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UK Slammed For Turks And Caicos Intervention

by Phillip Morton, Investors

11 October 2010

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) – the organization encompassing Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago – has released a statement noting its "great concern" that the British government has decided to postpone general elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands indefinitely.

CARICOM stated:

“This decision will result in the continuation of the imposition of direct rule from London for an undetermined period and, consequently, in a delay in the return to constitutional government.”

“This recent disquieting development reinforces the view of the Caribbean Community that the imposition of direct rule is totally at odds with the development of good governance, including improved fiscal and administrative management, in the Turks and Caicos Islands – the professed aim of the policy of the British government.”

“That objective cannot be met by the continued disenfranchisement of the Turks and Caicos Islanders, by the denial of their inalienable right to shape their own future nor by the artificial widening of the voter base. Good political and fiscal governance cannot be handed down. Its nature and contours have to be moulded by the people of the territory.”

“The Caribbean Community therefore once again calls for direct rule to be replaced by self rule and for a return to democracy for the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, an Associate Member of the Caribbean Community.”

The United Kingdom, in August 2009, decided to intervene on the back of reports warning of systemic corruption in the islands, a decision that was also denounced by CARICOM at the time as an attempt to 'recolonize' the islands.

The British government’s intervention on the matter followed the commissioned report of Robin Auld, who, after an inquiry, reported that there was a ‘high probability of systemic corruption’, underscoring in particular that its Premier, Michael Misick’s spending habits far exceeded his means. He resigned in March, acknowledging no wrongdoings. It is alleged that Misick facilitated the sale of crown land to private developers at preferential rates.

At the time, the UK government said its imposed rule could last up to two years. Prior to the UK government's latest announcement, elections were scheduled for July 2011.

TAGS: Haiti | Suriname | tax | investment | Bahamas | Montserrat | law | international financial centres (IFC) | Belize | Grenada | Jamaica | Turks and Caicos Islands | United Kingdom | enforcement | offshore | Antigua and Barbuda | Dominica | Guyana | Barbados

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