Monday, August 03, 2009

The Empire Strikes Back in the Turks & Caicos

I wonder if THIS threatens to become a big story during August. Apparently Britain is imposing direct rule on the Turks & Caicos islands and suspending its constitution. Last week, the former PM of the Turks & Caicos, Michael Misick launched a legal challenge to the government's decision. It has all arisen after a corruption investigation revealed "a high probability of systemic corruption and/or serious dishonesty". Wikileaks reports...
The report found "clear signs of political amorality and immaturity, and of general administrative incompetence" and recommended criminal investigations be launched against Mr Misick and four other ministers.
Mr Misick, who the report suggests built up a multimillion-dollar fortune between his election in 2003 and resignation in March, is at the centre of corruption allegations. The inquiry heard repeated claims that he and other ministers sold off Crown Land to property developers for personal gain.
Hearings were told of lavish spending by Mr Misick, including a luxury beachfront mansion, the use of private jets and a leased Rolls-Royce for his estranged wife, the hip hop music star and Hollywood actress LisaRaye McCoy-Misick. Mrs McCoy-Misick has since filed for divorce, citing her husband's infidelity with a stripper and his support for a second family in Miami.
Full details of the corruption claims emerged last week after the inquiry's report was accidentally published. The Auld commission published a censored copy of its report after two businessmen who featured prominently sought legal injunctions to prevent it naming them. However, the islands' chief justice revoked the ban preventing reporting of the full findings after it became clear that visitors to the website of the islands' Governor, Gordon Wetherell, were able to decipher material that had been inadequately blacked out.
Mr Misick, who denies any wrongdoing, is trying to fight back. During a stormy debate in the islands' parliament last month he condemned the Governor as a "racist dictator" and called for national unity "to fight the British common enemy".

Politicians on the islands are furious as they said they warned former Foreign Office Minister Meg Munn what was happening some time ago, but they were ignored.
Something tells me this is going to make the headlines soon.


UPDATE 12 noon: Meg Munn has been in touch by email. "I have seen your post this morning about the Turks & Caicos Islands. I had also seen in press reports in Turks and Caicos that politicians on the islands are saying that they warned me of there (sic) concerns when I was a Foreign Office Minister. This is not the case."

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36 comments:

Tachybaptus said...

Sounds much like our own government. But who's going to take us over?

Brian E. said...

Its against Labour instincts to do anything, mainly because they don't believe in colonies. There is also the problem that most of them would be unable to see that Michael Misick was doing wrong, more likely they would be admiring him and wishing that they could have done the same.

Hitchy said...

errr...it already has made the headlines. It's certainly been reported in The Times and the FT a number of times over the last month. Can't speak for any of the lesser papers as I don;t read them.

Uncle Bob said...

Pardon my ignorance but where exactly is the Turks & Caicos islands? And as much as seeing our Empire returned to it's former glory (80% of the world's population, the sun never setting, etc.) do we really think it's such a wise course of action in the 21st century? Though if we are going to return to the glory days of empire, shall we make sure those bloody colonials over the atlantic get it first. They still owe us for all that tea!

Anonymous said...

The appeal, set to be heard in the High Court next month, also challenges a move by the Foreign Office to suspend trials by jury.

Pardon??? Suspend trial by jury? When wil lthey try this here?

Demetrius said...

Oh really? I posted on this on Tuesday 28th July 2009, under the heading of "Your tax break is my tax increase", even then it had been around a for days.

Gallimaufry said...

Can't we have direct rule by the Turks & Caicos Islands instead to root out our troughing MPs and public servants working with a common purpose to surrender England to the EUSSR?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

All these shitty little former Colonies are going down the pan, because they have decided to revert to a cultural evolutionary cycle that existed before Grand Britannia invaded them.

The same happened when the Romans left Britain. T&C is not the only one..

