Turks Caicos Seized by Britain in Re-colonization Aggression

It was on Friday the 14th of August 2009, when Britain abolished political life in Turks and Caicos. Britain banished Turks and Caicos parliament, cabinet and Prime Minister Michael Misick into nadir. Britain in an imperial proclamation, a reminder of her faded empire “glory” days, also repealed the constitutional right of trial by jury in Turks and Caicos. Britain in an act of unbridled aggression reminiscent of the eras of the worst twin evils of human history, slave trade and colonialism; Britain took over and confiscated the political life of the Island nation of Turks and Caicos.

Britain in one fell-swoop, sacked the prime minister, dissolved parliament and truncated Turks and Caicos’ parliamentary democracy! Britain’s poor excuse for this outrageous usurpation of political public space in Turks and Caicos is that the Island nation is rife, allegedly, with corruption. Britain has, by her takeover or coup, assumed the command and control of Turks and Caicos, and thereby, in a very substantial sense, significantly altered, the way life is lived in Turks and Caicos, until last Friday, August 14, 2009! And it is as if the world barely noticed this political earthquake of seismic proportions.

The world ought to be in uproar. This is flagrant breach of laws, rules and protocols. This is an oppressive usurpation of political power, power which belongs to the people of Turks and Caicos! Britain ought to be told in very clear and certain terms, that the era of slave trade, colonialism and empire brigandage is past. Britain, if unchallenged, might repeat this elsewhere and other powers may seek to imitate Britain’s thievery of the political space of the people of Turks and Caicos. Britain is about to ensnare the world in a slippery slope rule of the jungle of might is right. Britain should be ashamed.

This aggression by Britain against Turks and Caicos portends evils, evils of which consequences could flow far and wide, well beyond Turks and Caicos. The probable ramifications are glaring. And the first question to be asked is, if Turks and Caicos now, what Island nation is next and what nations and continent are next? Is a New World Order about to unfold; in which powerful nations with sufficient audacity and matching weapons of war and sundry armada, could aggressively take over weaker nations under some self-righteous guises?

This nonsense talk by Britain, of colony, protectorate, overseas territory or possessions, even in the twenty-first century, should make anyone decent person’s head spin! It turns my stomach!

Could the invasion of Mexico be foreseen, in which the argument would be that the violence there and the blooming narcotics trade make Mexico an existential threat to the health, wealth and happiness of the United States? And as consequence, the USA takes over Mexico? Or Spain assumes direct control of Mexico? Could the Nigeria Delta crises expose Nigeria to a forceful seizure and confiscation by powerful nations, and in the process, the argument will be made that Nigeria’s resources are too important to the engine-room of the world’s creation of more health, wealth and happiness, and so, it made eminent sense to re-colonize Nigeria?

In the prevailing atmosphere and circumstances, are we about to witness a replay of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 in which the continent of Africa was divided, between several European nations acting as rampaging pirates and an organized crime organization! And since then, the human conditions on the African continent have been dictated and shaped by these European nations, whether the publicly admit these facts or not. During the preceding 30 years, there have been similar actions, primarily by Britain and America. Britain forcefully asserted her suzerainty over the Malvinas also called Falkland Islands by Britain. And not long after that, the President George H. W Bush invaded and occupied the nation of Panama, in his drive to oust a former operative of the CIA and then president of Panama, Manuel Noriega, accusing him of participation and or tacit approval of narcotics trade.

In more recent years, former President George W. Bush of the United States engineered and facilitated the violent overthrow of the constitutional and legitimate government of the Island nation of Haiti led by Reverend Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004. This was accomplished through lies, deceit and events which demonstrated that the good government of the United States was acting in concert with unsavory criminal elements inside Haiti, persons in Haiti, who were notorious narcotics-traffickers as well as political assassins for hire.

The central theme and lessons in all of these, is, there are patterns emerging and crystallizing. In the rush for more resources, trade expansion and in search of wider reach of spheres of influence, the world should probably brace for more invasions, occupations and forceful seizures of weak nations by nations with sufficient armada and military wherewithal to confiscate such weak nations as exampled above.

Turks and Caicos is not a golf club owned and financed by an oil company, where an unhappy oil company may close the golf club management for bad management. Turks and Caicos had a prime minister, a parliament and a cabinet. If it were determined that Prime Minister Premier Michael Misick, was corrupted and irredeemably so, there are proper procedures and processes for addressing these in a twenty-first century world. A judicial process which seeks to find the truth, the facts and evidence of corruption in Turks and Caicos would have been one such avenue.

