17 March, 2009


A sad day for the British Overseas Territories. It is a sad day for all of us when the UK has to suspend the constitution of a British Overseas Territory such as Anguilla is. The Minister announced she was doing just that for the Turks and Caicos Islands in a written statement in Parliament yesterday. And, this modern constitution is barely two years old.

The Minister wrote in part:

I wish to inform the House that on 16 March 2009 the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) published the interim report of the Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Robin Auld (http://www.tci-inquiry.org/interim_report.html).

The Commissioner states that the written information obtained in the first six months of the Commission’s inquiries, when coupled with the evidence in the public hearings in TCI earlier this year, have provided information in abundance pointing to a high probability of systemic corruption or serious dishonesty. In his view this, together with “clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and of general administrative incompetence, have demonstrated a need for urgent suspension in whole or in part of the constitution and for other legislative and administrative reforms”, and change in other related matters.

In light of the accumulation of evidence in relation to TCI in the last year or so, and fortified by the Commissioner’s interim report, the Government have formed the view that parts of the constitution will need to be suspended and have decided to take steps to enable it to do so. I am today making available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website a draft Order in Council prepared by the FCO which would suspend parts of the constitution, including those relating to ministerial Government and the House of Assembly, initially for two years, although this period could be extended or shortened. The draft order will be submitted to Her Majesty in Council at a meeting on 18 March. If made, the order will be laid before Parliament on 25 March. Unless the Commissioner’s final report significantly changes our current assessment of the situation, the order will be brought into force after the final report is received. However, the order could be brought into force sooner if circumstances arose in the territory prior to that date which justified suspending relevant parts of the constitution. This intervention is for an interim period only.

We in Anguilla have to be thankful that there is no evidence here of the sort of widespread corruption that Sir Robin Auld uncovered in TCI. The principal difference between our two countries is that in Anguilla government has little or no Crown land to dispose of at personal profit to Ministers. In TCI, by comparison, most of the territory appears to have been made up of Crown land. They ploughed fertile furrows through the islands. The transcript of the evidence taken reveals the multitude of devices TCI politicians used to make money from dealing in the public’s land. Who knows where we in Anguilla would be today if we too had had large tracts of Crown land waiting to be disposed of?

What is it, by comparison, if our Ministers occasionally overrule the Planning Department and permit a favoured individual to build a restaurant or a beach bar on the public beach? They overrule the Planning Department for favourites in much more fundamental ways every week. They call it “being sensitive to the needs of the poor Anguillians”, and they get away with it in the eyes of trusting and gullible Anguillians.

What if the Minister is charmed by the young, attractive Dominicana into writing a personal letter addressed to one of the more vulnerable restaurateurs on the island, requesting him to give her a job without the work permit she so obviously requires? That is the Minister being sympathetic to the needs of poor Anguillians, isn’t it? Although, as one restaurant owner complained to me, “Why is it he never sends me young men, only young girls?” Anyway, as one Immigration official told me, “We stopped him doing that.”

What if the Ministers pad out the Boards of statutory corporations with political supporters and hangers on? They all need a job, don’t they? This is being sensitive to the needs of poor Anguillians. As if turning the Board of the Health Authority of Anguilla into a virtual sub-committee of the local Masonic Lodge is somehow a shining example of transparency and accountability! In my opinion, it is exactly the opposite to being sensitive to the needs of poor Anguillians.

So what if there is no binding Code of Conduct for Ministers. They had one in the TCI, and, as it was purely voluntary, it did not help one bit.

So what if we in Anguilla have no Integrity Commission. They had one in the TCI, and, as it had no teeth, it did not help one bit.

So what if the Chief Auditor has given our public accounts a failing grade year after year? Not even the Opposition in the House of Assembly has ever asked a single question about the misspending revealed.

