Turks and Caicos Islands
Commission of Inquiry. The inquiry ordered by the Foreign Affairs Committee into allegations of corruption in the TCI government is now into its third day. The Commissioner is the Rt Hon Sir Robin Auld. The counsel to the Commission who is questioning the witnesses is Alex Milne. The Commission's website contains all the relevant information. The transcripts are posted on the TCI Journal. The transcripts are long, but make gripping reading, if you have a few hours to spare.
I read the transcript of the evidence of Premier Michael Misick on day one [only click here if you want to have the entire 103 pages to come down in .pdf format].
I read the transcript of the continuation of his evidence on day two [189 pages of transcript].
I read the transcript of the continuation of his evidence on day three [192 pages].
I read the views of several TCI commentators. They are all spitting mad with the behaviour of their Premier.
Perhaps two of the best commentaries were written on 16 January. The first is by Diana de Gara. It is an accurate analysis and summary of what we have learned from Premier Misick on day two of his testimony about his own personal finances. The second is by Shaun Malcolm. For those who want a flavour of what has transpired up to now, but find it difficult to right click on a link and choose “Open Link in New Tab”, here is what they both write:
By Diana de Gara
If day 1 did not convince anyone, then day 2 really showed what Sir Robin and Alex Milne and company have been doing during those long continuances waiting for the Inquiry. They have been setting the traps and placing the nets for Michael Misick. So far he has not tripped on the pit with the sharpened bamboo stakes—maybe that is next.
After reading the second day’s transcript I have to say I can never call this man who is still the Premier, “Honorable”. Despicable, yes. Honorable, no.
To anyone who has read this transcript, even skimmed it, or read summaries, then there can be no mistake that our Premier has robbed us blind and is still at it as we speak.
He only owes about $23 million in loans for which he makes payments, he thinks. But he’s good for these loans because he has lots of assets he didn’t disclose at first. But, now he’s complied so he’s good to go in the honesty department.
$23 million owed. He claims many in the TCI owe more and that . When asked if this is common in the TCI he said it was.
He is amassing $5,433 a DAY in accrued interest. That is more than many TCI Belongers are making in a year right given unemployment. He is unfazed by the figure. That is about $2 million a year accruing in interest per year since he doesn’t pay down the loans.
What is more interesting is he doesn’t seem to have to make payments on these loans like the rest of us mere mortals.
The Premier does not find it odd that he does not have to conform to the contract terms either.
But, there is nothing suspect about that because everyone he owes money to knows he is good for it.
So, Mike, what if you wind up in one of those black and white striped suits dragging a ball and chain behind you…like in the game Monopoly? Will they still think you are good for it then?
Is it not odd that even with the Commission of Inquiry breathing down your neck and the populace polling to have you removed, that your creditors aren’t yet worried?
Maybe that is because they really were not loans, but payments for the deals you gave them? Is it possible that these deals which smell like bribes, look like bribes and act like bribes, are, well, bribes and not loans?
You owe J&T Banka (Salt Cay Development’s major investor—go to: http://www.jtfg.com/en/news-re-2046.html ) millions, yet you have no accounts with them. You applied for and got your Black American Express card with them. They make your payments and you pay them somehow. You think it is paid by a loan through a Lichtenstien group. Mario Hoffman of Salt Cay’s DevCo hooked you up with the J&T folks in
Surprise, they own DevCo too with Mario Hoffman. Isn’t that a coincidence while the Premier just happened to be visiting in
And then we have your ministers, Floyd Hall, Jeffrey Hall and Lillian Boyce, all humble government servants, lending you $150,000.0 by Floyd, and $100,000 from the other two. Where did they get that kind of money as government officials to lend you unsecured?
Was this money to buy or keep their jobs or the price of admission to your money laundry?
Did all of you loyal PNP supporters know that your hard earned contributions to support your party and activities, actually went to pay your “leader” a salary? He was supposed to be paid $10,000 a month. But since the party didn’t always have the money they paid him in lump sums when they did have it.
There aren’t any records that Mike knows of because if they gave them then the PDM would have to give theirs. And if they do have records they are locked in a room where only the pregnant, ill, out of the country Chairman (sic) has the key to the room. Sir Robin told them to get a locksmith pronto and get the records.
No leader has ever gotten a salary until he became leader and decided it was needed.
Apparently if he lives well off the PNP and his salary and looks rich, then the entire country and all its people are uplifted. It doesn’t matter that the people are unemployed, broke and living in tents in some places because there is money for hurricane relief. But they are uplifted none the less.
The Premier was asked if he ever spent say $600,000 in one month with his American Express. He couldn’t recall if he did or not. He did. And of course we have seen on the pages of the Journal in November that he and the ex-wife Lisa Ray can spend $350,000 in a month as well.
What can you spend that much money on? TCI first of course.
He apparently makes his payments in large lump sumps to the J&T Banka in
Need I say more?
Real Estate Sales
Apparently our premier is so good at managing his time and his real estate sales that he is able to do private sales outside his real estate firm. He and his good friend the Deputy Premier managed to help sell some land for a company by finding a willing buyer. This willing buyer then lent the Premier some money. Just a million or so.
