Cem Kinay.Ruya Adasinda Kabus

Dellis Cay, Turks and Caicos, West Indies

Avusturya’da tarihin en başarılı turizm girişimcisi olan Cem Kınay, Karayipler’de ilgisi olmayan bir siyasi kavganın içine iradesi dışında sürüklendi ve İnterpol’den hakkında kırmızıbülten çıkarıldı.
Bir subayın oğlu olan Türk Cem Kınay, Avusturya’da doktor olduktan sonra, ihtisası sırasında sıfırdan kurduğu turizm işinde, seyahat pazarının %60’ına hakim olarak bir turizmimparatorluğu kurdu. Turizm şirketi Gulet ile birlikte sahibi olduğu 19 adet Magic Lifeotellerine yılda yüz binlerce Avusturyalı’yı tatile gönderdi. Bugün ise 54 yaşındaki Cem Kınay varını yoğunu kaybetmek tehlikesi ile karşı karşıya. Oysa o sadece, şirketler grubunun 2004 yılında gerçekleştirilen Almanya seyahat devi TUI’ye satışından sonra bir başkavizyonunu gerçekleştirmek istiyordu. Issız bir adanın geliştirilerek turizme kazandırılması.

2005 yılında Karayip sahillerindeki Dellis Cay’in beyaz sahiline ilk defa ayağını bastığında“İşte o ada burası” dedi.
İngiliz müstemlekesi Turks and Caicos adalarına ait olan 560 hektar büyüklüğündeki bu küçük adayı bir İtalyan asilzadesinden 18 milyon dolar’a satın aldı. Burası tüm dünya elitleri için lüks bir tatil cenneti olacaktı. Zaha Hadid’den Pierro Lisoni’ye kadar dünyanın en önemli mimarlarından yedi tanesi villalar, apartmanlar ve Mandarin Oriental Group için lüks bir otel tasarımı yaptı.
Mimari dergiler proje hakkında “dünyanın en trendy mimari kum adası” yazıyordu. Kınay tüm birikimlerini bu işe yatırdı. Ve başkalarını da yatırima ikna etti.

Ancak, Turks and Caicos’un Başbakanı Michael Misick ile birlikte gerçekleştirdiği temel atma töreninde Kınay, Karayipler rüyasının çok yakın zamanda bir kabusa dönüşeceğini tahmin etmiyordu. İktidar partisi seçimlerden önce bir cok orada is yapan is adamiyla beraber bağış için onun da kapısını çaldı. Kınay “Bağış talebini avukatlarıma sordum. Bana parti bağışlarının tamamen yasal olduğunu beyan ettiler” dedi. “Şirketim de “tamamen açık, şeffaf ve yasal” bir şekilde 500.000 dolar bağış yaptı.” Bir süre sonra çıkan bir kasırga sonrası parti yeniden bağış talebinde bulundu ve Kınay’ın şirketi 200.000 dolar daha bağışta bulundu.

Bu cömertlik onun kötü kaderi haline gelecekti. 2008 yılının Ağustos ayında Büyük BritanyaDevleti ağır yolsuzluk suçlamalarından ötürü Misick’i görevden alıp parlamentoyu feshetti ve adaların özerk yönetimini düzenleyen anayasayı yürürlükten kaldırdı. Bu konuyla ilvili olarak siyasi gözlemciler İngilizlerde, Turks and Caicoslular’ın Kanada’ya bağlanma tercihleri ve daha da ötesi tam bağımsızlık taleplerine yönelik bir çabanın rahatsızlığı olduğunu tahmin ediyorlar.

Kınay bu olaylardan önce İngiltere Kraliçe’sine ait bir başka adanın daha bir kısmını satın almıştı. Joe Grant adlı bu adanın 200 hektarı için şirketleri 3,2 milyon dolar ödedi ve bir sonraki projesini hayata geçirmek üzere çalışmalara başladı. Yine bir otel ve villalar yapılmak üzere yola çıkılan bu projede de ortağı İtalya Lüks Grubu Bulgari idi.

