UK Loan Funding through Joe Grant Sale.A new unlawful Act of UK Appointed Government

They are a lot of discussions regarding recovery of Joe Grant first through SIPT in Turks and Caicos Islands 6 months ago and now the statement of Governor Todd,that through recovery of Joe Grant they will cover the UK Loan about 200,0 MIO USD???

Nobody  would like  to wait the court decisions.

Is it possible to cover the SIPT costs and fundings through recovery of Joe Grant?Is it true or is it only a story to get the people of TCI calm about the  costs and fundings of SIPT?

Or is it an international Scandal?

This Cay is one of the less known cays, and its story came up to the attention of the TCIlanders because of bribe allegations in Turks and Caicos. Dr Kinay, What is Joe Grant Cay?

Joe Grant’s Cay is a beautiful but remote, uninhabited 712 acres cay located in a remote section of the archipelago between Middle Caicos and Easy Caicos. It is accessible only by sea. The last time I took a boat to visit it, it took me 2 hours from Providenciales to get there. This Cay has no dock, no road, no electricity, no water neither any form of other infrastructure. It is inhabited like East Caicos. The cay is composed mainly of consolidated rock with the ocean frontages consisting of either sand or “iron shore”. The elevation is low and the shallow water depths at some parts of the island for do not allow visitors to access other areas. These difficulties do not discourage us, as at the end, when properly developed, this Cay is a beauty.

We have bought 200 Acres of this island on June 20, 2008 from the Crown through a transfer of title executed by the former Governor., Hon Richard Tauwaree and 5 months later on November 7, 2008, the former Governor, Hon. Whetherell has executed a Development Agreement with us for the development of the whole island.

What was the role of you in this project?

When I first came to Turks and Caicos Islands in 2005, I had already my development company O Property Collection in Austria. This company is where I, and my partner Oguz Serim offer our development advice to projects. O Property Collection has, from the first days of this project, ,is acting as “developer” bringing its expertise, in construction, sales, marketing. The center of any development is people. Community is very important. My company’s vision is to create design driven projects. God has already placed a beautiful design for Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay, it is now up to us, with respect, to treat these beauties with the best architecture and standards there is.

What do you want to develop on this island Joe Grant?

We wanted to develop the island with an environmentally friendly small Hotel and then Homes in the natural surroundings. We have retained top environmental engineers from Florida, and we started immediately the process of Environment Impact Assessment. We designed our project with a high-class architect from italy, and have signed a brand and management Indent with a very famous brand. The most important consideration though is that this will be a low density and green development.

When you first heard of Joe Grant Cay? How did you get involved?

I first got interested in Joe Grant Cay In December 2006 when I was informed that negotiations with some developers for a proposed project on Joe Grant’s Cay had run into difficulties and I was asked whether I could be interested to take this development further. The Government already had a price for sale on the Cay, US$5 million according to a formal offer that the former Government had placed before the previous developers in November 2006. My initial views for the Cay was that it was a remote location, no infrastructure and it involved Crown Land, and that meant the need of a Belonger Partner. I was not familiar with this process as my first investment Dellis Cay, is a private transaction and does not involve any Crown Land.

Did you know any of the previous developers?

I understand from the discussions in the past years that there were a number of developers who wanted to take this Cay prior to my involvement in early 2007. I do not know and have never done any business with the gentleman named at the discussions at the Commission of Inquiry,. whether in relation to Joe Grant’s Cay or otherwise.

Who is you local/belonger partner by Joe Grant?

I was already heavily engaged in our Dellis Cay project, and having regard to the Crown land policy (of which I was then aware), I thought it sensible to have a belonger partner in the development. In that respect, a company called Oceanic Development Ltd owned by Don Gardiner became my partner. I respected Don very much whom I already knew socially. As you may recall he was the President of the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourism Board. I understood that Don was involved in the development prospects of Joe Grant Cay with the previous developers so he was very familiar with it. We have executed a Joint Venture Agreement with Don’s company in January 2007, and became partners in a company called Caicos Platinum Ltd, a company that was the recipient of the first formal offer of US$5 million from the Government back in November 2006.

When did you buy Joe Grant Cay?

See, that has never happened. We did not buy Joe Grant Cay. We bought the freehold of the 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, and the rest (512 acres) is provided to us by a Conditional Purchase Lease through a development Agreement. I am not sure whether you followed it, but this island was first offered at US$5 million to Caicos Platinum Ltd, when that company was owned by previous developers. Then, 200 Acres of it (approximately 30%) was offered to us at $2 million in early June 2008, by the decision of Cabinet, led by His Excellency the Governor Richard Tauwaree. At the specific instance of the Government (and with some reluctance on our part given the risk to which we were thus being exposed in advance of the conclusion of a development agreement), we were asked to close the purchase of the 200 acres hotel parcel on an urgent basis, apparently because of very low cash flow issues at Government level. Having agreed to do so, the Governor again changed its mind, obtained a new valuation by a third-party QS and informed us on June 19th, 2008 that the price of the hotel parcel had been increased to $3.2 million. We paid that price for 200 Acres and bought a portion of Joe Grant Cay on June 20th, 2008 on de day of Groundbreaking ceremonies of Dellis Cay.Governor Hon. Tauwaree came in the afternoon to this ceremonies,was very happy,that Joe Grant deal was finally closed after 1,5 years of negotiations.He congratulated me on the day,the funds of the transaction was in the account of government.

