Editorial for 21 March: Call for TCI ‘independence’

The situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands as it stands,
at least to the best of the facts we have been provided, is downright scary.

For going on three years, the British government has been
investigating serious allegations of systemic corruption and abuse of public
office in connection with the former government of ex-Premier Michael Misick.
This investigation, in the view of some, may have been a bit late. Longtime
concerns about the downward spiral the TCI was in had been made public for many
years prior to the arrival of the UK’s Special Investigations and Prosecution
Team. The British may certainly be faulted for not moving swiftly enough to
impede the progress of such issues, but in the end, they did step in.

A number of people have been charged in connection with the
investigation and presumably there will be trials to follow. Again, this
investigation/trial process has taken much longer than many in the Turks and
Caicos Islands would have liked. But to us at least, this delay merely shows
how painful and lengthy these types of inquiries can be once deep-seated
corruption takes hold. 

A warrant for the arrest of Mr. Misick has been issued
because of what the British government says is his refusal to return to his
home to face questioning.

Mr. Misick’s response to this news is that he will seek
“political asylum” in some unnamed country and meanwhile – in the height of
irresponsible behaviour, in our view – calls upon his people to support a
sudden independence from the United Kingdom because of the “persecution” he and
other members of his former government are facing.

Whether the UK investigation is “persecution” or good
governance, the fact is there is no worse time to call for independence in the
TCI than now.

The Cayman Islands must take careful note of this sad
situation. One day, probably not soon by any means, but one day calls for
independence from the UK will be made from within this territory.

If and when that day comes, such a move must be made from
strength, not weakness. It must be made by a confident governance structure,
not political desperation.

 

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Editors,

    Please allow me to express my heartfelt opinions here.

    I’ve had a correspondent relationship with the Compass and the late Desmond Seales ever since I was fresh out of university; back then politically incorrect or unpopular opinions sometimes did not see the light of print, regardless of the truths those opinions expressed and exposed.

    I’ve had my disputes and arguments with the Compass’s editors in the past but always in a respectful and professional manner; one would have to understand that my background growing up in Jamaica exposed us to open journalism and intelligent criticism of govenment actions and authority.

    These are the foundations of a working democratic society.

    Caycompass has taken on the mantle of protector of the press in Cayman and that is gratifying to see, seeing that in the past, your editorial policies were not necessarily as strong as they might have been, or as they are today.

    Caycompass’s editors would be well aware of when the TCI success story started; one of Cayman’s staunchest citizens at the time, who I will not name, was one of the early pioneers and driving forces behind TCI’s initial development and many of Cayman’s earlier immigrant work force moved on to TCI when their tenure in Cayman was over.

    As one can see now, a weak press and no British oversight of the political situation over a period of years has led to this unfortunate situation in TCI.

    Caycompass’s warning here to Cayman is a bit muted imo, but nevertheless, very clear; I will more clear.

    Use the democratic institutions in the country to keep political authority and corruption in check, or suffer the same consequences as TCI.

    The Operations Tempura and Cealt in Cayman has come under a line of attack and criticism from many quarters, some legitimate and some, just an attempt to cover up their own secrets.

    Nevertheless, the actions that was taken by Governor Stuart Jack might very well have gone a long way to halting the rot in Cayman…

    Before it began to reach the critical levels that it has in the TCI.

    Thanks again, Caycompass

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  2. Firery, whilst I respect your opinions trying to compare Operations Tempura and Cealt with the on-going investigations in TCI is like comparing chalk and cheese.

    After the initial investigation failed to uncover any wrong-doing the Metropolitan Police backed out and handed the work over to two private companies who then went on to earn substantial amounts of money from CIG for effectively doing nothing. Their conduct also cost the people of the Cayman Islands substantial amounts in damages. Tempura/Cealt was an expensive fiasco.

    By contrast SIPT in TCI is apparently going to be fully FCO-funded and it is uncovering corruption.

    The conduct of Tempura/Cealt is now itself under investigation (whatever Duncan Taylor claims in public) and actually raises some very serious questions about whether the alleged corruption in the Cayman Islands was anything more than a convenient excuse for certain people to enjoy a lengthy, all-expenses paid vacation in the sunshine with the people of the Cayman Islands picking up the tab.

    In fact Tempura/Cealt probably created more rot than it uncovered by disrupting RCIPS operations and undermining police morale.

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  3. This is a timely editorial. Politicians who ignore the law when in power are unlikely to welcome its operation once they are caught and charged. If and when a Cayman politician is ever in the position of Mr. Misick, I suspect that we would also hear complaints of persecution and calls for independence rather than any willingness to accept a fair trial and abide by the rule of law. The Cayman public needs to be educated now in anticipation of that event.

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