İngilizler tarafından görevlendirilen adanın yeni sömürge valisi, Kınay’ı hükümete rüşvet verdiği için ada hissesini ucuza elde ettiğini iddia ederek kendisine asılsız suçlamalarda bulundu. Daha sonra ise her şey ardı ardına geldi. Araştırma komisyonunu henuz sonuçlanmamamış ve hatalı ara raporu yerel medyaya sızdırıldı. Bunun üzerine Dellis Cay projesine finansman sağlayan Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation bankası vermiş olduğu krediyi geri çağırdı. İngilizler de hükümet hakkındaki rüşvet soruşturması için bir özel yetkili savcı tayin ettiler. Dellis Cay de insaat durduruldu ve her iki ada da kayyum yönetimine bırakıldı. O günden beri, yani üç yıldır yarısı bitmiş olan binalar artık yıpranma tehlikesi ile karşı karşıya. Burada mağdur olan sadece Kınay olmadı.İnşaatın ilerlemesine istinaden onunla beraber bu işe girerek 100 milyon dolar yatırmış olan diğer yatırımcılar da mağdur oldu.
Kınay bütün bunların sonucunda kendisini yerel ve İngiliz menfaat grupları arasındaki siyasi bir kavganın kurbanı olarak görüyor. Herşeyi sıfırdan kendi kendine yaratan girişimci işadamı Kınay, Istanbul Maslak Sheraton Otelinde yapılan KURIER röportajında “Joe Grant adasının alımında sözleşme partneri hükümet değil, tam tersine bir önceki İngiliz sömürge valisi idi. Fiyatı o belirletti, inceledi ve satış sözleşmesini imzaladı” diye vurguladı. Nitekim, aralarında Richard Ellis ile Ernst&Young şirketlerinin de olduğu bağımsız beş denetleme şirketinin raporlarında da, adanın satış sözleşmesindeki aynı fiyat tespit edilmişti.

Kınay “Kimseye rüşvet vermedim ve daha başlangıçtan beri savcılık ile tam işbirliği yaptım” diyor.

2011 yılı Ekim ayında İstanbul’da kendi isteği ile yapılan sorgulamadan sonra savcılıktan bir daha haber almadı. Ta ki Turks and Caicos’un talebi üzerine İnterpol Temmuz ayı başlarında “Kırmızı bülten” çıkartana ve Kınay kendisini arananlar listesinde bulana kadar. Ancak ne Türkiye ne de Avusturya Kınay’ı şu an itibarıyla Karayipler’e iade etmeyecektir.

Kınay “İlk önce çok şaşırdım. Sadece hayatım boyunca bütün yarattıklarım tahrip edilmedi, itibarım da mahvedilme tehlikesi ile karşı karşıya” diyor, “Haklarım için mücadele etmeye devam edeceğim ve atağa geçeceğim”. Bu bayagi masrafli olacak onun icin.Bugüne kadarki vekil masraflarını ödemek için Miami’de bulunan evini ederinden çok ucuza satmak zorunda kaldı. Satıştan gelen gelir de mahkeme vesayetine verildi. Şimdi ise kendisine ailesi ve uzun yıllardan beri ortağı olan Oğuz Serim mali yardımda bulunuyorlar. Adalara tedbir konulmasına karşı mahkemeye itirazda bulundu. Ancak sömürge valisi, Joe Grant adasının Sotheby’s üzerinden açık artırmaya çıkarılacağını duyurdu. Kınay ”Bu aşikar bir şekilde yasalara aykırıdır, itiraz davası devam ediyor” diyerek kızgınlığını belirtiyor.

Bu arada geçtiğimiz ilkbaharda New York’ta bir başarı elde eti. Dellis Cay’deki 30 villa alıcısından sekizi mahkemeye başvurarak tazminat ödenmesini talep ettiler. Ancak bu dava red edildi. Kendisinin ilk villa müşterilerinden olan Hollywood yıldızı Michael Douglas ve eşi Catherine Zeta Jones ise hiç bir zaman şikayette bulunmadılar.