What about the Development Agreement?

You know, it took us almost 2 years from the first discussions, but 5 months after our acquisition of the 200 Acre parcel, in November 2008 to get a Development Agreement. I am not sure whether you re know but The Governor executes all major agreements on behalf of the Government. So, Governor HE Gordon Wetherell, and our CEO, Director, Michel Neutelings have met for the execution of the Development Agreement.

Dr, Is there anything special in the Agreement?

All development agreements in Turks and Caicos Islands, usually have more or less the same provisions. However, we have an additional obligation on our part to pay 15% on the gross amount on the sale of villa lots in the development to the Crown. I am not privy to all development agreements in TCI but I am not personally aware of any other development agreement which contains an obligation of that nature. From the standpoint of the public, it is clear that if my partners and I make a major investment on Joe Grant’s Cay such that the price which a buyer might pay for a villa lot is greatly enhanced, the Government receives a corresponding benefit without any of the business risks undertaken by the developer. Joe Grant Cay was going to be a new source of income for the TCI Government and TCI islanders. This remote and inhabited island was going to be the home for a new hospitality project providing new jobs and opportunities for everyone. I would imagine that most of the ex Middle Caicos residents would returned to their home from their present endeavors in Providenciales. In summary, this project had a very important social aspect. I have on many occasions discussed these aspects with both Honorable Governors Tauwahare and Whetherel.

There were discussions about the valuation? What you have to say on it?

Look, I am a developer, a businessmen. I got interested in this deal as the 712 Acres was available at US$5 million to a number of developers who apparently did not perform. I wanted to buy at this price. At the end, I have negotiated more than 18 months to get 30% of this cay at US$3.2 million. I took a significant risk by paying that price and closing that purchase without having a signed development agreement with TCIG, with no guarantee that we could carry out our development plan or acquire the rest of the Cay. I trusted to Governor Hon.Tauwahare and later on to Governor Hon.Whetherel.

Now coming to the valuations, I understand from the Inquiry that under the leadership of the HE Governor Tauwaree himself, the Cabinet has sought a number of conflicting valuations both from their own valuation department and from a private commercial appraiser on June 2008. They have as the Cabinet, together with HE the Governor, have decided to take the valuation of the commercial appraiser as it reflected the market value.

Now, the question is why did they not picked the high value but the low value?

My answer is that the valuation of the land is obviously a matter for the Crown and for experts in that field. That is why I have hired some of the leading experts in this field to assist me. What they say is simple: the Valuation officer has attempted to value this property by direct comparison to couple at Ambergris Cay, and sale listings from marketing brochures (and not actual transactions) at North Caicos Marina and Middle Caicos. I am told that those comparable do not come near being appropriate for the purposes of valuing Joe Grant Cay.

At Ambergris Cay, for example, lot sizes of between 0.32 – 1.85 acres each are compared to our project of 700 acres. In addition, Ambergris Cay forms part of an established luxury brand, and considerable expenditure has been undertaken on the extensive infrastructure. I do not know if you know but Ambergis Cay has all its utilities underground, electricity and water, It is the only island in this country which has an underground sewer system. Everything is self-generated on the island, water making, the treatment of the sewer system. It has even an uncompleted marina that is not completed but obviously a port facility) including the inclusion of the biggest private runway (6,000 feet) in the Caribbean. Overall Ambergis Cay it is a self-sufficient island that has all of the amenities and can function, unlike North and Middle Caicos which has to have power on the sea cable from Providenciales. North Caicos Yacht Club is also a developed property, so no parallels to undeveloped land neither. We also understand that the value r has used “sales brochure prices” in 2008. The Middle Caicos comparative is based on a sales listing as well, which was withdrawn from the market after 22 months listing period and not sold.

Now, that is what experts say. These will all come out soon. Now if you ask me what I personally think. To me, the real valuation is what I paid. Our company paid US$18 million to Dellis Cay, a 500 acres island, of which 200 Acre is private land. Dellis Cay is only 20 minutes from Leeward Highway, it had PPC Electricity cable in it, for plenty of electricity, and it is next to world-renowned Parrot Cay. I think that we have paid for the 200 Acres at Joe Grant Cay reflects the fair market price at its present state and that is “undeveloped” land at a remote location for commercial use. That is what it is.

Later on, we have asked both local and international professional valuation firms to conduct a fgull analysis and report an official valuation of this island. All these reports have confirmed the value that we have paid to Joe Grant Cay’s 200 acres and the lease agreements that we have entered with the TCI Government. In any case, after the World Economical Crisis starting in November 2008 and onwards land values have significantly eroded all around the world and especially the Caribbean.

But Dr Kinay what is the benefit of this Project to the TCIslanders? What do they get?

