Trevor Cooke, the national chairman of the Progressive National Party (PNP), who is reported to believe that his party will lose the by-election on Friday in Cheshire Hall-Richmond Hill, and by extension lose the government, will be absent on polling day.
Cooke is also facing the embarrassment of losing his party’s headquarters building on Providenciales (see separate story
He has reportedly left the country and headed to The Bahamas to take part in a basketball activity.
Cooke was the former director of TCI’s pension fund known as the National Insurance Board (NIB) and left his job when his contract was not renewed by then Governor Gordon Wetherell.
Cooke was a key element in the financing of the ill fated TCI bank, when the NIB purchased stock and made deposits in the bank totaling $23.5 million, most of which has since been lost following the bank’s insolvency. The bank, headed by now finance minister Washington Misick, lasted less than three years and cost 4,000 depositors most of their life savings.
It also left mortgage holders to seek new mortgages from other local banks.
Cooke reportedly also transferred millions more into another small local bank, which then loaned $19 million to former PNP deputy premier Floyd Hall to complete his Lucuyan Condos in Providenciales. This project now sits incomplete.
It is believed that millions more sponsored the ill-fated Middle Caicos West deal by means of transfers and loans.
Cooke is now well known for an interview conducted by PTV, which is being repeated daily. In the interview, Cooke does not recall the amount he transferred and seems to lay the blame for the NIB losses on the interim government, which did not come into being until well after he made the transfers.
He goes on in the interview to report that the PNP government predicted an equilibrium point would be reached when income to the fund would cover benefit payments. Cooke was seen as predicting a loss of development and an increase in workers’ 8 percent income contribution to finance the PNP projects from the public's pockets.