Kınay, Dellis Cay projesini tekrar hayata geçirmek için her şeyi denemek istiyor. “Bütün bu olaylar dehşet verici. Ben her zaman sözümü tuttum. Daha gencim ve ticari hayatıma tabii kidevam edeceğim”.

“Olağanüstü kariyer, mutlak bir itibar”

O Avusturya Turizm ekonomisinin yıldızıydı. Öyle ki, ekonomi bakani Martin Bartenstein göğsüne bir devlet nişanı taktı. Dönemin Avusturya Havayolları Başkanı Mario Rehulka 1997 yılında ekonomi dergisi Trend tarafından “Yılın adamı”seçilen Kınay’a “Olağanüstü bir kariyer. Üstün müşteri kalitesi odaklı olup birinci kalite bir iş anlayışına ve işe sahiptir” diyerek işine karşı duyduğu ciddiyeti resmileştirdi. “Eğer yolsuzluk yapabileceğine dair enufak bir belirti dahi olsaydı, Avusturya Havayolları ona Touropa Tur Operatörünü satmazdı”. Eski hava yolları işletmecisi Niki Lauda, bir zamanlar en büyük müşterisi olan Kınay hakkında “sert bir müzakereci, ancak mükemmel bir iş kalitesi ve sözünün eri” dedi.
TUI Holding yönetim kurulu üyesi olan Eski Başbakan  Almanların yönetime girmesi ile Kınay’ın da yönetim kurulu üyesi oldu. Aynı zamanda Magic Life Club’lardan çokmemnun bir tatilci olan Vranitzky “Tamamen işine angaje ve fikirlerine inandığım Kınay,bazen işlettiği otellerin sahipleri karşısında belki biraz fazla iyimser” diye düşünüyor.

Bu makale Avusturya KURIER gazetesinde 22 Temmuz 2012 tarihinde yayinlandi.

STATEMENT OF DR CEM KINAY WITH RESPECT TO THE JOE GRANT SALE.THE TRUTH.

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Statement of Dr Cem Kinay with respect to the Joe Grant Cay’s Sale

Istanbul, Turkey 18 December 2013

I understand from Turks and Caicos Islands media sources that a 200 acre parcel of Joe Grant Cay has been sold for $4.04m in October 2013 in a transaction that was never made public.

I was sure that one day, the truth about Joe Grant Cay’s true value will come to the light, Today, is my day. For the past 6 years, I have been living stripped of my basic human rights and assets just because the TCI Courts have concluded in connection with a political donation made to Michael Misick on 9 January 2007 “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 (Joe Grant Cay) development” disregarding the fact that there was in reality no benefit at all, as we have paid the true and accurate value of this land which was USD 3.2 million for the same 200 acres parcel back in 2008.

More specifically, 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 parcel 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 my development companies have paid in full.

What is more astonishing was the fact that 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 omitting BCQS’s clear statement specifying “commercial use” in its report, The Hon. Chief Justice violated our right to a fair trial, and unfairly favored the Turks and Caicos Islands Government by omitting what the true valuation report states. Instead, the Hon. Chief Justice relied on a series of valuation reports prepared by the Turks and Caicos Island’s own employee Mr. Hoza, which are at best confused. Mr. Hoza’s valuation reports valued the 200 acre parcel at a whopping 45 million for commercial use!

For those who doubt that the Development of Joe Grant Cay is not innocent, I have only one question: We have paid 3.2 million in 2008 for this 200 acre land, and today, 6 years later, the same land has been sold for 4.04 million in an open market transaction ! I ask you what happened to the alleged tens of millions of dollars that the Government and some of our opponents claimed that this land was supposed to be worth?