Look,the government did not simply sell a piece of land, they entered into a development agreement for the development of that land. If I can not develop it on time, and spend the money that the Government wants me to spend on it, than they will get back. It is in the Agreement. It is ours as long as we spend money on it. You know how much? My Development Agreement says I need to spend US$120 million on this cay in a fixed period of time. We estimated that the construction will take 2 years and create at least 150 new local jobs. Once the island is fully operational it will require at least 70 locals to manage it. As I have already mentioned, in addition to the purchase price of the land of the hotel site, we will pay 15% of our Villa sales on the 300 Acre Villa Lots and this goes straight to the Government’s budget. Not to mention, the usual development agreement obligations such as the Annual Scholarship payments, duties, work permit fees, the rents paid under the leases, stamp duty benefits accruing to TCIG arising out of sales in the development and the boost to the tourism economy of TCI.

Dr Kinay, you lost a court case concerning Joe Grant Cay June 2011? What will happen now?

I received the Turks and Caicos Islands Court’s judgment in June 2011 concerning Joe Grant Cay. I also received TCIG’s Press Release from July 2011. The judgement is grossly unfair and Joe Grant Cay development companies are currently appealing it. I could not afford lawyers as Turks and Caicos Islands Courts have frozen all my worldwide assets not allowing me to spend any funds towards my right to defend myself and my companies. Looking at the Judgment, in essence, His Hon. Justice G W Martin has concluded in connection with the political donation of $500,000 made by Dellis Cay’s parent company Turks Development LP (the Court states the donation was from ‘Dr Kinay’) to Michael Misick on 9 January 2007, the Judge found (paragraph 33) “there to be a very strong probability that the money was paid as a bribe in order to ensure that the Defendant companies obtained the benefit of the proposed development” disregarding the facts that the Defendant companies did not even exist at that time, and that the donation was made by Turks Development LP, a company developing Dellis Cay, not related in any way to Joe Grant Cay . His Hon Judge further observed (paragraph 41): “I emphasise that this judgment should not be treated as a conclusive finding that any individual has acted corruptly. Nobody should be declared corrupt if he has not had the opportunity to defend himself at trial, and that has not happened in this case.’ These statements did not make the Judgment just and fair, the basic principle of law.

On the matter of Joe Grant Cay’s valuation, His Hon Justice completely ignored the Government’s valuation report obtained from BCQS, an independent commercial appraiser who valued 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, at USD 3.2 million for commercial use, exactly the amount of money asked by the Government in June 2008, which the development companies have paid in full. His Hon Judge ruled (Para 36, The Judgement) ‘When instructing BCQS to give an alternative valuation, McAllister Hanchell did not tell them of the proposed development, so that their valuation made no allowance for the intended use of the land.’. The Learned Chief Justice has failed to recognize that BCQS valuation report specifically stated on Page 7 Item 3.5 ‘It is assumed that planning permission is available for the subdivision of the land for residential plots or for a commercial use.’ By ignoring BCQS’s clear statement specifying that Joe Grant Cay valuation report is prepared for “commercial use”, The Hon. Chief Justice presented an unbalanced approach for the benefit of the Plaintiff. The Court’s omission of BCQS’s written representations in their valuation report is not something that I can live with and we will be pursuing the reasons for this material error.

First, the Commission of Inquiry’s publication of unredacted Final Report despite the TCI Supreme Court’s Order not to publish the unredacted Final Report cost Dellis Cay its business and caused the funders to pull their finances, now Joe Grant Cay Development companies are striped of their rightfully obtained assets.

It is clear to me that there is a set political agenda which is geared to restructure the political landscape at the Turks and Caicos Islands and we are chosen as the main victims.

I repeat categorically that I reject all accusations, and state that we are innocent

For those who doubt that the Development of Joe Grant Cay is not innocent, I have only one question:

Had the alleged privileges, favors or better conditions been present in the acquisition of 200 acres of this island, or in the Development Agreement, why both Hon. Governor Tauwhare, and the present Hon. Governor Whetherell would have executed these on behalf of the Crown?

Both Hon Governors are experienced public officials, with history of making land transactions, and executing Development Agreements on behalf of the Crown. Why did they approve these transactions if the preferential treatment was all over the documents that they have signed?

All these contracts, and 200 acres land sale were approved by the Attorney General, TCI Invest, Ministers, the Premier, and executed by 2 Hon. Governors. The Government and both Hon. Governors had 2 years to conduct due diligence. Do you really believe that they were all ‘deceived’? and did not know what they were selling? That is the real question the Turks and Caicos Public must ask.

I have faith in the law, and I will look for justice until I find it.

What are your long-term goals in Turks and Caicos Islands?

Now a new Governor is appointed as you know.His Excellency Hon.Todd is a very positive person and has a new approach for TCI.I will explain him following:

I did not come to Turks and Caicos Islands, to do few projects and go back to anywhere. I will stay and work here for many years. When Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay will one time open, my children, together with the young generation of Turks and Caicos Islands, will be proud of having these developments, in remote locations and will have fun.TCI er will be proud about it too.

