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 Cay Land Sells For $4m

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Joe Grant Cay Land Sells For $4m

Joe Grant Cay is home to 18th century ruins, a protected harbour and some of the country’s finest vistas
A LARGE plot of Crown land on the remote island of Joe Grant Cay was sold for $4.04m in October in a transaction that was never made public, the Weekly News can reveal.

This week Sotheby’s, the real estate company dealing with the sale, told the newspaper that a commercial developer purchased the 200 acre plot – once valued at $50 million – months ago.

TCI mortgage providers Temple Financial Group pushed through the sale of the land in order to recoup millions of dollars in outstanding Government debts.

The debt was originally created five years ago when the company awarded a $2.4 million mortgage to a prominent developer to purchase the sizable plot on the cay.

But he was later accused of corruption and following a lengthy civil recovery case the Government took back possession of the land – along with responsibility for the mortgage and the growing interest.

Temple gave the Government an opportunity to sell the land themselves to repay the debt and it was advertised on the Sotheby’s website for sale at $6.9 million.

But after a year and a half without a bite the company obtained ‘power of sale’ and finally offloaded the land for $2.8 million below its advertised price.

Power of sale gives the creditor the authority, upon default in the payment of a debt, to advertise and sell the property at public auction, without resorting to a court for authorisation.

Following a request for information, Sotheby’s broker Joe Zahm sent the Weekly News an email that explained: “Lot 25 ONLY sold for $4,040,000 in October. The rest of the island remains in TCIG control.”

The cash will pay off the Government’s debt with Temple Financial Group and any remaining will be put into the Government’s coffers.

However it is currently uncertain how much interest the mortgage accrued and if there is likely to be any money left over from the payment.

Minister of Finance Washington Misick told the Weekly News on Thursday (December 12) that he had not been briefed on the sale.

He explained that just months ago Temple Mortgage would have obtained “power of sale”.

But Misick added that he was unaware of any further details including whether the $4.04 million was more or less than the amount owed to Temple.

Meanwhile when asked why the transaction was not made public Premier Rufus Ewing on Thursday told the newspaper that the sale had “nothing to do with” the Government.

“A great portion of Joe Grant Cay is still owned by Government but the part sold is not a part of the Crown land there,” he said.

The development of remote Joe Grant Cay, located just east of Middle Caicos, was announced in mid-2008, shortly before the worldwide recession tightened its grip on the Islands.

Home to 18th century ruins, a protected harbour and some of the country’s finest vistas, the 710-acre cay was tipped to provide abundant job opportunities for local residents.

However Turkish-born developer Cem Kinay, who also headed the massive development at Dellis Cay, attracted a wealth of scrutiny during the 2008 Commission of Inquiry.

It was claimed that he purchased Joe Grant Cay for $7.7 million after it was valued at $178 million in June 2008.

This followed the payment of a $500,000 political donation to the PNP just a year earlier.

On June 24, 2010, the development agreement between the Kinay’s Star Platinum firms and the Government was terminated.

And that July civil recovery lawyers fought to have land on the tiny cay returned to the Crown along with damages and costs.

After initially filing a full defence, the Star Platinum companies then defaulted on court orders.

They were asked to provide further and better particulars of their defence, but did not do so in time, and the defence was struck out.

As a result, the Government opted for trial by evidence or admissions which took place in June 2011 at Providenciales Supreme Court.

Following lengthy civil recovery proceedings the recently resigned Attorney General Huw Shepheard released his judgement in TCI’s first major civil recovery case.

He said that there was “no satisfactory explanation” for a $500,000 political donation made by Dr Kinay to former Premier Michael Misick on January 9, 2007.

The judge added that there was “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”.

However, because the defendant did not show up to court to offer his evidence, Shepheard stressed that “nobody should be declared corrupt”.

Dr Kinay – bestowed with Belonger status by Misick’s former Government – has always denied allegations of corruption.

He also previously vowed to recoup all losses incurred by his firms as a result of the civil recovery team’s work.

The court ordered the return of the whole of Joe Grant Cay previously bought for $7.7 million to the TCI Government.

However one 200 acre parcel of land, which Kinay bought for just $3.2 million, was subject to a charge in favour of Temple Financial Group.

Star Platinum companies had borrowed $2.4 million from the company’s operating division Temple Mortgage and granted it a charge over the land as security.

TCIG “reluctantly concluded” that it had no choice but to sell the parcel of land in order to pay off what was owed.

In May 2012 Sothebys, instructed to act for the Government, placed parcel 30101/25 on the market for sale.

Earlier this year Temple forced through the sale of the land in order to repay the Government’s outstanding debts.