I have the answer: The alleged valuation of this island was a big lie ! Joe Grant Cay’s 200 acre was never valued more than what we paid for. That was the exact reason why many internationally repute valuation companies as well as all the local valuation companies have valued it at the exact value that we paid for it. That is why both Hon. Governor Tauwhare, and later on Hon. Governor Whetherell have approved and executed the sale of this 200 Acre land to us for USD 3.2 million, and that was why the sale was approved by the Attorney General, TCI Invest, Ministers, and the Premier.

In fact, there was no “favor” from anyone for Joe Grant Cay. In fact, we have paid the true value of this land, and the shameless dark forces took away from us alleging the “undervalue” sale. The evidence is before you, the same land is now sold for USD 4.04 million after 6 years.

In the past five years, I have been victimized by politics. My assets were frozen and hundreds of people lost their jobs. I could have developed Joe Grant Cay and create much needed jobs, and further tourism income for Turks and Caicos Islands. I was denied my fundamental right to a fair trial in TCI, a red notice application has been filed with the Interpol for my arrest. I am calling upon the TCI Government and the Attorney General to end these groundless accusations against me, return my assets, and clear my name as I have done nothing wrong.

God Bless

JOE GRANT SCANDAL IN TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

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The below article ,published in June 2012 in SUN

By Royal S. Robinson, MBE
The Interim Administration continues to try to have its cake and eat it as well as to operate in a very non-transparent way. When you take into consideration the premise on which they took over the country from the duly elected local representatives, the actions so far have not been to show you how best to get the job done, but how best to carry on the process by which cronyism is the hallmark of the day and picking winners of your own choosing is the best was in which to do business.
The British Government, FOC, DFID, SIPT and the Civil Recovery team declared that the original sale of land by the TCI government to Platinum was a corrupt transaction and as such should be recovered and redound to the benefit of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Steps were taken through the Court system to have the land returned to the Crown and the court agreed that the land should be returned. No sooner than this exercise was completed (Platinum seem not to take an interest in appealing the court’s decision), there seems to be a concerted effort being made to now ensure that the Turks and Caicos Islands’ people do not benefit effective from the return of that land.
The first part of the deception and deceit started with the decision to sell the land to satisfy a mortgage that had been placed on the property by Temple as a result of Platinum borrowing some $2M and using the property as collateral. My understanding of the legal system is that if a leaf of the fig tree is tainted, then the whole tree is tainted. As it relates to this particular transaction, if it was corrupt for Platinum to obtain the land in the first instance, then any subsequent transaction had to be corrupt also.
So why was there a rush on behalf of the Interim Administration to satisfy Temple Mortgage? There can be one inference to be drawn and that is that someone in the Administration or very close to the Administration had something to be gained by the sale of the land by the government to satisfy the debt to Temple!
According to all previous pronouncements by the Interim Administration, all of the land that had been reacquired as a result of some fraudulent activity would be kept in the land bank for future generations to benefit from. So what is the real rush to dispose of this land at this time? Something smells fishy here.
Now in the proper scheme of things, if the Interim Administration had a real reason to dispose of the land for the benefit of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the first thing it should have done was to specifically say so. Following on from that, it should have issued a Request for Proposals. If as they like to claim they are operating in an open and transparent manner, and they want to get the best value for money, that is what would have happen. But they have decided to pick winners from “their side of the ledger”. What is that called? Is it Insider trading? Or is it nepotism? I thought those were the common faults and flaws identified by Sir Robin Auld as being part of the systemic weakness and corruption in the previous political administration that had to be rooted out. But like Courtney Missick likes to say, corruption has only changed its colour, from black to white!
Now let us look at the local firm that got to market and sell the 200 acres of land on Joe Grant Cay. It is Sotheby’s and its local affiliate is Connolly-Zahm! Is it just coincidental that one of the principals of Connolly-Zahm if Mrs. Josephine Connolly, the wife of Advisory Council member Joseph (Joe) Connolly? As Ernie Clarke likes to say “I have the documents”. I will definitely like to see the documents showing that there is no nexus at all!
The old Finance and Audit Ordinance and Financial Instructions, followed by the now brand new Public Finance Management Ordinance, all speak to a transparent process with respect to the procurement of services by government.
As I have indicated before, there should have been a tendering process set up and the firm with the best proposal selected to carry out the work. The worst case scenario would have been to short-list say six of the local real estate firm that have international connections and ask them to submit proposals, I could live with that. I would have thought that that would have given me some piece of mind that I would have been getting value for money.
What I still cannot fathom is how the governor fixed his mouth to call the initial land transaction of Joe Grant cay corrupt and it had to be returned to the people, but no sooner was that done, he is out there secretly trying to sell that asset. Something untoward must be afoot here. I just cannot for the life of me understand the amount of double standard that is being used by this Interim Administration, save to say that a concerted effort is being made dispose of everything of value that belong to us, in a manner that they feel and say that it is in our best interest so to do.
I have never seen so many thing done in my best interest, that am totally opposed to as is happening with these bumbling idiots at the helm. As time progresses, everyone is seeing that the Emperor has on no clothes and is operating in a clueless manner.
How the Interim Administration hopes to be able to get away with such blatant disregards for the rules that they say they came here specifically to enforce and demonstrate the ethics of doing things in the proper manner?
However, what they have and are demonstrating to us is that what we were doing was child’s play and they are certainly showing us how bad business should operate. That does not give us faith and comfort in these operators. That is why on the streets there is now total skepticism as to the real reason the intervention took place.
We must by now be in a position to determine for ourselves that what is currently being done to us is neither right nor fair! The reset button has now been pushed by the setting of the date for elections. We should all go out and get registered so that we can send a clear and unambiguous message to the Interim Administration that business as usual will not be the order of the day. Joe Grant Cay has not been sold as yet and it is not too late to restart the process on a proper footing.
There cannot be a rush as there is a surplus budget proposed, so the money from the sale is not critical to our financial position except that the Interim Administration is hell bent of getting from under the loan guarantee as quickly as possible and to hell with whatever adverse consequence to the Turks and Caicos Islands people!