It is also not right,to tell TCI Islander,the government recovered Joe Grant.It is not true.We have still our appeal open and when we will again lose because of the pressure of Attorney General,SIPT,TCI Government etc,we will go to the international courts for this injustice.

God bless TCI.

The OUTCRY of ILLEGAL POET Turks and Caicos Islands

PLEASE WATCH THE OUTCRY OF ILLEGAL POET FROM TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS.

CLICK THE LINK BELOW

PLEASE CLICK THE LINK TO WATCH THE VIDEO

Dear JAGS-Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Court Grants Injunction in Airport Ground-Handling Dispute

 

 

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — The Supreme Court of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) granted an injunction on Friday, legally halting the effort by the Turks and Caicos Airport Authority (TCIAA) and Servisair SAS to begin ground handling services at Providenciales Airport with a new joint venture company called Servisair PLS. 

While the injunction is in place, Servisair PLS must not start operations until the Supreme Court decides whether the joint venture is lawful. 

The injunction comes on an application brought by Flight Support Ltd, represented by Misick and Stanbrook. The concerns centered on TCIAA acting as both the regulator and a competitor in ground handling services at Providenciales International Airport, thus creating unfair advantages for the joint venture company. The concern being that this could bankrupt any competitors because of a lack of a level playing field and creating a monopolistic position, which would be to the detriment of the traveling public. 

Flight Support was joined in the complaint by Albray Butterfield of TCA Handling and Shaun Malcolm of SkyBlue Ltd as additional interested parties. TCA Handling provides ground handling services to American Airlines and SkyBlue was denied permission to enter the ground handling business by the TCIAA, whilst the Authority advanced their joint venture with Servisair. 

In an oral ruling, the court acknowledged the application for judicial review raised serious concerns about the lawfulness of the joint venture. These concerns included the lack of proper investigation by the TCIAA into whether a joint venture was needed. Further concerns included the inherent conflict of interest in the regulator being involved in commercial competition with those that it regulates. 

Documentation submitted for consideration included a joint venture agreement granting Servisair PLS Ltd free access to facilities and equipment and waiving import taxes, import fees, and work permit fees. These special considerations would be granted by the TCIAA, which would also serve to financially benefit them as a partner in the operation. The court agreed that there was a possibility of the joint venture having the effect of creating an eventual monopoly. 

“We feel strongly it is highly irregular for TCIAA to be placed in the conflicting position of being both a regulator of Servisair and having a financial interest in its success,” said Lyndon Gardiner, founder and chairman of Flight Support. “This backdoor nationalizing of ground handling can only lead to higher prices and less service in the future. This joint venture was deeply flawed every step of the way.” 

Albray Butterfield, Jr, of TCA Handling, also represented by Misick and Stanbrook, agreed with those sentiments. The end result, he says, will be a destruction of local companies and de facto nationalization of the sector, crucial to the country’s main industry of tourism. 

InterIsland Aviation Services is the parent company of Flight Support Ltd, as well as Air Turks & Caicos, the flag carrier for Turks and Caicos. InterIsland Aviation is subject to regulation by the TCIAA.

Governor Must Confirm Election Date.By Carlos Simons


On Monday,07th of May the Governor published Quarterly Milestones Update. The Governor is aware that these Updates are highly anticipated for one principal reason: any indication they might give as to a date for elections. Like people anywhere who have been disenfranchised, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands yearn for the return of their universally recognized right to elect and be governed by their own representatives. The British Government knows this as well: it is the same principle that they went to war for in Iraq, and continue to fight for and promote around the globe. Yet it is one they continue to deny in the TCI.

As for the 7 May Update, the words that caught most people’s attention were these:
“It is clear that while significant progress has been made in many areas, further work remains to be done before UK Ministers can judge significant enough progress to allow them to reinstate the Constitution, thus triggering fresh elections.”
Most people see this as a walk-back from the previously clear indication that elections will be held before the end of 2012. It appears to be part of a continuing pattern of borderline deceptions that include leading us to believe that HMG would bear the cost of SIPT!
It is a reckless and dangerous way to conduct the serious business of governance. As I travel around the Islands in my campaign for the leadership of the PNP, I sense a rising tide of frustration with the Interim Administration’s fixation on Milestones progress as opposed to the welfare and well-being of real people. The growing attraction of full independence is fed by this frustration as much as it is by the arrogance, insensitivity and double standards that have come to characterize the British mission here.
In my first address as Chairman of the Consultative Forum, I said that the best job the Forum could do for the people of the TCI is to work itself out of a job as quickly as possible. I resigned more than two years ago to undertake the far more important work that I am currently doing, and almost three years on the Forum is still firmly in place with no apparent end in sight.
So we are halfway through the year and suddenly doubt has been cast on the widely accepted belief, created and encouraged by the Governor and his bosses that elections will be held before the end of the year.
Many people will find that disappointing and discouraging and the only way to repair the damage now is for the Governor to expressly confirm that elections will be held before the end of the year, to name the date and to make the Milestones fit that date. They are after all his milestones, not ours!
Having had the opportunity to gauge the mood of the people, I have come to the view that an early date for elections is the single most important item on our agenda of things to be settled with the British. If that continues to be denied I will, as Leader of the PNP, and after close consultation with my Party’s Executive and with their support, devise and pursue such strategies as may be necessary to restore this most basic of human rights to the people of the TCI.