David Knight, chief executive officer of Temple Financial Group, was unavailable for comment .
Published in TCI Weekly News

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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

British Developer Pleads Guilty in Turks and Caicos Islands Corruption Case

British developer pleads guilty in Turks and Caicos corruption case
Published on June 3, 2013

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — British developer Richard Padgett pleaded guilty in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on Friday to charges of bribery and conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice by agreeing to present false or forged documents to a Commission of Inquiry.

At a plea and directions hearing on April 15, Mr Justice Harrison agreed that Padgett should be allowed to enter his pleas at the first reasonable opportunity. His case was adjourned to May 31, this being the next most convenient date for the judge to return to the TCI.

Padgett is currently suffering from ill health and in the opinion of his doctor is not fit to travel to the TCI, it was therefore agreed by the court that his pleas be entered from England, by a video link to the Supreme Court.

Padgett and the Crown were represented in both jurisdictions by counsel.

After his pleas of guilty were entered, the case was adjourned to September16 for mention as to the appropriate date of sentence.

Padgett, who has been on bail throughout the proceedings, remains on bail.

The TCI government also announced on Friday that it has settled all civil claims and proceedings against Padgett and his companies. That includes civil claims arising from the Third Turtle Development referred to in the report of the Commission of Inquiry, and a separate civil claim arising in relation to Crown land on East Caicos acquired by a company controlled by Padgett.

Under the settlement, Padgett has transferred to the government land valued at approximately US$7 million, and has made a cash contribution of $75,000 to the costs of investigating the claims.

This takes total land recoveries made by the civil recovery team to 3,058 acres, in addition to $19.6 million in cash paid or to be paid to the government.

Attorney General Huw Shepheard commented: “We are pleased that these disputes have now been settled with the transfer to TCIG of a substantial amount of further land of significant value. This settlement brings to a successful conclusion the civil claims brought in relation to the major developments referred to in the report of the Commission of Inquiry. As reported, other claims and investigations continue to be progressed by the Edwards Wildman civil recovery team.”

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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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TURKS AND CAICOS DROPS CONTROVERSIAL BULLET CHARGES AGAINST AMERICAN TOURISTS

Turks and Caicos drops controversial bullet charges against American tourists
Published on May 18, 2013

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — In separate press statements on Friday, the director of public prosecutions in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), JoAnn Meloche announced that she has decided to discontinue the criminal proceedings against the two elderly American tourists who were arrested last month on charges of each carrying a single bullet in their luggage.

“The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force have conducted a thorough investigation into this matter. After a review of the available evidence and taking into account all the circumstances, it is the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions to discontinue the criminal proceedings pursuant to section 100(2)(c) of the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution Order 2011,” the statements read.

On April 25, TCI police arrested Cathy Davis, the 60-year-old co-owner of a Dallas real estate firm, and charged her with carrying ammunition. She was released on $4,000 cash bail.

In a similar incident the following day, also at the Providenciales International Airport, police arrested Horace Norrell Jr., a retired neurosurgeon, who had traveled to the TCI with his wife to celebrate his 80th birthday. He was also charged with carrying ammunition.

After spending the weekend in jail, because no judge would stay late on a Friday to hear his bail application, the senior citizen was also released on $4,000 bail.

It is widely believed locally that the bullets were planted in the visitors’ luggage. However, the motive for doing so remains a mystery,

The treatment of Davis and Norrell by the TCI authorities gained the attention of two US senators – Bill Nelson of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Last week, Nelson and Cruz sent a letter to John Dinkelman, charge d’affaires at the American Embassy in Nassau, The Bahamas, requesting an “expedited investigation”.

Alleging that the incidents look like a “shakedown”, Nelson said later that he was expanding his original request to include not only similar incidents that have occurred since January but also “to include anytime.”

The incidents have seriously threatened the territory’s crucial but fragile tourism industry. Many Americans have reportedly cancelled 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.

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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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UK CHANCELLOR WELCOMES COMMITMENTS FROM CARIBBEAN TERRITORIES

UK Chancellor welcomes commitments from Caribbean territories to enhance transparency
Published on May 3, 2013

LONDON, England — Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has welcomed news that all those British Overseas Territories with significant financial centres have signed up to the UK government’s strategy on global tax transparency – marking a turning point in the fight against tax evasion and illicit finance.

Following the recent leadership shown by the Cayman Islands, the other Overseas Territories — Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands — have agreed to much greater levels of transparency of accounts held in those jurisdictions.

They have agreed to automatically share information bilaterally with the UK and multilaterally with the G5 — the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Under this agreement, much greater levels of information about bank accounts will be exchanged on a multilateral basis as part of a move to a new global standard.