published in Sun TCI

New Governor for Turks and Caicos Islands:Peter Beckingham

He will succeed Mr Ric Todd, who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Mr Beckingham will take up his appointment during October 2013.

Mr Beckingham is currently Deputy High Commissioner in India, heading the Mumbai –Western Indian offices. His previous appointments overseas include Ambassador to the Philippines (and non-resident Ambassador to Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands), Consul-General and Director-General of Trade and Investment Sydney, and Director British Information Services New York. He was a Director of the Joint FCO/DTI Export Promotion Directorate in London, ran the commercial section of the Embassy in Stockholm, and had a short-term secondment to Cadbury-Schweppes.

On his appointment as Governor of Turks and Caicos Islands, Mr Beckingham has said:

I am honoured and delighted to have been appointed Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I look forward to working with the elected government there to strengthen the Islands’ prosperity, and helping to support, with my wife, their rich culture, world-class environment and important relationship with the UK.

Curriculum vitae
Personal details
Full name: Peter Beckingham
Married to: Jill Mary Beckingham
Children: Two daughters

2010 – present Mumbai, Deputy High Commissioner
2005 – 2009 Manila, Ambassador
1999 – 2004 Sydney, Director-General of Trade & Investment, and Consul-General
1996 – 1999 FCO/DTI, Director, Joint Export Promotion Directorate
1992 – 1996 Canberra, Head of Political Section
1988 – 1992 Stockholm, Head of Commercial Section
1986 – 1988 FCO, Head, Horn of Africa Section, East African Department
1984 – 1986 FCO, Energy, Science and Space Department
1984 FCO, News Department (G7 Summit)
1979 – 1983 New York, Director, British Information Services
1974 – 1979 DTI, British Overseas Trade Board
1970 – 1974 Decca Record Company, Argo Division

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PREMIER SUPPORTS DOLPHINARIUM IN TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

Premier now supports dolphinarium
Published on May 17, 2013

At Wednesday’s House of Assembly meeting, Premier Rufus Ewing was asked about his position on the approval of captured dolphin sites for Providenciales and Grand Turk. Ewing responded that he would support whatever the people decided.

