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It was ‘a mistake’ to cooperate with UK CoI - former TCI Premier

It was ‘a mistake’ to cooperate with UK CoI - former TCI Premier

A former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Michael E. Misick said it was a mistake to cooperate with the United Kingdom (UK) Commission of Inquiry announced under his administration in 2008, citing UK hidden agendas and a predetermined outcome as a factor.

Mr Misick, who served as Chief Minister from August 2003 to 2006 and then as the territory’s first Premier from August 2006 to March 2009, had an Inquiry into alleged systematic corruption under his administration announced in 2008.

“I am pro-independence, I believe that the relationship between the British government and its colonies is unnatural. I believe every People will have the right to self-determination. I don't think there's any room for colonies in the 21st century… and I’m sure it’s the same in BVI,” Mr Misick said in a Monday, February 15, 2021 interview with 284 Media.

It should be noted that in the VI, a similar inquiry under the Andrew A. Fahie (R1) government was announced in January of 2021, using almost identical terminology by ex-Governor Augustus J.U. Jaspert, just a few days before he officially demitted office.

Honourable Fahie and his Virgin Islands Party (VIP) administration have been pushing a narrative of self-determination, while seeking to have locals occupy senior positions in the public service as against imported labour including from the UK.

Further, the method which Mr Jaspert used, which included keeping the local government in the dark about his intentions while colluding with the UK press, has raised questions about the real motive for the CoI.

It should be noted that in the VI, a similar inquiry under the Andrew A. Fahie government was announced in January of 2021, using almost identical terminology by ex-Governor Augustus J.U. Jasper, just a few days before he officially demitted office.


‘UK had Hidden Agenda’ - Michael E. Misick


The former TCI Premier said while the UK provides very little financially, they still want to have a strong say in the governing of the territories. He said the CoI led to the democratically elected government of the day receiving the boot out of office.

“In 2008… when the Commission was announced, like your Premier, I said ok fine, I welcome the inquiry, let's see what this systemic corruption that you're talking about is all about, and I and my ministers cooperated fully.”

“To some extent that was a mistake, because they had a hidden agenda. The outcome of the inquiry in my view was pre-determined and they just use the inquiry as a means to do what they already had planned to do,” he said.

According to the TCI ex-Premier, the CoI is means for the UK to propose recommendations through its one commissioner and for the territory to accept those recommendations which could include the suspension of the local constitution.


UK used CoI to make recommendations


According to the ex-Premier, the CoI was a means for the UK to propose recommendations through its one commissioner and for the territory to accept those recommendations, which included the suspension of the constitution.

“So in my mind in 2008, I could not imagine that in the 21st century that the British Government would suspend the constitution, enter an interim administration. Basically, that means that the country was run by a UK Governor, by the UK government in the person of the Governor solely and unilaterally.”

He said while the Governor appointed advisors, at the end of the day “it was a dictatorship, he ran the country.”

UK had other means to investigate corruption


Mr Misick further remarked that there was absolutely no need for a CoI in his territory given there were other means to investigate allegations of systemic corruption in the territory such as the local police under the purview of the Governor.

“They used the Commission of Inquiry as an excuse to intervene, and I never expect that to happen… what that has taught me is that you cannot trust them and they are not a people of their word,” he said.

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