The agreement will mean that the UK, along with other countries involved in the pilot, will be automatically provided with much greater levels of information about bank accounts held by their taxpayers in these jurisdictions, including names, addresses, dates of birth, account numbers, account balances and details of payments made into those accounts. This also includes information on certain accounts held by entities, such as trusts.

The Isle of Man – the first non-US jurisdiction to agree to greater exchange of information with the UK – has also agreed to join the multilateral initiative. Guernsey too has also expressed a clear interest.

These jurisdictions have, as well as this, committed to taking action to ensure they are at the forefront of transparency on company ownership. The British government is working closely with them ahead of the UK’s presidency of the G8. Earlier this year Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron identified tax transparency as a key priority for the summit.

This represents a step change in the level of international transparency and will make it much harder for people to escape paying taxes by hiding their money overseas.

Osborne has urged others to join this growing initiative.

He said, “This represents a significant step forward in tackling illicit finance and sets the global standard in the fight against tax evasion. I now hope others follow these governments’ lead and enter into similar commitments to this new level of transparency, removing the hiding places for those who seek to evade tax and hide their assets.”

These agreements builds on those the UK reached with Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey to exchange tax information automatically based on the automatic information exchange agreement with the US to implement the US FATCA law to tackle tax evasion. The British government sees this as setting a new standard in international tax transparency.

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US TARGETS CARIBBEAN BANK ACCOUNTS

US targets Caribbean bank accounts
Published on May 2, 2013

By Caribbean News Now contributor

SAN FRANCISCO, USA — Late Monday, a federal court in San Francisco granted an order authorising the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a summons seeking information about US taxpayers who may hold offshore accounts with FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB), a subsidiary of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

The IRS summons seeks records of FCIB’s United States correspondent account at Wells Fargo N.A., which will allow the IRS to identify US taxpayers who hold or held interests in financial accounts at FCIB and other financial institutions that used FCIB’s Wells Fargo correspondent account.

Pursuant to a petition filed by the United States, the court granted the IRS permission to serve what is known as a “John Doe” summons on Wells Fargo. The IRS uses John Doe summonses to obtain information about possible violations of internal revenue laws by individuals whose identities are unknown. This John Doe summons directs Wells Fargo to produce records identifying US taxpayers with accounts at FCIB and other banks that used FCIB’s correspondent account.

According to the declaration of IRS revenue agent Cheryl Kiger filed in support of the petition, FCIB is based in Barbados and has branches in 18 Caribbean countries. Although FCIB does not have US branches, it maintains a correspondent account in the United States at Wells Fargo Bank N.A.

As alleged in Kiger’s declaration, the IRS learned that US taxpayers were using FCIB to help them keep their offshore accounts undetected by the IRS and not to pay US federal income tax on money placed in those offshore accounts.

Kiger’s declaration describes her review of the information submitted by more than 120 FCIB customers who participated in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program.

According to the Kiger declaration, many of the FCIB customers in the John Doe class may have been under-reporting income, evading income taxes, or otherwise violating the internal revenue laws of the United States.

“The Department of Justice and the IRS are committed to global enforcement to stop the use of foreign bank accounts to evade US taxes,” said Kathryn Keneally, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “This John Doe summons is a visible indication of how we are using the many tools available to us to pursue this activity wherever it is occurring. Those who are still hiding should get right with their country and their fellow taxpayers before it is too late.”

“This summons marks another milestone in international tax enforcement,” said IRS acting commissioner Steven Miller. “Our work here shows our resolve to pursue these cases in all parts of the world, regardless of whether the person hiding money overseas chooses a bank with no offices on US soil.”

In a similar case, on January 28, 2013, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York entered an order authorizing the IRS to serve a John Doe summons on UBS AG, seeking records of Swiss bank Wegelin & Co.’s United States correspondent account at UBS, which will allow the United States to determine the identity of US taxpayers who hold or held interests in financial accounts at Wegelin and other Swiss financial institutions to evade federal income taxes.

Federal tax law requires US taxpayers to pay taxes on all income earned worldwide. US taxpayers must also report foreign financial accounts if the total value of the accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the calendar year. A deliberate failure to report a foreign account can result in a penalty of up to 50 percent of the amount in the account at the time of the violation.

The IRS currently has in place an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program where US taxpayers can come forward and disclose their offshore accounts and income.

A correspondent account is a bank deposit account maintained by one bank for another bank. Financial transactions involving US dollars flow through US banks. Therefore, foreign banks that do business in US dollars, but have no office in the US, obtain a correspondent account at a US bank in order to engage in such transactions.

These transactions leave a trail in the US that the IRS can access through the records of the correspondent bank accounts. These correspondent bank accounts have records of money deposited, money paid out through checks and money moved through the correspondent account by wire transfers. All of this information the IRS can obtain through a John Doe summons issued to the US bank holding the correspondent account.

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