Michael Misick claims ‘political lynching’
The Britain-based prosecution team that has been investigating claims of corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands since 2009 has issued an arrest warrant for former territory Premier Michael Misick.
According to a statement released earlier this week by Turks and Caicos Governor Ric Todd, an arrest warrant was obtained and a ‘red notice’ authorised by Interpol for Mr. Misick.
“For the past several months, the Special Investigations and Prosecution Team has sought to secure the attendance of Mr. Misick at its offices in Providenciales in respect of allegations of corruption and money laundering during his time in office,” a statement from Governor Todd’s office read. “Every opportunity has been given to Mr. Misick to voluntarily surrender to the [prosecution team’s] jurisdiction for interview.
“Despite previous indications from Mr. Misick’s solicitors that he would attend for interview, he has failed to do so.”
Former Premier Misick is among at least 10 people who have been accused in connection with the corruption investigation in Turks, which has alleged – among other things – that members of government directly profited from the doling out of public sector contracts. Charges filed against nine individuals in connection with the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team’s probe have not been specified.
On Monday, Mr. Misick answered the news of the arrest warrant by vowing to seek “political asylum in a third country” and not return to the Turks and Caicos Islands. “I am convinced that this whole persecution is because of my views and firm plan to move our country towards independence,” Mr. Misick said in a statement sent to several media organisations in the Caribbean.
“There is no way that I, or any of the persons that have been accused by [Special Prosecutor] Helen Garlick and her team, can get a fair trial,” Mr. Misick said. “The British government, aided by two governors, Gordon Wetherell and now Ric Todd, [has] abolished our fundamental right to jury trial.”
Mr. Misick further alleged that certain laws and rules within Turks have been changed in recent years by Britain to “ensure convictions” in the special prosecution team’s case.
“This is a complete set up for a modern-day John Crow political lynching,” he said. “I will not be part of that.”
Presumably, the former premier was referring to the Jim Crow laws of the United States, enacted between the late 1870s and the mid-1960s, which mandated racial segregation in all public facilities in the former Confederate States of America. The laws were often referred to as the “separate but equal” doctrine for Americans of African descent and those of European descent.
Last week, Turks Governor Todd was having none of it from Mr. Misick.
“The hypocrisy of Michael Misick in calling into question the morality of anyone clearly knows no bounds,” Mr. Todd said in a statement sent by his office last Thursday. “[A 2009 commission of inquiry report] listed in tremendous detail the probability of systemic corruption in the government and legislature of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“These matters are now the subject of a criminal investigation by the Special Investigations and Prosecution Team. Mr. Misick should return to these Islands as soon as possible to face the questions that the [team] has for them.”