posted in SUN TCI,on 11th May 2012

Opposition wins in Bahamas

Published on May 8, 2012 in Caribbean News Now

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PLP leader Perry Christie (R) and his deputy Philip ‘Brave’ Davis celebrate their party’s election victory on Monday night. Photo: Donald Knowles


By Erica Wells
Nassau Guardian Managing Editor

NASSAU, Bahamas — Perry Christie led his Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to a landslide victory in Monday’s general election in The Bahamas, wiping out Hubert Ingraham and the Free National Movement (FNM) in one of the biggest wins in Bahamian political history.

The PLP appears to have won 29 of the 38 seats in Parliament — 20 in New Providence, three in Grand Bahama and six in the Family Islands, according to unofficial results.

It appears as if the FNM has managed to hang on to only three seats in New Providence, two in Grand Bahama and four in Family Islands.

“I would like to extend with the deepest humility my thanks to the Bahamian people for reposing their confidence in me and my party and for doing so in such a powerful and unequivocal voice. Now that the general elections are over, the hard work must now begin,” Christie told thousands of jubilant supporters who gathered late in the evening to celebrate the PLP’s victory. “I pledge to you that I will give my very best and my colleagues who will join me in the new government will do the same. Great challenges lie ahead, but with God’s grace and the support of the Bahamian people, we will overcome the challenges and restore peace and prosperity to our beloved land.”

Outgoing Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham conceded defeat shortly before 10 p.m. at the FNM’s headquarters. He also announced that he would not lead the party in opposition and would resign his seat in parliament, ending a more than 30-year career in frontline politics. He led the FNM to victory in 2007 and previously served as prime minister from 1992-2002.

“I shall return to private life from whence I came,” Ingraham told solemn supporters.

He said:”The Progressive Liberal Party has won the election. I want to publicly congratulate (Christie’s) party.”

It was a short and bitterly contested campaign that led many political pundits to predict in the lead up to the election that the race was too close to call. That did not turn out to be the case.

The outcome of this general election represents a massive miscalculation by the FNM of its support among the electorate.

Governor Ric Todd Reports on Elections Milestones

On Monday, Governor Ric Todd released a comprehensivereport on the progress to April 2012 towards the required milestones imposed by Britain before elections will be resumed in the TCI.

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Governor Ric Todd

Since 2009, Todd said, the interim administration has been working to stabilise the economic position of the Turks and Caicos Islands, update laws and legal safeguards to ensure impartial decision making in government, tackle the necessary changes in land and immigration matters, put in place robust public financial control and create a more efficient and effective public service. Progressively, as the changes identified are implemented, UK ministers will be in a more informed position to decide when the time is right to restore a locally elected administration.

Milestone 1 – Implementation of a new TCI Constitution Order

The preparation of a new Constitution was completed in July 2011 and the new Constitution is ready to be put into effect when progress has been made on the other milestones. It will be brought into force thirty days before elections, when a date is decided by ministers in London. Preparations required to be ready for an election were described by the Governor’s Office in October last year, since then they have been progressing steadily and require a few more months to be completed:

• A national census to provide a more accurate measure of the population of TCI began in late January. Enumeration finished in April and a summary of the enumeration exercise is expected to be published soon.

• An updated Elections Ordinance to tighten up the voting procedures, including the arrangements for conducting the ballot for the new ‘All Island’ candidates has been consulted upon widely and the text is completed. It is scheduled to become law in May.

• Drafting instructions for a new law on the conduct of political parties, as recommended by the Commission of Inquiry report, are with a legislative drafter. These define the intention to establish acceptable sources of political funding, campaign methods and accounting practices. Completion is intended for June 2012

• Electoral registration of voters by the Elections Office commenced in April, supported by a project led by the Ministry of Border Control and Labour to verify TCIslander status and issue secure documentary proof of status. This process will continue until 30 June 2012.

A provisional Register of Electors is expected to be published in July. Dependent upon the number of challenges to be resolved during July, a final Register of Electors will be published in August or September. An Electoral Boundaries Commission, scheduled for July, will define the ten new electoral districts and a new Boundaries Ordinance will be prepared in August. Election information and poll worker training is in preparation and will be ready for implementation in the summer.

Milestone 2 – Introduction of new ordinances

Several improvements to the laws of the TCI were identified by the Commission of Inquiry and, subsequently, others were found to be necessary. The programme of drafting new ordinances started eighteen months ago and, in conjunction with a team of legislative drafters funded by the European Union, several further ordinances are in preparation. This ‘ordinances’ milestone mentions requirements for new laws on specific topics:

• The Integrity Commission (Amendment) Ordinance came into force in March. It widens the number of public office holders in TCIG, the statutory bodies, uniformed services and future elected leadership who are required to give personal and financial data about their interests to the Integrity Commission. Information from individuals is assessed against its standards and those in compliance are granted a Certificate of Compliance. This certificate is a necessary requirement to hold public office. The ordinance also reinforces the independence of the Commission from government influence.

