According to Caribbean Net News, former politicians from the Progressive National Party (PNP) in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are now using disagreements between Britain and Anguilla as stepping stones to preach against British direct rule in the TCI.
Anguillan Chief Minister Hubert Hughes, who was appointed to office by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) under the former British Labour government, is at odds with the territory’s British Governor Alistair Harrison and has recently refused to approve the elected government’s budget proposals. Hughes is reportedly trying to move Anguilla towards independence. The article explains that the current difficulties in Anguilla may be yet another manifestation of the previous British government’s failed policies regarding the British Overseas Territories.
With current politics changing in Britain and a new minister for the Overseas Territories—Henry Bellingham—in place, no one knows what new coalition government will do about the relationship between Britain and its overseas territories in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Both Bellingham and British MP Andrew Rosindell have promised a new relationship with all 14 overseas territories worldwide.
The British Labour party’s policy of “hands off” resulted in a Commission of Inquiry in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2009, which was called for by the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), which sent Conservative MP Sir John Stanley and two other parliamentarians to check into the activities of the then PNP administration. The results of the inquiry resulted in a call for direct rule by Britain as a result of “PNP mismanagement and systemic government corruption.”
The article goes on to detail the cases of corruption that have been investigated or will be investigated in 2011 and the resulting prosecutions, including the conviction of Ponzi scheme promoter, Jamaican David Smith, who was closely associated with former PNP officials when he was working in the TCI. Other investigations focus on scrutiny of PNP Premier Misick and how he was able to construct his $15 million residence, “charging the public purse for a service staff of 12, expensive SUVs and chauffeurs, bodyguards, all his utilities and his own private jet and pilot.” Apparently, a civil recovery team is also “working towards restoring millions diverted by the PNP-led government.” Other scandals include the case of “Royal Robinson, whose background was surveying, [and who] owns an extensive amount of land. This land was previously reported to have been used as collateral for a very large loan from the Belize Bank to finance the PNP election win of February 2007.”
The article concludes, however, that the issue of independence is not being seriously considered by the population of the TCI, who view independence as jeopardizing the continued use of the US dollar and visa access to the USA.
Also see http://tcipost.com/?p=6543