All manners of allegations, charges and counter charges of corruption have been made in Turks and Caicos in the past, but more particularly so, in the recent past. Matters actually went out of control and overboard when it appeared that matrimonial acrimony and discord between Turks and Caicos’ Premier Michael Misick culminated into his wife LisaRaye making charges of corruption against her husband. She thereafter became a sort of national symbol for the anti corruption crusade. Since LisaRaye’s public charges or revelations, the press frenzied over the details of her allegations against the PM, and much more.

There are of course other processes. There could impeachments or removal process. There could have calls for new elections and even back channel diplomacy and other pressures which could have been exacted. Britain could have done everything short of the sheer arrogance summoned by Britain in announcing the direct rule and Victorian era colonization of distant peoples.

Britain cannot pronounce cantankerous married couples in London divorced without adjudication any more than Britain have such power to assume the command and control of Turks and Caicos or any nation on earth for that matter! It is a source of constant amazement to me, the fact that world powers are quick to regard fine tenet of international laws, sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy etc as nebulous and trite when it does not suit their national fancies and interests. There is this permanence of fleeting definitions of what is proper and make good sense.

This act by Britain full of grimes and is certainly brimming with all the coloration of racism. The bulk of the citizens of Turks and Caicos are peoples of African descent. Britain made blanket statements replete with codes and stereotypes. And the terse statement by Britain upon taking over Turks and Caicos, Britain insisted there was no takeover. And said the following, “This, together with clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and of general administrative incompetence, demonstrated a need for urgent suspension in whole or in part of the constitution and for other legislative and administrative reforms,” the Foreign Office said. The report also recommends criminal investigations into former Premier Michael Misick and four of his former Cabinet ministers”

Britain and other Western government know for a fact, that there are peculia

rities on ground in certain countries, which make perfect democracy a thing to handle rather very carefully, in cognizance of such local conditions. This understanding of democracy imperfect, is why, despite some reservations, Rashid Dostun, an erstwhile warlord in Afghanistan, has return to Kabul, and he might in effect boost Hamid Karzai’s chances of re-election. Westerners have been dealing with Pakistan, even despite the recognition that democracy is imperfect in Pakistan.

This recognition of democracy imperfect and the value of alternate dispute resolution is also a reason why Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein and his followers, are not facing war crimes in Dublin, for their activities in Northern Ireland.

Westerners are well aware, of democracy imperfect, hence they are willing to deal with, and offer winks and nods to Motada Al Sadr in Iraq, even though his past and his stance remain opposed to Western presence in Iraq. Democracy can be unruly and even irritatingly slow and imperfect, imperfect democracy is like sleep, we still get tired, subsequent to our sleep or rest, but sleep or rest is obviously not considered useless, imperfect democracy therefore can be very disappointing, but it is no reason to truncate democracy through coups and egregious rape of constitutional government, as Britain has just done to Turks and Caicos!

Why must the world accept Britain’s aggression against Turks and Caicos, under the pretext of allegations of “amorality, “immaturity” and “corruption” when these allegations have not been tested in court or some other judicial process? But instead, just through a fiat by Britain? Adherence to due process and the rule of law, and a continuing fine-tuning of democracy, is clearly a better option, than this arrogant takeover of the peoples and government of Turks and Caicos by Britain. Why does Britain expect magic or miracles in Turks and Caicos, when in fact, Britain have been tarred and tarnished by a spate of high profile scandals and corruption by parliamentarians in Britain?

Even Sarah Palin, the erstwhile governor of Alaska, apart from saying that America was pursuing God’s will and duty in Iraq, acknowledged that democracy in Iraq will take quite sometimes with military surge and all. Even Sarah Palin is familiar with democracy imperfect, regarding Afghanistan and Iraq. Even Sarah Palin, a foreign policy “wonk” with “strong” policy credential which is limited to her knowledge of Africa as one nation would be surprised at Britain’s incredulous impatient with Turks and Caicos.

Sarah Palin, despite her uncanny foreign policy “savvy”, which again is limited to her ability to see Russia from her bedroom window in Alaska, even she knows, democracy is imperfect in Afghanistan and Iraq, will take time to be close to ours, which by the way, is still work in progress. She has said that America is in Afghanistan and Iraq to do God’s work, but she does say, that the work will take time. Why then, is Britain engaged in these abrupt terminations of tenures for parliament, cabinet and prime minister of Turks and Caicos? There is a pattern for Britain; this is all about the imperial and empire interests of Britain and not the interests of the peoples and government of Turks and Caicos for which Britain purports to act.