• A second, and complementary, ordinance is being prepared by the EU-funded drafters to confer increased powers upon the Integrity Commission for its investigations into suspected fraud and corruption.

• Considerable progress has been made in completing new public financial responsibility ordinances. The Public Financial Management (PFM) and National Audit Office (NAO) Ordinances were put into force on 1 April. The PFM Ordinance defines the new financial management and control procedures to be followed by all public servants in ministries, statutory bodies and any service receiving public funds and creates new criminal and civil penalties for failures in administration. The NAO Ordinance creates a strengthened, independent audit and investigation function over public finances, with direct reporting to the Governor

• A further financial management ordinance is in preparation to define the role of the Chief Financial Officer within the restructured TCIG civil service. This position is a requirement of the UK government loan guarantee and is specified in the 2011 Constitution Order. Completion of this ordinance following consultation is expected in June.

Milestone 3 – Establishment of robust and transparent public financial management processes

Emphasis under this milestone has focused on continued implementation of existing financial controls and the additional requirements in recent legislation:

The new PFM Ordinance came into force on 1 April 2012 and introduced a wide ranging set of verifiable accounting and compliance requirements. In particular, it sets out a clear mechanism for budget control and specifies the delegation of financial responsibilities within ministries. It also addresses financial management within statutory bodies. Public resources are only allocated to statutory bodies through a formal Letter of Sponsorship from a sponsoring ministry and these bodies must now conform to the same financial regulations as government ministries and departments. There has been wide consultation on the new law and further training and in depth briefings should be completed by the end of June

The Audit Department in TCIG is also being reformed into two distinct bodies: the National Audit Office, a statutory body that will operate outside ministerial control, and the Chief Internal Audit Department, which will focus on internal government controls, risk management and governance processes across TCIG. The National Audit Office (NAO) is mandated by the NAO Ordinance approved and scheduled to come into force on 1 September 2012. The operations of the new Chief Internal Audit Office are described in the PFM Ordinance

The TCIG Budget for 2012/13 will be approved on 23 May. Additional time was allowed for new Permanent Secretaries, who took up their posts on 1 April, to carry out a review of their new ministries and submit pragmatic budget bids for their revised areas of responsibility

The PFM Ordinance conferred an Accounting Officer role on all Permanent Secretaries from 1 April 2012. Permanent Secretaries are now legally responsible for the proper use and accounting of public funds by all departments within their ministry, as well as statutory bodies that fall under their remit. In the case of statutory bodies, financial powers are delegated to Directors/CEOs who are held at the same standards as a Permanent Secretary/Accounting Officer

Work is in progress to improve the speed and quality procurement and contracting processes used by TCIG by reform of the present central procurement model, development of a central contracting unit and introduction, where appropriate, of other forms of contract management such as category management, pricing and market testing, framework contracts and proactive management of existing contracts to ensure the public get good value for money.

Milestone 4 – Implementation of budget measures to put the TCI government on track to achieve a fiscal surplus in the financial year ending March 2013

This is a milestone that will continue to demand vigilance. Public expenditure overall for the last financial year (up to 31 March 2012) was lower than the previous one, although unplanned events pushed the final total off-track. This was due in part to the need to tackle the NHIB funding shortfall for the hospital contract and to cover more unpaid bills from the past that surfaced during the year, such as disputed medical treatment expenses with overseas providers and accumulated electricity charges and debts.

An intense and challenging budgeting round has been held since January alongside the slimming down of the number of ministries to five. The new budget is expected to confirm it is possible to achieve and sustain a financial surplus in TCIG’s current (checking) account.

Creating a surplus in TCIG’s annual accounts, where more money is received than expended, can be used to invest wisely in replacing key elements of the national infrastructure, as well as paying off part of the national debt. It is absolutely essential to rebuild the country’s creditworthiness in the eyes of the international community. Over time, restoring an acceptable credit rating for TCI will permit the country to refinance the remainder of its debt at an affordable interest rate when the UK loan guarantee expires in 2016.

Whilst government revenues have improved and public expenditure has fallen, the ability to produce a financial surplus in TCIG’s annual accounts requires vigilance to recognise and mitigate possible external economic shocks, for example major unplanned expenditures or changes in the costs of imported fuel and goods. During the last quarter:

• Considerable effort has been made within TCIG to contain the public sector budget into the future. A voluntary severance scheme was largely completed at the end of March when over 400 people left the civil service. This exercise has reduced the size of the civil service to its 2004 level

• Revenue income has been improved by more rigorous enforcement of existing charges. Further work in this area should tackle the apparent 40% drop-out rate in business licence renewals and gather in payments to TCIG required under Development Agreements