Inappropriate interference in and by-passing of statutory regulatory bodies has, over the years, become the norm. The granting of exemptions, waivers and discounts in the areas of aliens landholding licence fees, customs duties, Environmental Impact Assessments, permanent residence certificates, and belongerships, are counted by all politicians in Anguilla as essential perquisites of power. The unconstrained freedom, without reference to any principle or policy, to decide when to grant and when to revoke work permits, licences, public works contracts, and franchises and monopoly concessions, adds the icing to the cake. As my Dominican friend likes to tell me, “In Anguilla, once you have the right godfather, you can do anything.”

No party when in opposition wants to change the political culture. They only want to be the ones enjoying the privileges and perks of power. No one cares that all this is equally evidence of our political amorality and immaturity, and of our general administrative incompetence.

So long as our people permit our leaders to continue to exercise power over us, with no checks or balances other than the vote every five years, things can only go from bad to worse.


  1. Again, it is the *existence* of all these regulatory bodies that is the problem. If they weren't there in the first place, they wouldn't be stuffed with cronies.

    The only class I ever took in Sociology was a course on Criminology. The text book, such as it was, was a book by a criminologist who studied a well-known northwest US city in the late 1950's to middle 1960's. At that time, and like most major American cities today, there were so many rules, regulations, boards, inspectors, ordinances and so on that *everybody* was breaking the law somehow, especially if they ran a business. If the police took a shine to you for any reason, they concoct a reason to run you in -- unless you paid them on the spot not to. This ran all they way up to the top of city government.

    Anguilla risks its soul if it passes too many laws, rules, and regulations, all of which would be subject to arbitrary and capricious enforcement. TCI is merely a harbinger of things to come if that happens.

    The UK, even now, is still taking an axe to its old socialist regulatory regime. Even India, where "non-aligned" merely meant economic Stalinism without the Gulag, has turned away from the kind of bureaucratic kudzu that almost destroyed it. Same, too, with New Zealand.

    And yet in Anguilla, the Red Tape Raj is alive and well, and now threatening the economic, and, maybe later, the personal liberty of its citizens.

    To borrow your phrase, Don, I fear for Anguilla's children. ;-).

  2. Don,
    I agree with you. The Health Authority of Anguilla Board is not only a subcommittee of Masonic Lodge, it is also the Minister of Health's Friendship Club. He selected them as his puppets to able to manipulate them as he wishes with total disregard to real meaning of Statutory Body. He did that to be able to tell them what to do for political gain. That is the reason why the previous Board was frustrated by the Minister of Health when he came to power and forced its members to resign.

    Little did he know that by so doing, he was going to bring the Authority to its knees. Currently, most of them don't have any notion about what is going on in the Organization as a whole. We the patients are those who would suffer the consequences of our minister's decisions.

    God Bless the Health System of Anguilla

  3. This article was send to me by a friend. You may want to take a look at it.


  4. Mr.Mitchell,

    I came across this headline in a business report:


    This report hits the nail on the head. There is a "high probability" that the British are not so much concerned with "corruption" as they are with closing down the Tax Havens in Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos and The British Virgin Islands.

    Even though the business in these territories is legitimate, those avoiding taxation are depriving the British Government of needed revenue.

    Another benefit is that closing down the offshore financial service industries in these territories would bring them to their economic knees, because a large part of their economy is built on the financial service industry.

    The British have such a flare for the admirable art of killing six birds with one stone!

  5. The above poster spouts the tired, anti-British hatred popularised by Hubert and the pro-independence fanatics. "Vote for us and we will save you." It's childish.

    The British do not need the excuse of corruption to close down tax havens. All they need to do is end the secrecy that protects offshore clients. And things are moving rapidly in that direction, not just in TCI but BVI, Cayman, Bermuda and Anguilla.

    And by the way, the British are cooperating but this is primarily an American initiative.

  6. The Turks and Caicos Islands islands are included in a list of 37 “suspect jurisdictions” in the United States' Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, supported by President Obama. Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, has ordered a review of the regulation of bank accounts in tax havens including the Turks and Caicos amid concern at the risk to British taxpayers.

