Turks and Caicos Islanders expecting Indicments

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Indictments of the embattled former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Michael Misick and his cabinet colleagues Lillian Boyce, Floyd Hall, McAllister Hanchell, and Jeffrey Hall along with unknown others are eagerly anticipated by some residents in the TCI.

Prosecutor Helen Garlick has been granted the green light to increase funding to over 500 thousand dollars per month to pursue her targets by the interim administration lead by Governor Gordon Wetherell. Mrs. Garlick is said to be returning to the Turks and Caicos Islands this week with a view of ramping up the investigations into criminal corruption ahead of a UK General Election, which is expected on May 6th. The famous London prosecutor who was set aside from a probe into much higher level corruption, possibly, at the highest office in the UK, is seeking to catch a number of local politicians and developers in the proverbial dragnet.

The Turks and Caicos Islands has featured heavily in the UK election debate with conservative Lord Ashcroft coming under stinging attacks from all of the Labor elite. Recently, David Clelland MP, chair of the All party group on Turks and Caicos Islands raised the issue of the British Direct rule in the territory with the Foreign Affairs Minister Chris Bryant, stating that the UK had made some mistakes in the Territory most notably with the uncertainty created by the numerous times the territories constitution has been changed, altered or suspended in the last 50 years. The Turks and Caicos Islands is currently under Direct British rule.

It appears that Hon. Doug Parnell, leader of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) prompted MP Clelland into action with a visit to the UK in early January where the party leader and his chairman Mr. Samuel Harvey met with the TCI All party group and encouraged them to keep the TCI in the forefront of the UK parliament. In an email sent around to top party brass showing a link to the video of the debate amongst the UK Labor MP’s Parnell is noted as saying “it looks like he is staying true to his promise”. The party leader also took issue with the statement regarding Belongership made by Chris Bryant when answering David Clelland’s question.

In a press conference on March 24th in his party headquarters, Parnell called for a freeze on all issuance of Belongership status until and elected Government can put a process in place that has the consent of the people. It is not known if Parnell intends to call for a referendum on the issue once his party puts new rules in place for the granting of Belongerships. Parnell also said that his party stands against corruption and rejected a statement by the PNP leader Galmo Williams comparing TCI to Hitler’s Germany. He also rejected the PNP leader’s calling for independence. Parnell has consistently shared the view that both the PNP and the British Government are wrong, calling them at one point “like two brothers who engaged in a plot”. The call for independence by the PNP is seen as a ploy by Turks and Caicos Islanders as a get out of jail free card for the former ministers.

The granting of Belongerships for cash, the issuance of crown land and the way contracts are awarded all seem to be areas of focus by the prosecutor Helen Garlick according to MP Chris Bryant who said Garlick was active and he could not comment on whether there is or is not an investigation currently into the largest contract of all, meaning the two hospitals built on Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Ironically, these were agreed and signed off by the UK secretary of state David Milliband under the Labor Government of the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. With this new move by MP Chris Bryant, the Gordon Brown Labor party is now turning publicly against decisions made by his predecessor Mr. Blair in the Overseas Territories. Mr. Blair visited the islands in November 2009 staying posh Parrot Cay for several days. The villa Mr. Blair is said to have stayed in fetches 15000 per night. The contracts are subject of much controversy in the TCI and the UK as most persons have been threatened with jail or a 5000 dollar fine if they do not pay into the National Health Insurance Scheme, which will pay for the services at the inflated Interhealth Canada run hospitals. Interhealth Canada was a prime benefactor of a number of lucrative PFI health contracts by the Tony Blair Labor Government. The whole Health Care renewal process was put in place by the former PNP government.

After they were removed from office the British Direct Rule Government enforced the provisions of the law against massive public outcry. The PDM party has been standing against the hospital project since its inception calling it at one time the upside down hospital. Seemingly, this very scheme is getting a lot of attention from Garlick and is now considered under criminal investigation to the delight of many frustrated islanders. First Caribbean International Bank is the local fronting or syndicate bank for a consortium of banks that contributed the funding of the hospitals. The hospitals are set to open on April 10th.

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