I did a piece on the "Bainimarama Republic" (on Fiji)a while back; the usual thing, a megalomaniac with pretensions takes over, gets a lavish lifestyle and dresses in military uniform -

"perhaps Bainimarama fears a combined canoe attack from Tuvalu and Kiribati"

observed Samoa's Prime Minister.

http://wrinkledweasel.blogspot.com/2009/03/another-former-colony-goes-rotten.html

Anonymous said...

This isn 't a new story. The crooks buying the land are Jewish and so the story was censored. A bit the like the story of the five rabbis charged with money laundering and sale of illegal body parts in New York.

Anonymous said...

This story has been brewing for months and was first reported in the Sunday Times back in April.

Archbishop Cranmer said...

The UK imposed a Christian constitution on the Cayman Islands back in June.

Is it not ironic, at a time when the Government of the Motherland is renouncing and undermining the very faith which ‘shaped our history and made us what we are’, and which has had an ‘enduring influence’ and made an irrefutable contribution ‘in shaping the spiritual, moral and social values that have guided our development and brought peace, prosperity and stability to those islands’, that this very same Government sees fit to bequeath to one of the last British colonies a God-fearing preamble to its constitution?

Mr Eugenides said...

In fact, the story has been going since at least March.

trevorsden said...

T & C are between Cuba and Florida 'somewhere'. Pretty barren apart from glorious beaches (not that I saw much of the beaches as I was working.

Can we get rid of the anonymous anti semites on this blog?

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of money in the T&C, money that the UK Treasury could do with?

Anonymous said...

T&C are just south of the Bahamas

Anonymous said...

With any luck, the UK Government will take a look at Bermuda next, which is rapidly turning into quite the cesspool of corruption.

John Headly said...

HERE is what's new:

https://secure.wikileaks.org/wiki/Talk:Turks_and_Caicos_former_PM_to_fight_British_rule

The British Government in an extremely unusual move, have derogated Article 3 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. Recently the High Court in London dismissed former Premier Michael Misick's attempt to seek an order preventing the British from suspending the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a British Overseas Territory. If the Appeal is lost, the People of Turks and Caicos Islands will be deprived of their most fundamental rights, including the freedom to elect and to be elected and the right to trial by jury.

On the 30th of April, one day before the High Court judgment was announced, the British government decared that the UK will no longer adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to free elections. The developments appeared in the following order:

On 25 March 2009 the UK government laid before Parliament an Order in Council partly suspending the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Among other matters, the Order dissolves the Turks & Caicos Islands parliament, the House of Assembly, and all members of it have to vacate their seats.

An application was made by Michael Misick to the High Court of England and Wales for leave to challenge the Order. One of the grounds is that the High Court application of the Order in Council is inconsistent with Article 3 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights—which applies to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Article 3 guarantees the right to hold free elections under conditions which will ensure the free expression of opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature. The effect of the Order in Council is that the people of Turks and Caicos can no longer elect their own representatives to their own Parliament and hold them to account accordingly. Instead, the governance of the island will be in the hands of civil servants, probably from the UK.
In between the case being heard and judgment being given, the UK government derogated from Article 3. This highly unusual action is allowed by the Convention but only "in time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation" (Article 15 European Convention on Human Rights and Article 5 of the First Protocol). Furthermore, the derogation is only permissible “to the extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation” and must be consistent with the UK’s other obligations under international law.

The High Court refused Mr Misick's application for leave. Mr Misick is now appealing and is due to be heard in August. He is also considering whether to challenge validity of the derogation...

andrewha said...

There is an additional piquant ingredient to this story Iain.

LisaRaye (yes, that's how she spells it) the soon-to-be ex-wife of the Premier of the Turks & Caicos is just about to appear in her own reality series in the US. She is divorcing him currently.

Before marrying the Premier, LisaRaye was best known as 'video vixen' in the US. Just in case you're not familiar with this term, Iain, it's lady - normally voluptuous in shape - who appears in the background of hip-hop & RnB videos normally dressed in a bikini or variation thereof.