During recent consultations in Grand Turk, which were well attended, the possibility of a “swim with the dolphins” site in a fenced off area of North Creek met with general approval by residents.

However, it was revealed during the House session that there is no existing application for Grand Turk, only for Provo. To this Ewing said that, since it appeared Grand Turk would approve the captured dolphin site, the approval would apply to all islands. This then could put a site in Provo against the wishes of the people and environmentalists who previously rejected the idea.

When asked about dredging of the Leeward Channel, Ewing deflected this to the Planning Department, which has already rejected the dredging. However, just 48 hours earlier, Ewing said in a public statement that he will make sure that all decisions made by civil servants must be approved by government ministers before action is taken.

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TURKS AND CAICOS GOVERNANCE PRINCIPLES ISSUED

TCI governance principles issued
Published on May 9, 2013

In accordance with the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution Order 2011 section 28 the Secretary of State has issued a Statement of Governance Principles. This will be published in the Gazette on Friday 10 May.

The text of the statement is below:

TCI: Statement of Governance Principles – April 2013

In the exercise of their functions, all organs of government in the Turks and Caicos Islands have a duty to give effect to the following principles.

1. All Government action shall be taken in a manner designed to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms of every person in the Islands, as set out in the Constitution.

2. The government of the Islands should involve the participation of the people. The Government shall serve and take account of the interests of all the people in the Islands. In particular, where consultation is mandated by law, the Governor is required to be assured that the consultation process undertaken by Government was accessible and meaningful before assenting to any outcome following consultation.

3. All ordinances, regulations, policies and actions must be fair, proportionate, and capable of being implemented impartially. In particular, decision making required by law shall be objective, and the granting of discretionary powers shall be limited to those that are necessary for good government.

4. All decisions of government, whether by Ministers, elected representatives or public officials, shall be lawful, rational, proportionate and procedurally fair.

5. The Government shall maintain and publish a broad and long-term perspective on the sustainable development of the Islands, and shall encourage lawful business and economic activity. The Governor may require the Cabinet to produce a development plan for the islands at regular intervals, not longer than every four years.

6. The Government shall take steps to protect the environment in accordance with the Constitution and shall promote the protection thereof.

7. The implementation of government policy by the TCI public service shall be in accordance with the rule of law and internationally accepted standards. The Government shall respect the integrity and impartiality of the Public Service, shall engage with officials only through appropriate channels, and the Public Service shall be protected from partisan interference.

8. All public appointments shall be based on merit, and all public officials shall be treated fairly. All Government and public service officers shall comply with the Code of Conduct for Persons in Public Life.

9. All government bodies shall, in order to build confidence in their operations and effectiveness, be accountable and transparent to the public.

10. Government processes, institutions and information shall be directly accessible and transparent to those concerned with them as provided by law, and enough information provided to understand and monitor them. The Government shall keep and use information in line with applicable law. Decision-makers shall provide written reasons for decisions and advise applicants of their procedural rights.

11. The Government shall cooperate with and support the effective operation and independence of the institutions protecting good governance established by the Constitution and other oversight, regulatory and investigatory institutions.

12. Subject to the Constitutional provisions permitting the preferential treatment of TC Islanders the Government shall act in good faith and a fair manner that is non-discriminatory, for the benefit of all people in the Islands irrespective of race, national or social origin, political or other opinion, colour, religion, language, creed, association with a national minority, property, sex, sexual orientation, birth or other status. Services shall be made available on an equal basis, free of preference based on family ties, political allegiance, friendship or personal gain.

13. The Government shall at all times respect the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the impartial administration of justice.

14. The Government shall comply with international obligations applicable to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

15. The Government shall administer Crown Land and other Government assets in a lawful, transparent and equitable manner.