    From The Times
    March 16, 2009

    This smells a bit like a cynical attack on tax havens if you ask me. If you're in the business of collecting taxes it doesn't do to have convenient places for people to escape to. Watch out Isle of Man, you could be next.


    I just hope that the Great British Justice system doesn't fail to prosecute any wrong doing. They've failed back at home but maybe, just maybe, they might, for once, make sure that this man goes to prison IF any illegal irregularaties are found.


    Turks and Caicos is a tax haven. Gordon Brown has promised to clamp down on all countries that are tax havens and he has started in his backyard. This is an opportunistic move to suspend the Turks and Caicos' democratic right and this challenges democracy to the core.

    From The Gleaner Newspaper


    Are these all" childish ,tired, anti-British hatred popularised by Hubert and the pro-independence fanatics" ?

  7. No, these statements are not all childish. Oliver Clarke's editorial in The Gleaner is a shockingly ignorant statement by a man I've always looked up to as one of the finest journalists in the Caribbean.

  8. Oliver Clarke, "Lubber-lips", as his school friends called him as a boy, is, like all Jamaican opinion-makers completely out of touch with the real West Indies. But, like his father, Custos of Westmoreland before him, he keeps making the right political sounds to secure his position of influence in Jamaica. His aunt was Edith Clarke who wrote the seminal study, "My Mother who Fathered Me." His comments on Anguilla are designed to demonstrate his "Jamaicanness", not to be taken seriously.

  9. TCI Journal
    22 March 2009


    Attempts to Rally Regional Support

    The attempts to rally regional support for the dying Michael Misick government are not succeeding. In an odd twist, those who do express some support for Michael Misick are instead being examined for how they may be involved in his web of corruption.

    As early as Monday evening, soon after the Address to the nation by Governor Wetherell announcing the intention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to begin cleaning up the massive and devastating corruption within the Turks and Caicos Islands, Gilley Williams was on nationwide Jamaican radio attempting to paint the FCO's actions as colonialism.

    In the last few days Michael Misick and three of his Ministers have traveled to the Bahamas, once again attempting to rally regional support for themselves and attempting to paint Britain's corrective actions as colonialism.

    Fortunately for the people of the Turks and Caicos, this effort is not succeeding.

    Mainly due to the fact that the regional and especially Bahamian press has done a very good job in closely following the exploits of our Premier, who among other things can no longer travel to the United States for fear of being arrested, his actions are gaining little or no traction.

    The Bahamian minister who was best man at Michael Misick's wedding, PLP MP Obie ‘SNITCH’ Wilchcombe, is forever having his name linked to "the corrupt Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands".

    It is true that The Jamaican Gleaner newspaper carried an editorial on Wednesday bemoaning the actions of Britain, but that has to be considered in the context of the Gleaner coming to the support of wealthy and politically connected Jamaicans who are intimately involved with the corruption within the Turks and Caicos Islands.

    Delroy Howell, Butch Stewart & his son, and David Smith are all wealthy Jamaicans who have considerable pull with Jamaican politicians and media. They are all also heavily involved with Michael Misick, his ministers, and their exploits.

    Delroy Howell's involvement with Southern Health Network and the suspect Hospitals construction scheme, along with Turks and Caicos House of Assembly member Floyd Hall's involvement with Howell's purchase, and pending additional purchases of hotels in Jamaica, are not minor issues but involve tens of millions of dollars. And in the case of the suspect Hospitals scheme, over $100 million dollars. Credible reports of Floyd Hall's and Delroy Howell's preparations for acquiring Casino licenses in Jamaica for their hotels only adds to the web of political intrigue existing between Jamaican and Turks and Caicos politicians.

    Sadly for the people of Jamaica, the Gleaner's editorial reflects more on the nature of The Gleaner's political ties and the state of the media in Jamaica than it does on Britain or the Turks and Caicos Islands.

