a situation where projects are held up unnecessarily because of the personal will of the former governor and his controllers at the FCO. The case of the Conch Farm illustrates this.
It is also this same policy indirection, lack of resolve and moral authority that is leading the British, in protecting their own, to ignore cases like the 2,500 acre scam at Middle Caicos where some $450 million of Crown land was misappropriated from the Crown, a mere $7 .5 million mortgage was placed on the parcel. Massive rip-off but no interest in investigating. The same is clear on West Caicos, where a $19 million mortgage was placed on 160 acres of Crown land. Again the same result, no interest in getting to the bottom of it. The same is true on Joe Grants, etc. and etc.
All these instances of turning a blind eye trend to protect the bankers, the controllers who control this FCO and who wield indirect negative control over the TCI. One would expect that after the elections the will of elected ministers would have been allowed to emerge to deal with these issues and to prevail over policy. This is not the case and a deadlier, more inspired, covetous evil hand has taken over to protect vested British private and financial interests in the TCI. As such the elected government, the will of the people, tax policy that would favour local interests must stand as a casualty to the need for a second TCI government to protect these interests.