Brick said...

I can think of several UK government ministers who entered government as people of modest means (if not egos) and left some years later with multi- million fortunes - often in property

DominicJ said...

The Empire Strikes back?

We havent liberated the Falklands again, we've tried to disband a government.

Who cares?
I doubt 99.99% of English people have even heard of the islands.

Elby the Beserk said...

"clear signs of political amorality and immaturity, and of general administrative incompetence"

Pretty good description of our "government", it would seem to be. Alongside its members with taxpayer funded property portfolios.

Bardirect said...

Have you quoted her accurately or did she really write of "there concerns"?

Thomas Rossetti said...

As I don't know much about the Turks & Caicos, I shall just point out a spelling error:

Meg Munn: "...are saying that they warned me of there concerns when I was a Foreign Office Minister.

This should be "...their concerns..."

Desperate Dan said...

I thought this came up in a corruption trial featuring Tony Rezko and Stuart Levine in April 2008.

Anonymous said...

"...political amorality and immaturity, and of general administrative incompetence..."

Doesn't that sound like Gordo's mob?

Havocman said...

Always nice to see a government minister that can't spell.

Off topic but what's the story behind your Twitter avatar, Iain? Looks really odd to my eyes!

Jimmy Sands said...

Munn's statement is absolutely extraordinary. The submissions made to London are a matter of public record. Munn told the Foreign Affairs Committee in March 2008 that she took the view there was insufficient evidence to hold an inquiry, a view for which she was roundly criticised by the Committee who urged her subsequently in a private meeting to relent. She was plainly asleep at the switch and had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the Committee who did an excellent job of holding her feet to the fire. There's a reason she is no longer in government. I am astonished that she has the nerve to make this claim.

Iain Dale said...

Havocman, it was a cartoon Martin Rowson did of me for my 40th birthday, commissioned by my staff at Politico's!

Havocman said...

Iain at 4.24pm

"it was a cartoon Martin Rowson did of me for my 40th birthday, commissioned by my staff at Politico's!"

All becomes clear. Thanks Iain.

Anonymous said...

The people of TCI are not happy that they will not be having an election for about 2 years. They feel as though this is colonalism at it's best.

And regardless if people in the UK don't know where it is on a map it is still an overseas terriory that we have a responsibility for.

Jimmy Sands said...

"The people of TCI are not happy that they will not be having an election for about 2 years."

They told you that did they?

Anonymous said...

In response to Jimmy Sands - I was in TCI a few weeks ago and it was all that people wanted to talk to me about. This was belongers and non belongers alike.

Jimmy Sands said...

And they told you they were unhappy about not having an election did they?

Bollocks.

Rich T said...

Its rubbish. The islands are already under British rule. And all Her Majesty in Council need do is to revoke the constitution. Which she has full power to do. And its game over for anyone who holds office thereunder. As for the ECHR point it was decided in Quark Fisheries by the Law Lords that the HRA does not apply in these pink little specks of Empire.

Russ Williams said...

@Uncle Bob:

The T&C islands are in the Caribbean at the end of the Bahama chain.

The capital is on Grand Turk, but most of the tourism goes to the island of Providenciales, which has rather fantastic beaches around Grace Bay. Good SCUBA diving as there's a deep channel between the two, so lots of variety.

(I'd rather be living in the Turks and Caicos islands than the Home Counties...)

Anonymous said...

I am writing from the TCI. Most are happy that the Brits will be taking over for at least two years, most wish it would be 4 to 6 years. There are only 7500 voters and so it is easy to buy an election for a few $million and control a few $billion in land.

It is more complex than a left-right thing. Most of the thinking folks worry about Ashcroft gaining prominence if the conservatives gain power. He has been in the thick of things.

Why did he not raise the alarm that the FAC did about the climate of fear here......because his tentacles are everywhere here via Belize Bank (now renamed British Caribbean Bank)......

God Help Us.