Turks and Caicos calls for elections amid rumors of British takeover


The prime minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Galmo Williams, announced yesterday an early election date, now set for October 26, as his government negotiates with Britain over who should retain control of the government. Elections were not due until February 2011. Williams has been in charge of the government for only three months, stepping in when former premier Michael Misick stepped down amid corruption allegations.

The call for new elections comes as Great Britain is preparing to suspend the T&C constitution after an official inquiry by a former high court judge, Sir Robin Auld, appears to have found evidence  that the country has been plagued by endemic corruption. It is believed that the British Foreign office, in response to the as-yet-unpublished report, has already prepared a statutory instrument giving parliament the power in effect to hand control of the Caribbean islands to the UK-appointed governor. The highly unusual move has led to accusations that the UK is practising “colonialism.” There are also concerns that the government’s actions will hamper development on the islands and drive away investment.

The statutory instrument reads in part: “This order is being made because an accumulation of evidence in relation to the Turks and Caicos Islands over the past year or so has led to a provisional decision by British ministers that parts of the constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands will need to be suspended and replaced by other provisions on an interim basis.”

Most of the allegations of corruption center on luxury developments on the islands, particularly on whether corporate donations to politicians represent “bribery and extortion.” Also under scrutiny is the islands’ former prime minister, Michael Misick, who along with his wife, LisaRaye McCoy, an actress in the hit American sitcom All of Us, has been the subject of corruption allegations, which he denies. Misick has attacked London for flexing its “strong arm of modern-day colonialism”.

For more (including details on the allegations) go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/jun/07/turks-caicos-islands-constitution-crisis

The image above comes from an article on The Economist on corruption in tax heavens such as T&C, also worth a look. You can find it a http://www.economist.com/world/britain/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13416091

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