• There are still too many statutory bodies and several have salary levels and terms and conditions that are more generous than their sponsor ministries. Around $10m was spent in the last financial year on running these bodies and for most little or no assessment of their value for money has been undertaken. In January there were 37 bodies in existence. Whilst some are essential or required by the Constitution, they still need to prove their worth alongside the others. By the end of April three bodies were wound up: TC Invest, the Business Licensing Committee and the Business Licensing Appeal Tribunal. Their functions where still necessary have been reabsorbed into TCIG or ways have been found to provide them in a more efficient manner. As a precursor, the Ministry of Finance has placed the same requirement on statutory bodies as for ministries to reduce operational costs in 2012/13 by a further ~25% compared to the last financial year. It is expected this should be achieved by improving operational efficiencies and cutting out unnecessary expenditure. For example, the NIB and NHIB have been asked to combine their separate and duplicative contributions collection operations. Both schemes require payments to be made from salaries and other incomes so a practical plan for joint working should be possible

• Permanent Secretaries now have to sponsor each statutory body and they have been asked to identify if further bodies should be considered for closure, merger or transfer to the not-for-profit sector. Where changes have been identified they will be taken forward by ministries in the coming months and for those that will continue, very close scrutiny of individual business cases will be given to those that require their boards to be renewed on 31 May

• During this quarter, following intensive work by the Ministry of Finance, the compilation of the national accounts for the years of 2008/09 and 2009/10 were completed, alongside the better evidenced accounts for 2010/11 and 2011/12. TCIG is eager to publish these to demonstrate the trend in financial improvement and will do so once they have completed external audit. This audit step is under way for some time but the number of weeks it will take to complete is outside the of the control of TCIG

• A VAT Green Paper was published in March that lays out steps to be taken up to April 2013 to reform the tax system by introducing this change. It also informs the commercial sector of the preparations they will be required to undertake

• The TCIG’s economic planning team have been brought into the core of government and delivered two important tasks since January. First, they organised and led a meticulous and comprehensive national census and are now busy compiling and analysing the data. Second, work has begun on a medium term economic plan. Whilst this work requires further data to be collected from within TCIG and key business sectors, it is expected a report will be available for wider review and consultation from June. An economic development plan is an important step for TCI to show to the international community it has a sound view on what it seeks to achieve in maintaining and growing the economy over the next five years.

Milestone 5 – Implementation of a transparent and fair process for acquisition of Turks and Caicos Islander status

The nationwide consultation exercise led by the Consultative Forum ended in February. Over 140 email submissions were received, many of which represented a number of people. One submission, from The Men of Grand Turk, was signed by 387 Islanders. Hundreds of people attended a series of public meetings held on all of the islands. The high level of public engagement with this exercise was very welcome. In mid-March, the Consultative Forum met to confirm the messages received in response to the consultation. These messages are now being built into the preparation of a new ordinance to meet the milestone.

A transparent and fair process requires more than new law: it needs to be supported by clear policies and procedures and administered consistently by capable staff. The Ministry of Border Control and Labour is continuing to implement its comprehensive change programme, launched last year, to institute clear policies and consistent, lawful practice at every stage in the system. The aim is stronger borders, targeted and prioritised enforcement, effective employment services, and accurate and secure services for citizenship, civil registration and permanent status.

Achievements in the first quarter of 2012 include:

• Clearance of the long-standing backlogs of PRC and nationality cases

• Apprehension and removal of some high-harm individuals from TCI

• Significant progress towards putting the coastal radar system into operation. The mast and base facilities are being renovated and a recruitment exercise for radar operators is under way. A contract was let for the installation of radar equipment and work is planned for May and June.

Milestone 6 – Significant progress with the civil and criminal process recommended by the Commission of Inquiry, and implementation of measures to enable these to continue unimpeded

Thirteen people have been charged with criminal offences by the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team since late 2011. It is understood a number of lines of inquiry are still under investigation.

• In April sufficiency hearings before a judge were held for eleven of the defendants. Four defendants conceded there was sufficient evidence against them to stand trial and for the remainder the judge found there were sufficient grounds for all counts to be taken forward for trial. A further sufficiency hearing is scheduled for May for the other defendants and a plea and directions hearing, at which trial dates are expected to be set, is fixed for July

• The FCO announced a grant of £3.8 million at the end of April to reimburse costs by the SIPT investigations in 2011/12. A further grant of £745 000 was also made by the UK to cover construction costs to rehabilitate the court facilities on Providenciales

• The pursuit of civil recovery cases has continued actively throughout the last quarter. This work is detailed and the prospect of further recoveries remain strong

• Work has continued since late 2011 to prepare three new ordinances: Crimes Ordinance, Criminal Procedures Ordinance and a Legal Professions Ordinance. Initial drafting has been completed and it is expected these will be published by the AG’s Chambers in draft form for consultation in May or June 2012.

Milestone 7 – Implementation of a new Crown land policy

This milestone was completed when the Crown Land Ordinance came into force in March. To ensure the new arrangements for Crown land are implemented successfully various reforms are in place:

• The management of Crown Land, land valuation and land surveying has been moved to the management and control of the Attorney General

• A new Commissioner of Lands has been appointed and is answerable to the Attorney General

• The final approval for the sale of Crown Land in the future will be signed off by the Governor’s Office.