    When Bermudian Premier Dr. Ewart Brown recently expressed some sympathy for Michael Misick, the blogs and media in Bermuda made it a point to remind the world that Dr. Ewart Brown faces significant accusations of corruption and intimidation at home in Bermuda, and is in fact sometimes referred to as being a Bermudian Michael Misick. Rather than assisting Misick attempt to evade his inevitable reckoning with the law, Dr. Brown succeeded only in reminding everyone of his own issues at home.

    Yes, there does seem to be the evidence of a budding political maturity among the people of the Caribbean in their struggle against corrupt political parties and want-do-be dictators.

    Let us, the people of the Turks and Caicos help our Caribbean brothers and sisters, struggling with their own situations, by succeeding in holding our corrupt politicians accountable. It can only add to the success of efforts to foster freedom elsewhere in the Caribbean.


    PNP leader Galmo Williams says he will “do whatever it takes” to halt Britain’s plans to axe the TCI Government and seize control of the country.

    The former Home Affairs Minister – elected to the top spot by a landslide vote last month – said he was “deeply disturbed” by the imminent removal of the Cabinet and suspension of the constitution.

    At a Press conference on Wednesday, he urged Islanders on both sides of the political fence to unite in a bid to stave off the “breach of democracy”.

    Mr Williams is now poised to meet with leaders across the region to garner support for his crusade.

    And he is not stopping there. He told media he was prepared to jet to London to express his “disappointment” at the UK’s hardline stance following the recent corruption probe.

    “I intend to meet with the Governor and representatives throughout the region. I will go everywhere to make our feelings heard.”

    “The right to representative government and the right to be tried by jury of your fellow citizens are two of the most basic principles of a modern democracy,” he stormed.

    “It is shameful that the UK, being a nation that speaks volumes about human rights around the world, would seek to deny that same right to its citizens here in the TCI in the 21st century.

    “Nowhere else in this region has this ever happened before. Simply put, it is wrong.”

    He said he “totally disagreed” with proposals to draft a new constitution and that independence should be the ultimate goal of “every sound thinking Islander”.

    The former Minister, who sensationally quit his post last month citing a lack of confidence in Premier Michael Misick’s leadership, urged Islanders to join forces.

    “Now is the time to stop casting blame and join together, regardless of Party affiliations, and fight for the rights of all of our citizens. We must unite.

    “We must focus our energies on the issues we face as a result of the recommendations made by the Commission in order to ensure that our rights and freedoms are not infringed upon by our colonial masters.

    “I am committed to serving my country and I call on all TC Islanders from all walks of life to support me as we continue to work together for the good of this, our beloved country.”

    (Shortened version) From Turks and Caicos Weekly News

  11. "Gilly, who has presided over a labour ministry that has allowed hundreds of workers to be imported by Beaches [resort], and thousands more by the construction industry, at the same time our citizen unemployment rate is well above 25%, thinks he has the ability to lead our country out of this mess?

    "Gilly knows well that tens of millions of dollars have been made by Members of the House of Assembly of both parties and their developer friends, from the importation of slave like labour, at the expense of our people and our society. Especially in this area, Gilly needs to realize that his hands are not clean."
    --Shaun Malcolm

  12. It was just reported in our local paper (Florida Today) that Misick has resigned a few days earlier than announced. He was described as the "Jet-setting Premier" of TCI. I think Mugabe has a few vacancies......... - Scotty



    Hon. Dr. Michael Misick was expected to resign March 31st, but has resigned March 23rd. New PNP leader Hon. Galmo Williams has been sworn in by the Governor as the New Premier.

    The PNP party have launched a national campaign to have as many signatures as possible to a petition outlining their disagreement with some of the recommendations of the interim report of the Commission of Inquiry, by Sir Robin Auld. The party has pledged to do all it can to save their constitution and the right to govern themselves.

    Turks and Caicos Islanders are not pleased with a recommendation by the Commission of Inquiry and the British Government that would allow long-term residents, who are not citizens of this country, to be able to vote in general elections. Premier Hon. Dr. Michael E. Misick, new Progressive National Party (PNP) Leader Hon. Galmo Williams, PDM leader Hon. Floyd Seymour and former Chief Minister Oswald Skippings are among those who have joined with several members of the local community, who have expressed outrage at this recommendation which was contained in the Commission of Inquiry’s Interim Report.

