The Brothers Misick: (L-R) Michael, Ariel, Chalmers and Washington
According to a number of local and overseas media reports, the Progressive National Party (PNP) held an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the implications for the party and the government of the arrest earlier that day of former party leader and TCI premier Michael Misick in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Local sources indicate that there is some concern within the PNP that Misick’s eventual extradition from Brazil and questioning by the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) in the TCI may strengthen the cases against a number of his former cabinet colleagues and others who have already been charged with various offences including bribery, fraud and money laundering during the previous PNP administration.
There is also reportedly some concern within the party that Misick may be able to implicate members of the newly elected PNP government.
In November last year, the Tribune newspaper in The Bahamas revealed the existence of an investigation conducted by US government officials into the wire transfer of funds totaling some $1.65 million from accounts belonging to Sandals/Beaches resorts into the hands of the PNP and Misick, using his brothers’ firms, one of which was Prestigious Properties headed by Washington Misick, now the finance and tourism minister in the new PNP administration.
According to the article by Neil Hartnell, the funds after arriving in the TCI also found their way to the law firms of Misick and Stanbrook, headed by Ariel Misick, and Chalmers and Company, headed by Chalmers “Chal” Misick.
Washington Misick was a former TCI chief minister for the PNP in the early 1990s. He also headed the TCI Bank as chairman of the board of directors. TCI Bank was placed into liquidation in April 2010 when it failed, taking down with it 4,000 personal accounts of islanders and $22.9 million in islanders’ pension funds.
One million dollars of the funds from Sandals was reportedly used to pay debts and obligations of Michael Misick himself.
Michael Misick’s influence in the TCI was recently referred to in a report by Pedro Rocha in Jornal do Brazil, which described Misick as being part of a family that retains political control of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
During its recent successful election campaign, the PNP had attempted to distance itself from Misick despite nominating his brother, a former niece and nephew as candidates.
According to unconfirmed reports, the recent Throne Speech and the campaign calling for independence was being orchestrated by Misick, with the goal of escaping prosecution on corruption and fraud charges for himself, his brother, other relatives and friends.
However, in recent days the PNP has noticeably backed away from the call for independence in the face of little local support, the prospect of court ordered by-elections in a number of districts and the fact that the party lost the popular vote in the recent elections by some five percent, which hardly represents a mandate for its political agenda.