And Rodney Propps did not sell him his land where his little house is built. Maybe Lord Ashcroft had Leeward Ltd when he bought it. It’s such a busy company he cannot be sure. And he is so busy he has no idea who sold it to him.
And then we have the open land he got an “option” on and then sold half of that option to some Italian billionaires that were not Belongers (yet?) and turned it into a partnership where he spent nothing for the land, and got $1.9 million for his “half”. He had no idea if they were Belongers or not even though this was a sale of
At least the Belongers are being uplifted by
When all is said and done after reading this it is clear that the Commission has the goods and the evidence on the Premier and his cronies. It is clear he is funneling money as fast as he can to
And, of course, it is clear that these
And how do we know this? Because today it came out that the Premier, with his Slovakian pal Mario Hoffman, owns 50% of the Salt Cay Development Company, again through his brother the shill/money mover, Chal Misick. And it has come out that he gave Mario Hoffman Crown land deals that stole the heritage and future of every Belonger on Salt Cay. Details to follow after reading Thursday’s transcripts.
Frankly, it would not surprise me in the least if the Premier took a private jet to someplace else before his testimony is complete. Probably someplace cold, where cabbage soup is a staple and they speak Slovakian dialects. Or you could go to
Premier, if you plan to flee to
By the way, leave some cash to pay your bills and the gates open to the palace when you go.
This is what Shaun Malcolm writes about day three of the Commission’s hearing:
By Shaun Malcolm
Day three of the hearings covered a lot of ground and gave us insights into the broad nature of the corruption under Michael Misick. There were maybe ten or more topics covered.
First Mr. Milne continued to cover some issues related to Michael's personal spending and income and then focused upon issues related to allegations of government corruption. He ended by looking at a couple of high profile development projects and showing blatant conflicts of interest. The news about Salt Cay in particular stunned those present at the hearing.
Mr. Milne followed up on yesterday's questioning about credit cards and how there was not any evidence as to where approximately $1 million of payments to one set of those cards came from.
Mr. Milne also inquired why the Commission could not find any evidence of where payments and loans made by Saunders and Co. to Michael were deposited. They were not deposited into any known or declared accounts. There seems to be circumstantial evidence of other hidden bank accounts. Michael claimed that the $275,000 "loan" from Saunders and Co. went directly to pay for a debt that had built up for jewelery purchases made at Royal Jewels. On most of these questions, Michael's answers continued to be vague and he answered in generalities.
However, a listener was able to get an insight into what Misick's defense will be on many of these accusations. Along with the infamous "cross-party culture", he repeatedly used the phrase of "collective responsibility" referring to his fellow cabinet members and the Governor.
On a personal level there was the issue of the PNP party paying over $100,000 to a hair stylist for Lisa-Raye, expenses charged during his honeymoon, nightclub visits to the "Funky Buddha" in
We learned for the first time that the land on which the Casablanca Casino, the one believed by most citizens to be related to Mario Hoffman, sits is owned by Michael Misick. Though he still claims not to have an ownership interest in the Casino itself.
On a governmental level we learned that the Tourist ministry, that he has headed since 2003, owes vendors millions of dollars and has regularly not adhered to its budget. Some vendors appear to be considering litigation against the
We learned that for the seven areas designated as parks on
We also learned that even though there are procedures for selecting scholarship recipients, according to an audit report, in over 130 cases Michael Misick intervened and approved scholarships without the selection committee looking at the case files. Michael was also questioned about the reports of certain educational institutions giving kick-backs to government members. Michael claimed that he had not heard of any such allegations.
I believe Mr. Milne is setting things up for when the Ministers of those departments testify to the Commission.
The most stunning news coming out of day three of the hearings however dealt with Salt Cay.
We learn that Mario Hoffman, the owner of Salt Cay DevCo, and Michael Misick know each other well and have traveled abroad socially. We also learned that Michael's brother Chal Misick is 50% owner, along with 50% for Mario Hoffman, in a company called Salt Cay Golf Club.
Salt Cay Golf Club was granted by Michael and his government a lease for 238 acres of Salt Cay for a $1 a year per acre. 238 acres of land, valued a number of years ago at $7.76 million, is being leased for less than $300 a year. Less than the price of a fine meal.
We also learn that this 50% ownership of this 238 acres is what Michael used as HIS collateral to borrow the $6 million from J&T Banka, the Czeck bank that is connected to Mario Hoffman.
Isn't Chal a wonderful brother to lend Michael his ownership interest !!
We also learned of an audit report that states that Mario Hoffman was allowed to purchase a piece of property on Salt Cay worth over $1 million for $160,000. We also learn that Mario Hoffman has Belonger status.
There is not enough space in this article to go into all the details that many of us have been struggling for over a year to bring to light regarding the issues surrounding the Salt Cay development. I and others associated with the TCI Journal have often pointed to the fact that it appeared as if Michael was using Salt Cay as a way to generate great personal wealth for himself by which he hoped to continue to influence events in the
The testimony before the Commission of Inquiry appears to reveal that Michael Misick is/was positioning himself (fronted by his family) right at the heart of what is described by Mario Hoffman and Mario's associates, on their websites, as a $600 million development.
There was so much more revealed yesterday that I encourage readers to read the other commentaries and the transcript that will be posted later today and over the weekend.