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.