Britain grudgingly and reluctantly relinquished political power in Hong Kong in July 1997 and the last so-called governor-general from Britain, Peter Batten departed Hong Kong, and soon after, Britain publicly fretted about democracy and liberty for people of Hong Kong, meanwhile, it never occurred to Britain to have offered self-governance and political independence to citizens of Hong Kong, until mainland China was to have influence at the helms of Hong Kong political strata.

Britain complete takeover, and particularly considering, the abrupt manner in which Britain accomplished this political rape of Turks and Caicos’ democratic government, is very instructive of Britain’s pattern of seeking only her nefarious imperial interests without a scintilla of concern about the fine principles and tenets of democracy, independence or self governance anywhere on earth.

How and why did some person in Britain summarily determined and decided that no woman or man, in the Turks and Caicos population, is as intelligent as anyone from Britain, to govern and administer Turks and Caicos, but only Britain’s direct rule could salvage Turks and Caicos from ruinous corruption? Shouldn’t Germany or Russia be taking over Britain and 10 Downing Street? After all, Britain have had her share of pungent corruption, including the very recent double-dealing scandalous allowance double-dipping by members of parliament in Britain. Japan or Mexico should take over Britain and give corruption etc as the excuse. Britain certainly would then know it, close to home, how it must feel, to be colonized, under any pretext or guise.

The world must stand up to Britain and demand and insist on political freedom and independence for Turks and Caicos. Turks and Caicos should manage their own affairs without Britain’s aggression, interference and meddling. Turks and Caicos should resist this egregious rape of Turks and Caicos’ democracy by Britain and the world must stand up to Britain, even as the world stands with Turks and Caicos against this aggression by Britain.

Written by
Paul I. Adujie
Join the discussion

  • David Glazer,

    You are living in your own world past.

    First – As regards the Malvinas – do not invent your own international law. Submit to the ICJ and UN on this one. Of course you so easily forget the Chagos Islands people ( Diego Garcia) – so one standard for them and another for the Falklands ( whatever works – huh?).

    Second – Read the West Indies Act 1962 – but again – whatever works.

    Double-standards as usual!!!

  • REPLY: YOU SAY:- ” Due to the corruption in all parts of public life in the islands the British Government had no alternative than to apply its legal responsibilities to the general population”

    1. Are you referring to a British Governor who signed off in Cabinet, on every Crown land deal which he as head of Cabinet and Her Majesty’s Executive officer in TCI; or

    2.Are you referring to the Secretary of State in London who permitted the situation to roll merrily on for six years; or

    3. Are you referring to a British appointed Judge who in 2003 started the whole process, by reversing the election results in a George Bush style court hearing?

    Of course there are legal responsibilities – and I for one wish that HMG would start living up to them. Read below, for further explanaiton…



    The term “offshore banking” has pejorative connotations.

    In the TCI as in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, the use of banks to attract money is a constructive way of saving Her Majesty’s Treasury moneys that would otherwise have to be found for overseas territories sustenance.

    The question should be posed, whether the use of banks in an overseas territory is at core so significantly different than so-called “onshore banking”. Anonymity at the Companies’ Registry does not imply that the client is unknown to the professionals and bank dealing with the beneficial owner of the company. Nor ultimately is the company owner beyond the long reach of the law. Tax benefits attend the use of a company incorporated in one of Her Majesty’s territories.

    We can further consider that many “offshore banks” have “onshore” parent banks, which benefit significantly from overseas financial transactions. In every large financial funds transfer there is an unavoidable interface with the international banking system.

    It is impossible for London to deny that it too, has received significant transfers from Russia, Eastern Europe, Nigeria and other sources that bank in England, even as broad suspicions may be raised as to the source of the moneys. One example might suffice. The ruling Karimov family from Uzbekistan purchased a premier league football team and has invested heavily in England. The fact is that the Karimov regime is quite unsavory. Its routine use of torture is well documented, but business is business as Her Majesty’s government well knows.

