04 June 2012

Direct rule brings numerous British 'advisors' to run Turks & Caicos government; date of return to elected dependency status unclear

By Hayden Boyce 
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Turks and Caicos Sun

There are currently at least 27 United Kingdom (UK) advisors operating in the Turks and Caicos Islands, investigations by The SUN revealed.

Of the advisors, at least 17 are spread throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and there are no less than 10 working in the office of Governor Ric Todd.

These 27 advisors are separate and distinct from the close to 30 staff who are working in association with the Special Investigations and Prosecutions Team (SIPT). Still, the combined total represents the largest number of British officials working here in the Turks and Caicos Islands in recent times.

According to information obtained by The SUN, the advisors currently are: Patrick Boyle – CEO; Hugh McGarel-Groves – CFO, Cyprian Kamary – Treasury, Elizabeth Gresty – Revenue, Stephen Turnball – Statutory Bodies, Stuart palmer – Public Finance, John Murphy – Finance, Lorraine Rogerson – Immigration Advisor, Kerstin Thomson – Immigration Advisor, Simon Excell – Immigration Advisor, John Llewellyn – Crown Land Advisor, Andy Gale – Land Registry, Nigel Hearnden – Contracts Advisor, Derek Taylor – Health Systems Adviser, Mark Greenway – HR Advisor, Peter Woosnam – Customs Advisor, and Malcolm Brown – Customs Advisor and Chief Engineer Norman Watts. There are 10 UK based staff (paid for by FCO) in the Governor’s office, but their names were not available up to press time.

Government sources said that these 17 advisors are paid for by either Foreign and Commonwealth Office or Department for International Development and at no cost to TCIG. However, this could not be independently confirmed by The SUN. An informed source within the Turks and Caicos Islands Government told this newspaper that the UK advisors are the ones who are “running things in government”.

“I can tell you for a fact that the Permanent Secretaries, the Under Secretaries and the heads of the departments don’t have any say whatsoever in what’s going on. They just carry out orders and rubber stamp almost everything that the advisors ask them to do,” said the source who asked not to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media. “After you print this information some of them may want to challenge you and tell you otherwise but take it from me, they (Turks and Caicos Islanders) have no decision-making powers. It is like a plantation in the government. The Brits are the masters and we are the slaves.”

During a press conference in February 2010, Director of Overseas Territories in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mr. Colin Roberts said there will be a “greater British presence” in this country for quite some time. At that press conference Roberts told a blatant lie when he said the British intended to hold elections here by mid-2011.

He said then: “The end result of the constitutional, the electoral and political system must be to put in place arrangements which will give the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Government and the international community the assurance that reforms which we are putting in place are irreversible and that the principles of good governance will be upheld. This will mean that there will be greater British presence in TCI after the elections in 2011; a greater British presence than existed before August 2009.”

Roberts added: “The kind of British presence that has been here before August 2009 which is essentially three or four people, is probably not sufficient to ensure that good governance and reforms are properly implemented. So we will probably have to have a slightly reinforced Governor’s Office and some technical advisors in place, but I would not characterize it as a heavy British presence. It would simply be what is enough to achieve the objectives of ensuring good governance.”

He noted, for example, that there will be a radical reform of the Crown land policy to avoid.