21 December 2009

Turks and Caicos Call for UK Withdrawal

From: TCIwatch.com
14th December 2009

As the matter of Gibraltar is sorted out as a territory of the UK, so must the matter of Turks and Caicos. The distinguishing factor is that Turks and Caicos is not a territory, rather a colony since UK invaded the Caribbean islands in August 2009.

As the UN acknowledges, based on its adoption of numerous declarations, colonialism is wrong. Furthermore, most experts agree that Colonialism has no place in world societies and it has never worked. The act of one government entity forcing its values on a weaker population cannot be justified in any way, especially from a different culture. As The UK Activist Stuart Yates pointed out in his writings, the UK's presence in Turks and Caicos is shrouded in secrecy and cannot be described as anything less than a coup. The UK took over governance of these Caribbean islands without any election or consensus from the people living in the islands.

Granted, the former Turks and Caicos government, under the Michael Misick administration, made mistakes; no arguing the point. However, Michael Misick achieved success by converting Turks and Caicos into a high-end celebrity holiday hideaway. Misick said on many occasions that his goal was to turn Turks and Caicos into the "Monte Carlo of the Caribbean". Misick argued that he had to "look the part" in order to woo high-end resort developers to invest in the islands. Certainly,"looking the part" came at cost, a cost that the islands absorbed from the revenue generated by his tourism and business plan, but improper nonetheless said the UK. At the end of the day, Misick was accused of taking for himself and forming improper relationships with foreign businessmen to achieve his personal and business goals. This coming from the UK's Commission of Inquiry Report by Sir Robin Auld of the UK. Misick was forced to resign in March 2009.

With the lessons very fresh in the minds of local officials and citizens of the islands, a new leader was elected and installed in the Turks and Caicos government immediately after Misick, the cabinet of Galmo Williams. In August, nearly six months after Premier Williams was installed, the UK unilaterally took the government of Turks and Caicos and installed a one-man ruler from the UK to conduct all of the islands' business. The governor from UK HE Gordon Wetherell took upon a dictatorship, electing his own judiciary and making sole decisions for the islands. This was the proposed plan for a period of at least two years with new elections in 2011. However, the UK has since announced that it will be installed in the islands indefinitely and certainly past 2011.

The UN has made numerous resolutions declaring the UK's invasion of Turks and Caicos to be improper and it cites authority from the Fourth Committee's resolution for self determination of Turks and Caicos. However, the UN cannot "act" on behalf of the people of Turks and Caicos and can only impose warnings and perhaps sanctions and yes, more resolutions.

The UK claims that it is helping Turks and Caicos. After all, the people of Turks and Caicos have been subjected to a corrupt governmental body dating back 6 years with Michael Misick. Never mind that officials from the UK never reported any financial abuse and warnings were never provided. The UK took drastic measures to clean up government corruption by installing their own government. "Maybe this is a good thing," said some islanders giving the UK a chance to help.

Before the islanders could even welcome the new UK government, major resorts were closing amid charges that these developers had improper relationships with the former premier. Furthermore, the resort developers were kicked off their land as the UK reclaimed it as Crown land. The UK did not make these resort developers whole under Eminent Domain Laws. Rather, the UK told the developers that they relinquished their lands and developments worth millions due to improper behavior. Sure, the resort developers left the islands and good riddens (sic) to them anyway, right? Not quite. These resorts were responsible for employment of thousands of people, they were bringing in revenue, building investor confidence in the islands, attracting more economic growth and encouraging tourism spending. Now these resorts are abandoned on Crown land which now belongs to the Crown entirely. No word on when or if these developers will sue the UK for economic damages.

The next breakdown, which happened quite rapidly upon UK's arrival in the islands, was the firing of islanders within the government replaced by new UK faces. This had islanders feeling uneasy about the leadership and created additional job losses. New hires' salaries from the UK are not disclosed, yet the UK claims that it cannot meet payroll for islanders timely because of the national debt of $135 million. The UK has failed to bring financial aid for this so-called deficit.

Though the islands bring in $600 million per year in tourism revenue and off-shore banking, the UK refuses to infuse any money into the territory and instead it raised taxes, cut benefits and suspended salaries for the locals. There has been no disclosure by the UK as to where the revenue is funneled.

As Adrian Holman reported, the Caribbean slave trade by England in the 1700s are haunting the islands once again. Their right to self determination has been revoked and as such, there is nothing that people can do in the grasp of the strong arm of the UK. A man by the name of Alvin Hegner, a former resident of North Caicos, visited the islands and spoke intimately and openly with islanders on December 10, 11 and 12. Of the hundreds of citizens that he interviewed, not one person was in favor of UK's direct rule and almost all reported financial suffering. Though some claimed to have kept an open mind when the UK first arrived in August, the people are more than convinced now that this was a very bad idea.