Attorney General v Progressive National Party: commencement of proceedings
On 13 March 2012, the Turks & Caicos Islands Government served civil proceedings on the Progressive National Party seeking the recovery of the land upon which the PNP Headquarters is constructed, together with damages. The claim arises from the PNP’s trespass following its construction of the PNP headquarters on Airport Road, Providenciales on Crown land to which it had, and has no title.
After construction of its headquarters in 2005/6, the PNP subsequently appointed a management agent, Provident Management Services Ltd to manage the property. During the last administration, Provident sub-leased six offices in the headquarters to PNP MPs for a total of $465,083.61 over approximately three years, which was paid by the Government. The Government seeks the return of that sum, to which Provident was not entitled together with other damages.
The Government seeks a number of remedies for the trespass:
· damages for the PNP’s trespass on the land, based on a reasonable annual rent until possession of the land is returned to the Crown;
· the repayment of the $465,083.61;
· an order that the headquarters are pulled down and destroyed;
· damages for returning the land to its former state; and
· interest and costs
Attorney General Huw Shepheard commented: “When the current administration first became aware last year that the PNP’s headquarters had been built on Crown Land to which the PNP had no title, my Chambers wrote to the PNP setting out the claim that the Government had. It had been our hope that matters could be settled amicably without the need for proceedings. Unfortunately, discussions with the PNP have not been successful. In those circumstances, the Government has been left with no choice but to bring these proceedings for trespass and damages to recover this plot of Crown land and what is properly owed to the Government”.
A copy of the Writ, as issued at Court, is attached.13762344_1_Writ & Statement of Claim (as filed)
In a statement issued today Misick spoke to a warrent for his arrest issued this week. The former TCI leader said:
My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, I address you today March 19, 2012,with a heavy heart as I have been left with no other choice than to seek political asylum in a third country other than my beloved Turks and Caicos Islands.
My reason for doing so is simple because of the political persecution that is taking place to me and my family, former Cabinet Ministers and their families and a select few developers who supported me and my Progressive National Party during my tenure as Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
I am convinced that this whole persecution is because of my views and firm plan to move our country towards Independence. This plan goes counter to the British and their supporters in theTurks and Caicos Islands. That is why stories were fabricated by the opposition, the British and their supporters in order to call for a Commission of Inquiry.
It is unprecedented for a Commission of Inquiry to be comprised of a sole commissioner. It is my view that Sir Robin Auld came to Turks and Caicos Islands with specific instructions from the Foreign Office as to what the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry will be. In short, the outcome was pre-determined.
To add insult to injury, they have bypassed the entire legal system by appointing a Special Prosecutor whose primary goal is to get rich of the backs of Turks and Caicos Islands’ tax payers and to make a name for herself. Helen Garlick has already collected over $20 million of Turks and Caicos Islands tax payers’ money and is slated to collect at least another $10 million in 2012, at a time when the interim government is laying off hundreds of civil servants, cutting pensions and other benefits and increasing taxes.
There is no way that I, or any of the persons that have been accused by Helen Garlick and her team, can get a fair trial. The British Government, aided by two governors, Gordon Wetherell and now Ric Todd, have abolished our fundamental right to jury trial.
They have also suspended democracy. The Governor and the prosecutor control the executive, the legislative and the judiciary. They have changed so many laws such as the Proceeds of Crime Bill, laws pertaining to evidence, laws pertaining to hearsay all in an attempt to convict me and my colleagues.
If we have done something illegal why is there a need to change so many laws in order to secure a conviction? Why could we not be tried under the same system that thousands of people were tried under over the years? Why did they have to abolish our Parliament and the Executive? Is it so that they, including the prosecutor, can change the laws and the entire judicial system uninhibited without the normal checks and balances that exist in a democracy to ensure their goal which is the conviction of me and my colleagues?
If another country had done this, the British would have been outraged and they would seek international sanctions against that country. This is double-standard and political persecution of the highest order. They have sought to politically persecute us because we desire to live in an independent Turks and Caicos Islands, where the rule of law applies to everyone; where the rules and laws can’t be changed to get rid of a person or government because you disagree with their political views and goals.
Finally, we can never get a fair trial considering the changes that were made and the interference with the justice system by the Governor, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Special Prosecutor Helen Garlick.
You have the situation where the Governor appoints the prosecutor, she will choose the judge and the Governor appoints who she chooses. The Governor at a public meeting has already announced that we are guilty, therefore the whole notion of a trial is a show. We know, and all Turks and Caicos Islanders know, that the verdict has already been decided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Governor the prosecutor and the Judges that they have chosen.
All of the laws and rules that have been changed, were done on the recommendation of the Special Prosecutor to ensure a conviction. This is a complete set-up for a modern-day John Crow political lynching. I will not be part of that. I have therefore sought protection from another country in accordance with the United Nations Convention on Human Rights and the human rights laws of that country, as it is my right to do and the right of any person that is being politically persecuted.
Let be clear. I am not a fugitive, and will never be a fugitive. I have applied for political asylum from another country and I am merely seeking protection from political persecution.
I will continue to bring challenges to clear my name and that of my government and colleagues. I dream to return to my homeland as an independent, victorious, proud and free nation.
My Brothers and Sisters my prayers continue to be that May God of Jacob, Isaac and Johna protect us and deliver us out of the hands of the Philistines and restore our pride, human rights and democracy so we can resume building a prosperous nation with both political parties continuing to make their contributions as we chart our own course and fulfill our God-given destiny.
Former Premier of
Turks and Caicos Islands.
March 19, 2012