An outstanding matter is the recruitment of a permanent Land Registrar. The UK has agreed to fund further temporary assistance until the summer to provide a further opportunity for a suitable person to be found.

Milestone 8 – Substantial progress in the reform of the Public Service

This reform is not simply a matter of re-sizing departments or moving people from one team to another. It involves changing attitudes in the workplace, innovating new methods of working and reorientation of activities to provide the general public with a more welcoming and friendly service. This milestone involves creating the conditions for impartial policy-making, establishing sensible boundaries to ministerial influence in the internal affairs of a ministry, adjusting the number and structure of ministries and units, and improvements in the volume and quality of services delivered:

• Nine ministries and 13 permanent secretaries were reduced to five each on 1 April

• Following the voluntary release scheme the civil service has returned in size to its 2004 level. No further major rationalisation is expected but the recruitment freeze will continue, except in justifiable cases, and remuneration arrangements will be unaltered

• Further performance management, service quality and policy-making training for the new PSs, managers and key officials in TCIG will be undertaken during 2012

• A new Directorate for Human Resources has been created to replace OPSM

• A new Public Service Ordinance is being prepared by the EU-funded legislation team, together with a rewritten set of General Orders. One intention of this work is to return the determination of staff discipline and performance management to line managers within ministries and give a new, strategic role to the Public Service Commission. These changes are expected to be completed in the next quarter

• A separate project began in April to identify efficiencies and opportunities to pool effort, amongst four, small statutory bodies whose roles are defined in the Constitution, whilst maintaining their individual identities: Public Services Commission, Human Rights Commission, Integrity Commission and Complaints Commission

• New terms and conditions, more similar to the civil service, have been drawn up and will be applied to new board level appointees on statutory bodies. Many of the remaining statutory bodies will have to conform to the new terms and conditions when the boards are renewed at the end of May.

Whilst not specifically part of this milestone, it is pleasing to report:

• Police reform is progressing smoothly and the subject of separate progress reporting to the Governor and Advisory Council

• Prison reform has led to many changes in the regime at HM Prison Grand Turk and the creation of work training and activity programmes for prisoners. For example, the expansion of the prison farm into poultry and eggs has been reported recently in the media. Sentence management for prisoners has been implemented and interventions targeted to assist offenders for life after prison, such as Anger Management and ‘Just Think’ cognitive therapy. Work continues on court video links and plans for a remand centre on Providenciales. These should reduce the need to transport prisoners to court by plane from Grand Turk, with savings in cost and improvements in convenience for all concerned.

DFID has stepped up its assistance to TCIG in April with the establishment of a staffed Programme Office working with Chief Executive Officer. Its role is to identify improvements and maintain momentum in the reform and restructuring under way across every ministry and with the statutory bodies. This will be an active and intensive area of work during the next quarter. Ultimately, the desire is to build up within the civil service a culture of continuous improvement. Incentives and rewards for improvement in service, as well as for outstanding work, are one part of this culture change and these will be reviewed as part of the reform of General Orders.

In conclusion

Sustained and impressive progress has been made in the first quarter of 2012. It is to the credit of all involved in modernising the public service, governance processes and financial management of TCI that step by step the necessary improvements established by the milestones are being fulfilled.

 published on 07th May 2012 in TCI News Now

Further Doubts About Elections This Year in Turks and Caicos Islands

 

United Kingdom (UK) ministers have cast further doubt about the possibility that elections that will return the Turks and Caicos Islands to self-rule will be held this year.
“It is clear that while significant progress has been made in many areas, further work remains to be done before UK Ministers can judge significant enough progress to allow them to reinstate the Constitution, thus triggering fresh elections,” said Governor Ric Todd who has just returned from an official visit to the UK where he met with UK Ministers.
“For some of the milestones, such as those relating to the constitution and Crown Land, for example, there is little left still to do. Others such as the pathway to acquiring Islander status should be well on the way to completion later this summer. We must continue to give UK Ministers confidence that the country is run according to its stated budget and a fiscal surplus will be achieved this financial year. The milestone relating to substantial progress in the ongoing criminal investigation will require their clear judgment given that the trials will not be completed this year.”
Parts of the TCI Constitution were suspended in August 2009. Elections were constitutionally due in 2011, but over the past few months, certain British officials have been teasing residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands with promises that elections will be held this year.
The Governor added: “The real story behind this update, however, is that there are a great many people both here in the TCI and the UK too working very hard towards achieving these milestones which will make this country a fairer and more transparent society in which to live, visit and to do business in. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for all of their hard work and commitment.”
According to a press release from his spokesman Neil Smith, Governor Todd will now conduct public meetings in North and Middle Caicos on May 10 and 11, Salt Cay and South Caicos on May 14 and 15, with dates still to be confirmed for Providenciales and Grand Turk, where he will personally update community representatives.

The primary objectives of the Interim Administration, expressed through the milestones, to: stabilise the financial position of the Turks & Caicos Islands; update laws and legal safeguards to ensure fairer decision making; reform weaknesses in land and immigration matters;  put in place robust public finance procedures and create a more efficient public service.
Posted May 7 2012 in SUN TCI

 

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