    It would seem that OUR BRITISH COLONIAL MASTERS have overplayed their hands in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the people have found a unifying cause and a reason to fight back.

    It would seem that the British are using the allegations of corruption to seize the Island and impose new laws on the people which will effectively see them reduced to a voiceless minority in their own native land.

    As stated above, the British have a knack for killing two birds with one stone. In the case of the Turks and caicos Islands, “doctoring the voters list” or as the British calls it “extending the voting franchise” is probably one bird too many!

    Concerned Anguillian

  14. Michael Misick is widely believed by the people of the TCI to be the greatest criminal their islands have ever seen. He and his criminal conspirators are facing the possibility of many years in prison. It is both revealing and worrisome that the proponents of Anguillian Independence are taking his side in trying to place all the blame on the British, who have finally have enough and are enforcing the law and the constitution.

  15. I do not believe that there is anyone in the entire world and certainly not in Anguilla who is” taking Micheal Misick's side".

    If Micheal Misick did anything illegal he should go to jail.

    I like your expression "the British who have finally have enough". Have the Governor, the Deputy Governor and the Attorney General been granted immunity, or will they be charged with dereliction of duty?

    It is both "revealing and worrisome" that persons who should know better think that it is all right for the British to” flog all the slaves, because one slave ran away.”

    The last quotation is that of a Turks and Caicos Islander.


    Britain was on Wednesday laying before the parliament in London, an order to suspend the cabinet and legislature in the Turks and Caicos Islands, following an official probe there into alleged corruption.

    But the territory's new premier who took over on Tuesday and whose term will be cut short as soon as London suspends the territory's constitution, was wasting no time trying to deal with matters he said were important for the islands.

    Premier Galmo Williams said in an address to the nation that although the House of Assembly stands prorogued until April 1 (2009), he wanted it reconvened immediately to ensure that the country's business can move forward.

    Mr Williams said he would utilise the expertise of the financial professionals the British Government has assigned to the Turks and Caicos Ministry of Finance to introduce a fiscal stabilisation plan.

    Regional grouping Caricom has issued a statement criticising Britain's decision on the territory.

    The organisation says it threatens the territory's democracy.

    (From Today's BBC Caribbean Report)
    March 25, 2009

  17. To Concerned Anguillian:

    re: rights of long-term residents (without the Born Here degree)to vote

    Are you saying that only those born on Anguilla should be allowed to vote? Please know that there are long-term residents unfortunate to be born elsewhere who love and consider Anguilla "home." Not all "aliens" are concerned only with raping the country and closing the beaches to the "natives." Some of our "native-born" Anguillians are the ones that are willing to destroy the country in order to pad their own pockets.

  18. above Anonymous: It's about damn time that someone speaks about that which is the truth! Be careful, for many wear blinders and refuse to come out of the tunnel. Problem is, the light at the end of the subterranean passage signifies those that are false prophets. Stay out of the tunnel and encourage others to remove their sunglasses. - Scotty


    …..foreign nationals are not allowed to vote in national Parliamentary elections in all but two or three countries in the world.


    "Under no circumstances will the Government permit foreign nationals to vote in Gibraltar elections or referendums."

    PANARAMA-Gibraltar online daily

    The issue of foreign nationals voting in an election is very topical.

    Not only is it a point of discussion in Gibraltar and the other overseas territories, it is also a raging issue in Antigua following the recent general election.

    It is incorrect to say that you have to be born in Anguilla in order to vote.

    Mr.Mitchell can vote and he was not born in Anguilla!

  20. Mr. Mitchell, this is supposed to be a serious blog, not a play school for people who don't know the difference between a person's nationality and their place of birth.

  21. I was not born in Anguilla.I am an Anguilla belonger.I do not live in Anguilla. Can I vote?


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