Stressing that the British are on “a mission to tarnish the reputation of Turks and Caicos Islanders”, Leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP), Clayton Greene said that being arrested by the Helen Garlick-led Special Prosecution and Investigation Team (SIPT) is no justification for him to step down as leader of that political organisation.
Greene made his position clear after an email calling him to relinquish the leadership post was circulated to media houses and some of his political colleagues by an anonymous group called the TCI Militia, after he was arrested, bailed but not charged on January 17th, in relation to his law firm’s handling of one million dollars which his cousin Quinton Hall received from the sale of land for a proposed upscale condominium development in North West Point.
“I am going to continue going forward. I have been arrested. And so, until something else happens, I am going to go forward as leader of the party. If something else does happen, then the party would have to reassess its situation, but no one should be in any doubt that an attack on Clayton Greene will stop the forward march of the Progressive National Party.
“If I leave tomorrow, there are people that will lead the party to the future. So from a partisan perspective, even though I accept that the British may well see this as an attempt to control or manipulate who will lead the PNP. The PNP will be led,” Greene insisted
Greene, a former speaker of the House, did says however, that should charges be slapped on him on February 7, when he is to return to the Office of the SIPT, he would have to reconsider whether or not his decision would affect the future of the party.
“I think ultimately that if there is a charge, one has to reassess his position whether he can move forward, whether it is in the best interest of the party for him to move forward with a charge hanging over his head. That is something that I would have to seriously consider. And certainly, in those circumstances, a resignation is not off the cards and it would be the noble thing to do,” Green said.
In the meantime, Greene said he felt victimized on the grounds that the British want to punish him since he served in the former Michael Misick administration, before he was forced from office by members of his party who turned against him, in the twilight of that administration.
“It is the only reason that I am being investigated. The SIPT cannot be convinced of my guilt because there is nothing there. And so, I am satisfied. The only reason that I have been arrested is to further, in my view, what is a mission by the administration, using the SIPT, to criminalize the people of this country, and more so, to cut off the heads of persons who they feel are leading political parties in the directions that they don’t want the parties to go. If you are prepared to challenge them in this country, then you ought to be wary,” Greene argued.
He added: “. By now we should all be aware that the British are on a mission to tarnish the reputation of Turks and Caicos Islanders and that cannot be right and it certainly is not in the best interest of the Turks and Caicos Islands and we should continue to fight against it at all cost. While we cannot control their actions we can control our responses to them. We should never allow them to divide us. My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders let me assure you that I have been honest in all of my dealings both professionally and politically. To those who would wish to see the PNP obliterated from the political landscape and are for that reason reveling in the news of my arrest you have my sympathies. The PNP is much bigger than me or any single politician. It is here to stay and will outlive all of us. To those in the Administration and elsewhere who think that my arrest will somehow make me less critical of an incompetent, arrogant, and vindictive Administration or for that matter cause me to fail to make public my belief that the Interim Administration, SIPT and the Civil Recovery Team are together perpetrating the greatest rape of Turks and Caicos Islanders that we have seen since the days of slavery then you don’t know me at all and you are sorely mistaken as you will come to see.”
Giving background to the circumstances which led to his arrest, Greene said that in December 2011, he was approached by SIPT, who wanted to interview him concerning US$1 million which his cousin Quinton Hall had received for his 2006 sale of a his interest in Crown land. He said he did not act for Hall in the sale, however his proceeds of sale were deposited a trust account which his lawfirm firm operated at TCI Bank and from which he disbursed the funds on Quinton’s instructions.
“The relevant funds were drawn on the account of a reputable institution in the Turks and Caicos Islands held at a commercial bank in the Turks and Caicos Islands and I had no reason to suspect that they were anything other than clean funds. When I deposited the funds into my account its source was declared to the bank and the bank did not question me further on it. I also had no reason to doubt that the transaction was anything other than legitimate. I say to you as I said to the investigators during the interview when he mentioned the phrase flipping in a negative Sense, that this term has only been criminalized in recent years and that many people, some of them Englishmen, made millions trading in Turks and Caicos Islands land, and concessions that ought otherwise to have brought benefit to Turks and Caicos Islanders.”
“All of a sudden when Turks and Caicos Islanders benefit it has without more, become criminal. I believed then, as I do now, that these funds were 100% legitimate and the investigators have not said anything during the interview to persuade me that as regards the transaction with which my firm was concerned that I was mistaken in that belief,” Greene said.
The PNP Leader said that notwithstanding contrary advice both legal and otherwise, he ultimately decided to cooperate with SIPT and agreed to be interview under caution. He said he understood from the investigators that his arrest was “procedural in order to facilitate their obtaining the caution statement”.
Greened continued: “I feel that if I am to continue to be true to my duty to always be truthful and open with the people of this country, then I have no choice but to cooperate. In a corruption investigation, however prolonged and expensive and sometimes unfair and one-sided it might be, I do not have the luxury of hiding behind a right to silence, because I am the one asking the people of this country to trust me and to have faith in my judgment and in my character and this is something they cannot do if in the circumstances of a corruption investigation I am seen not to be cooperating.”
Greene said he will continue to be truthful in connection with this or any matter upon which the SIPT choose to question him.
eantime, in another statement which was directed to the PNP Militia, Greene said he would like to express a sincere hope that when a request for the resignation of any, leader is made, that those making the request be brave enough to identify themselves and not behind masks and meaningless names.
He stated: “If you would remove the mask from your face you will quickly see that this country is at war. The war is not with political leaders particularly those who are prepared to stand up and speak out against the injustices of this evil regime and in so doing subject themselves to all manner of abuse by an unchecked Executive. These abuses include arrest, charge, and imprisonment. The war, my friend, is against those who seek to cripple our economy, to stifle the growth of our middle class, to repossess our land and render us a country of tenants paying rents to white men, to dismantle our institutions, to take over our parliament and deny us representation, to burden us with unbearable taxes, to criminalize us all and thereby remove from our children those examples of Turks and Caicos Islanders that engender in them pride and a sense of place. If you are the soldier you claim to be, join the Leader of the Progressive National Party in fighting the real enemy.”
Greene added: “The Leader of the Progressive National Party will not run and hide at the first shot of battle as you suggest he does. He will not be silenced by the declaration of war. Your faceless request for him to step aside made not 24 hours following his arrest is respectfully denied. This country needs soldiers, men and women of strength and courage. People who understand that in war there will be casualties and are prepared to take that risk. What we do not need and ought not to tolerate are frauds – self proclaimed militia men. We need Comrades who will band together in true brotherhood to fight the common enemy for the common good.
There is no place on this battle ground for the self righteous weak who parade around in a cloak of anonymity and self importance throwing daggers at the very ones brave enough to fight.”
Posted Jan 23 2012 in SUN TCI,the leading newspaper in Turks and Caicos Islands