21 April 2010

Two Former Turks & Caicos Premiers Alarmed at Bank Closing

Statement of Hon. Galmo Williams
Leader of Progressive National Party, (Deposed Premier)
Turks and Caicos Islands
in Closing of TCI Bank

My Fellow Turks & Caicos Islanders:

I am today very disheartened in having to address you on the closing of TCI Bank Ltd. The TCI Bank over a very short period of time had become a beacon of hope for the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands. Its primary establishment as an indigenous bank was founded on the principle of providing ownership for our people in a financial institution that would be profitable and could one day anchor the banking services in our country.

As far as the Progressive National Party was aware, the bank was well on its way to achieving that objective. Many Turks & Caicos Islanders had invested their hard earned money in the capital of the bank and scores of our citizens as well as those who have relocated to our shores had taken out savings accounts, current accounts, fixed deposit accounts and loans at the bank. The name, TCI Bank, had become a household name, a symbol of pride, and indeed a vital financial institution in the development of these islands.

Whilst it is still early days yet, and being very careful not to apportion blame at this stage, I am nevertheless concerned that it appears on the surface that sufficient effort was not made to save the bank. What further concerns me is that every effort seems to be made in certain quarters to roll back all the strides that we, as a people, have made in recent years. It is evident that on a daily basis the quality of life that our citizens once enjoyed is being increasingly eroded. This has become clearly evident since the British Interim Government under Governor Wetherell and Mark Capes have taken over the administrative affairs of our country. No one can deny the blatant disregard for the plight of our people and the pungent atmosphere of fear which now permeates over our country. As one person has said to me recently, “it is now only left for the Governor and his British cohorts to peel back the tar off the road in inflicting their damage to this country”.

I am a firm believer that unjust works never prosper and that the troubles we are experiencing today too will pass. But as a people we need to become more aware of what is happening around us; we have to realize that those who preside over us do not care if your money in the bank is safe or not; they do not care if you have a morsel of food on the table for your children to eat tomorrow or not; nor whether or not you are able to send your child to school to get a decent education. If they did, they would not continue to talk down the economy of our country; they would not be promoting higher taxation thereby causing a mass flight of capital from our shores.

If Governor Wetherell and his team meant the people of this country well, they would allow for inward investment to flourish thereby helping investors rather than being a hindrance; they would promote confidence in our country by letting the international community know that the Turks & Caicos Islands is open for business rather than weaving a web of red tape around any idea put forward for investment. Had they been more cognizant and respectful of investors and the fragile business environment that exists, the confidence in our economy would have been maintained even while the legal and political processes ran their course. A more positive attitude towards investors and our people on the part of our British occupiers would have engendered confidence and would have perhaps helped to save the TCI Bank.

My best wishes go out to the hard working citizens, guests, investors, staff, regional institutions and anyone who may have supported or have a stake in the TCI Bank. I can now only trust that the provisional liquidators and the powers that be work expeditiously in the best interest of all stakeholders. It is critical that this most disturbing matter be settled in a timely and efficient manner to minimize any losses that might accrue to the bank’s creditors and shareholders.

May God continue to bless you and the entire Turks & Caicos Islands.


Statement of Hon. Michael Misick

Former Premier
Turks & Caicos Islands
on closing of TCI Bank

I feel a debt of deep personal sadness to learn of the forced closure of the first indigenous Bank by the FSC and the Dictator Gordon Wetherall administration.

My heart and solidarity goes out to the thousands of working men and women that now have in some cases their life savings at risk.

Is it a coincidence that some persons like Clive Stanbrook were notified in advance of the bank's closure which enabled him to move millions of dollars out of the bank thereby helping its demise while average men and women are left to suffer?

It has come to my attention that the chairman of the bank and lawyers of a proposed purchaser of the majority shares were in a meeting and hours away from concluding a deal to save the bank, when they got the news of its closure. The pending sale was known both to the FSC and Gordon Wetherall.

The forced closure of TCI Bank by Gordon Wetherall is just another attempt by the British Government and their installed dictator Gordon Wetherall to dismantle all the institutions that were created to advance our country towards nationhood. It's also a further attempt by Gordon Wetherall and his supporters to ensure control of the economy of the islands in the hands of a few white elite British expats.

It is ironic that the same week ‘The People's Bank' closed, permission was granted to a Cayman based bank that is associated with Clive Stanbrook and the Grace Bay Boys to operate a new bank.

It has also come to my attention that less than $3 million dollars could have saved the bank from collapse. National Insurance, which is one of the major shareholders of the bank, have over one hundred million dollars in British and Canadian banks both in the islands and outside.

A decision should have been made in the interest of the thousands of customers and the good name of the country for National Insurance to place deposits with TCI bank to prevent its collapse.

Let me be clear under my leadership or a PNP administration we would never have allowed TCI Bank to fail and have thousands of working people lose their life savings.

Just as President Obama did in the USA and Gordon Brown did in the UK and other leaders did around the world when they spent Billions of dollars to bail out banks to avoid working people losing their savings, I call on Gordon Wetherall to stop making excuses and step up to the plate, rescue and bail out TCI bank to protect the reputation of the Turks and Caicos and prevent thousands of people from losing there life savings.

If the British care one ounce about the Turks and Caicos people this is the least they can do.

If this is not done this will confirm my suspicion that this too is part of a wider British conspiracy to stop at nothing in their efforts to stop the progress of our beautiful Islands and implement their colonial agenda of keeping us poor while making sure the few British elite reap the benefits of our country.