Istanbul, Turkey 2 July 2012
I understand that Sotheby’s has been instructed to act for the Government, and has placed the 200 acres parcel 30101/25 of Joe Grant Cay on the market for sale at US$9.95 million. The parcel was recovered last year for the government following a claim by the Civil Recovery Team against my companies. I appealed the decision. The Appeal Court will decide later this year whether the Court’s decision was just and fair, as it was not.
The people of Turks and Caicos Islands must know that according to the Court documents submitted by the Attorney General:
- on 7 November 2006, Mr Shaban Hoza, Government’s own valuation officer, reported a freehold value of this land for commercial use to be $230,000 per acre, but advised that the Government (or the Crown) could negotiate a price of up to $330,000 per acre. Those figures produce a valuation of between US$46 million and US$66 million for this 200 Acres land for commercial use ;
- on 10 June 2008, this time Mr Hoza has produced a valuation of US$50 million for this 200 acres land for commercial use .
The Attorney General has quoted these valuations to build the Government’s case against our companies. The Court on the other hand, disregarded the Government appointed BCQS Limited’s US$3.2 million valuation for this 200 acres land for commercial use which was the basis for our purchase of Joe Grant Cay through our companies back in June 2008.
Now they are attempting to sell it at US$9.95 million.
The Government owes to TCI people, to declare the true value of the 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay, is it worth USD 50 million? US$250 million ? Or US$3.2 million that BCQS, a reputable Caribbean commercial firm has reported when they worked for the Government to confirm what must be the fair market price of this 200 acres?
If US$50 million is true, somebody is going to benefit US$40 million of Turks and Caicos People’s money.
If US$3.2 million is true, the Government should give us back our land,, that it claimed we bought at undervalue at the absence of a Development Agreement, in the midst of Worldwide economic crisis.
In any case, The Government must immediately stop the illegal sale of the 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay. This land is still the subject of an upcoming appeal between our companies and TCIG.
I appeal His Hon. Governor Richi Todd to suspend the sale of 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay. I also appeal to Sotheby’s Turks and Caicos Islands to immediately stop the sale of this land, which is still in dispute. I appeal to Temple Trust, to wait the results of the upcoming appeal.
Joe Grant Cay is a remote uninhabited cay located in a remote section of the archipelago between Middle Caicos and Easy Caicos, accessible only by sea. This Cay has no dock, no road, no electricity, no water neither any form of other infrastructure. The cay is composed mainly of consolidated rock with the ocean frontages consisting of either sand or “iron shore”. The elevation is low and the shallow water depths at some parts of the island for do not allow visitors to access other areas.
In 2008, We took a huge risk when we decided to invest into this property encouraged by his Hon. Governor Tauwahare, and ex Chief Minister Michael Missick.
I condemn the statements of certain people who claim that Joe Grant Cay will pay off TCI’s US$ 260 million debt to the UK. The best 200 acres of beach front parcel of Joe Grant Cay is up for sale US$9.95 million and it is unlikely that it will meet any buyer, unless the Government promise a preferential Development Agreement never seen before, with huge subsidies. Perhaps a preferential Development Agreement is already on the table, and the lucky buyer is already known. We will see what will come up behind the decision to sell this land so swiftly, without waiting the result of the appeal.
Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay Development Agreements:
Whether the Government has on the offer a preferential Development Agreement to the new buyer of Joe Grant Cay’s 200 acres, our Development Agreements had nothing
My companies have invested in Mandarin Oriental Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay projects since 2005 until August 2009. We were the largest investor of TCI history.
We have bought Dellis Cay at the time of His Hon. Tauwhare in June 2005 for USD 18 million from Mrs Dini Zingone. This deal was the largest private deal in TCI. I signed Dellis Cay’s development agreement dated July 2005 with Hon. Governor Tauwhare.
Further, on June 2008, we bought 200 acres of Joe Grant Cay island after 1,5 years of negotiations directly with the Attorney General, at the prices and terms determined by third parties appointed by His Hon. Tauwhare. On November 2008, our companies signed a Development Agreement for Joe Grant Cay after 2 years of intense negotiations, with the Attorney General. The signature on the Joe Grant Cay Development Agreement belongs to His Hon. Governor Wetherell.
Both Hon. Governors, have executed all Cabinet resolutions for Dellis Cay and Joe Grant Cay throughout their respective terms. I read in the press speculations about the Development Agreements of these projects. I have taken the decision to immediately publish in public both the former Development Agreement executed for Dellis Cay with Mrs. Zingone Dini before me, and the current Development Agreement for Dellis Cay signed by Hon Governor Tauwhare on July 2005.
I will also publish to public the Sale & Purchase Agreement signed by His Hon. Governor Tauwhare for Joe Grant Cay on June 2008, and the Development Agreement signed by His Hon. Gov. Whetherel for Joe Grant Cay on November 2008.
I am all for transparency. Therefore, I invite His Hon. Governor Richi Todd who is currently in office, to disclose all Development Agreements signed by TCI Government for the past 20 years. At the end of the day, these Development Agreements are negotiated and provided to the Investors for the benefit of both the Investors as well as the TCI people. TCI people have a right to know what is going on in these agreements. Why to keep them secret? Why let people speculate? Publish them and show to the people of Turks and Caicos Islands, who got what?
There is not a single developer who did not make a perfectly legal donation to the political parties in the TCI, but I am picked as a victim with a select few other to pay a deer price. I hope one day, all developers will disclose their development agreements and their donations to the political parties. Only then, the TCI people will see the truth.
The Responsibility of the his Hon. Governors
On July 18th 2009, His Hon. Governor Whetherell published the Commission of Inquiry’s Final Report which provided access to the unredacted text that contained our good companies name, ruining our reputation, and causing the banks to pull funding. Later on, His Hon. Governor brought into force the Order in Council suspending parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands constitution. The House of Assembly was dissolved and Members’ seats were vacated. The constitutional right to trial by jury was suspended. Shortly after in October 2009, a receiver was appointed to our project Dellis Cay by TTUTC.
Since then, I am exposed to numerous claims, in breach of my human rights. I am really sorry that two principal players between 2005- 2009 are not in the TCI today. They are the ex Hon. Governors Tauwhare and Whetherel
It is my strong belief that these Hon Governors have caused major damage not only to my companies but also to the TCI people. They have ruined the properties and lives of many people, by abusing their responsibilities.
Governor Tauwhare and Governor Whetherel represented the principal office ruling TCI, and they must be accountable for both good and bad things that happened in the TCI. They have chaired every Cabinet meeting along with the Attorney General. They have executed each and every resolution in the TCI. If the Courts one day, prove there has been “widespread” corruption at TCI, the Governors must surely be hold accountable as well.
I am very pleased that the elections are now proposed and finally we see the possibility to return to democracy after 3 years of interruption. I believe that TCI people deserve democracy and hope that both PDM and PNP will fulfil their responsibility in this respect.
ONE VICTIM OF POLITICS IN TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS