Don’t get Mum ruffled

When Mother speaks, you’d better listen.

That’s the lesson former Turks and Caicos Prime Minister Michael Misick had to learn the hard way.

Of course Mr. Misick would have us all believe that life in T&C was fine; that there was no government corruption, no maladministration and no incompetence in how the country was being run.

He’d tell you that the United Kingdom imposed direct rule on the T&C and partially suspended its constitution because those in the Mother Country have an axe to grind with Overseas Territories, particularly in relation to tax havens.

“I believe there is a more extensive plan to reel in the territories and get them to abandon their financial services, which is a major fabric of their economies,” Misick is on record as saying.

And while those may be the defensive words of a man thrown from the throne of his colony, there could be a ring of truth in them.

The UK doesn’t like having to compete with offshore jurisdictions – or tax havens as it is wont to call them. Offshore financial jurisdictions are in direct competition with the UK and specifically London.

Why wouldn’t it be in the best interest of the UK to make places like T&C and Cayman, for that matter, look unattractive to the global financial industry?

While the Observer on Sunday does see some problems that arose in Misick’s administration, some of the blame has to be put squarely on the shoulder of the constitution under which Misick and his cronies were operating.

The T&C Constitution is flawed.

Unfortunately the modernised Cayman Islands Constitution that was approved in May is pretty much word-for-word the T&C document.

But while the documents may not be perfect, there are men and women elected to uphold them and do the right thing.

A UK Foreign Office inquiry found that those in charge of running T&C weren’t doing the right thing – far from it.

One of the issues in T&C was that political donations were mingled with private and business funds of cabinet members. Misick obviously saw no political problems spending donated money on himself or his wife. His response: ‘You are obviously not a Caribbean politician’ was probably not the right one to make to a board of inquiry.

As Cayman takes on board its new constitution we have to be careful to dot our i’s and cross our t’s so as not to incur the wrath of our Mother Country.

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