16. The Government shall manage public finances according to established principles of value for money, affordability, propriety and regularity, and in the interests of securing the sustained long term prosperity of the people of the Islands. In doing so, the Government shall also observe the principles set out in any framework document on public financial management made in accordance with the Constitution.

17. The Government shall ensure that financial decisions are made within the context of a medium-term plan which aims to achieve and sustain an annual budget surplus. The Government shall take action to mitigate fiscal risks, and ensure that liabilities, including debts, are sustainable and fully taken into account when setting and implementing budgets.

18. The Government shall ensure that a budget is approved which secures the effective operation of Government and which is in accordance with all relevant laws and standards.

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TREAT TOURISTS LIKE GOLD,SAYS OPPOSITION LEADER IN TURKS AND CAICOS

Treat tourists like gold, says opposition leader
Published on May 10, 2013

“We need to realize what we are doing and look at our visitors as very important, they need to be welcomed and when they encounter a problem we need to treat them like gold,” said opposition leader Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, when she was asked at a recent Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) press conference on how she felt about the treatment of two departing American tourists, who just one day apart were each found with a single unfired bullet in their luggage.

One, an 80-year-old retired neurosurgeon from Florida, was held in jail with a man accused of murder, where he was fed spicy grits and hot dogs.

“I will never look at a hot dog the same,” Horace Norrell told an American reporter interviewing him.

After spending the weekend in jail, because no judge would stay late on a Friday to hear his bail application, the senior citizen was reunited with his wife, who waited on him in the TCI. He was released on $4,000 bail and returned to the US.

Just one day earlier, a 60-year-old Texas woman, accompanied by her husband, was also found to have a single bullet in her luggage. In the woman’s case, the court remained open and granted her $4,000 dollars.

Meanwhile, neither the premier nor the minister for border control has addressed the issue, which is threatening the territory’s tourism industry. Americans are up in arms and are contacting their government about the incident. Many are reportedly cancelling planned visits to the TCI, some through fear that a similar fate could befall them and others in protest over the treatment of the two US visitors.

TCI Governor Ric Todd has said only that the law must be followed.

It is widely accepted locally that the bullets were planted in the visitors’ bags, but the identity of the perpetrators and their motive remains a mystery. There is, however, some speculation that this is yet another attempt to hold the TCI’s fragile tourism industry hostage to promote a political agenda.

The local tourism industry was directly attacked on two previous occasions by members of the ruling Progressive National Party (PNP) when they shut down the Providenciales international airport, once by a public demonstration that closed down access to the airport and the second by a strike of airport firefighters orchestrated by current Premier Rufus Ewing.

Meanwhile, the fragility of the territory’s principal source of revenue is illustrated by continuing media reports and commentary in the US – especially in the Herald Tribune in Sarasota, Horace Norrell’s home town in Florida.

On Wednesday, columnist Tom Lyons warned potential Turks and Caicos visitors to beware: “Your stay could be much longer than planned, with accommodations well below par.”

“Who knows what police were thinking as they hauled a 60-year-old Texas woman to jail for alleged possession of a bullet that she said she knew nothing about, but even the dimmest police administrator surely could have smelled a rat the next day when a second tourist was found to have exactly one bullet in his luggage, too. Sherlock Holmes has not even a distant relative in the Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police, it seems,” he continued.

“It is hard to imagine the degree of incompetence required when a police administrator or prosecutor is unable to deduce these must be false charges based on planted items designed to appear like evidence of what would be an absurd crime,” he said.

In accurately describing Governor Todd as an appointed career British diplomat, Lyons wrote, “There is no mention of him being a total twit, so it seemed reasonable at first to expect him to be as outraged as the average reader who encounters this story. After all, publicity over this visitor-targeted scam could seriously harm tourism, which is the Turks and Caicos only major industry if you don’t count the enabling of drug smuggling and money laundering.”

Lyons said that Todd has responded to an onslaught of public questions mainly by expressing his determination not to get involved.

“I don’t normally do travel advisories, but in my places-to-go ranking, Turks and Caicos just took a spot not far above North Korea,” Lyons concluded.

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