    It seems a bit disingenuous by way of imposing the OECD’s so-called “black”, “white” and “grey” lists as if it is all that difficult for Her Majesty’s government simply to establish banking regulations and police same in an efficient manner. Why stigmatise? The banks are here in the TCI because British policy has permitted legislation that proves attractive to international financiers and business. The Islands should not be tarnished when the administrative policies did not have a genesis here.

    Under our Constitution the British Governor has, and always had, a veto power. It is the Governor who presides over Cabinet and is constitutionally head of the Executive and the Secretary of State in London receives regular reports from the Governor. For approximately six years, the Governor as Executive head over the Misick administration saw documents related to every land transaction involving Crown land, and gave final approval to every land deal presently being investigated. Now that very serious assertions have been made about misuse and dishonest dealings with Crown lands, there will have to be prosecutions. The question must be asked: were the Governor and Secretary of State not culpable since they always had constitutional duties to perform and ultimately are accountable for shared maladministration?

    We need to move on with HMG’s responsible help and lift ourselves out of the economic quagmire in which we now find ourselves. We ought to remind ourselves of the duty imposed on Her Majesty’s Government under Article 73 of the United Nations Charter, stipulating that member states which have assumed responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government, should ensure:

    “…the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:

    a. to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;”

    It is self-evident that Her Majesty’s government, having suspended elected representative government in these islands, now bears a direct economic as well as political responsibility for the TCI. And, do recall Lord Acton’s dictum in the prevailing situation, “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The entire islands’ population should not be treated like criminals and second-class persons.

    Considering the ill-conceived incursion into Afghanistan, significant sums have been wasted from Her Majesty’s Treasury in a war that from the onset was unwinnable—indeed we are yet to unearth the true definition of what is to be won! There are however, better uses for British money than fighting wasteful wars. It stands to reason that after British domestic expenditures are met, responsibility for British overseas territories fall next in line for economic provisions, inclusive of such needs being met by the quite considerable amounts of British money allocated for overseas grants and aid. It must only be right that before money is allocated to independent countries adequate provision must be made for British territories overseas. Notably, Pakistan recently received 70 million pounds in aid money. HMG annually allocates billions of pounds in aid money. The TCI does now need direct British economic assistance as a British dependent territory. By using Grand Turk, the capital, as a reference point, it is not hard to conceive of ways in which the Islands can be assisted constructively.

    There is an impressive underutilised international airport in the capital. Increased traffic through the airport would generate significant money. Investment by HMG in building a 150-room hotel would accomplish a lot. Grand Turk is not presently serviced by any direct international flights, which itself relates to lack of volume to sustain an international airline service. The hotel could be built with grant money, then sold or leased at a profit and the proceeds might be returned to the Treasury in London. A British construction company would be the beneficiary of the construction expenditure, and the Treasury in London would be replenished upon a long lease or sale, without any lasting debt burden on the TCI or HMG. The beneficial owner upon a lease would remain the TCI government. Clearly, with a sizeable hotel in place, there will be increased demand for air travel and reputable airlines will eventually and inevitably, schedule regular flights to the capital. Further, the land surrounding the airport is large enough for location of a fuel depot and enough land exists for establishing an exclusive private jet facility. Landing fees, jet fuel sales, sales taxes, employment opportunities, a broadened tax base and HMG’s sound management and generous contribution duly acknowledged in a win-win formula. Three million pounds was granted for construction of the Grand Turk prison. It is therefore not unreasonable to indicate a need for the construction of an income generating asset such as a hotel for growth and development. I seek here a decisive break with historical colonial exploitative behavior and urge the establishment of an economic system which actually develops the islands’ resources in a manner that is of mutual benefit for the TCI and HMG.

    The expenditure of 2 to 3 million pounds to establish a marina at North Creek, itself an excellent natural harbor, can easily provide good earnings for a British construction firm, with significant multiplier effect opportunities for local employment. Each island in the archipelago has its own unique features and offers significant opportunities for constructive growth and development.

    There are not merely investment needs, for HMG should be vigilant about development of the islanders in their education. There is latent talent in the Turks and Caicos islands, which will not be actualised unless resources, proper training and development of the human being is made a British priority for the islands’ proper administration. An injection of sums into primary education as well as the provision of grants for higher education is both a worthy and necessary investment for the long-term development of the people. Imagine the bright future of the TCI if the indigenous youngsters are afforded generous educational opportunities. Conversely, a certain type of inverse political Darwinism might operate, with competent and experienced island civil servants being replaced by less than able and sufficiently experienced British bureaucrats, whose allegiances and priorities of policies are inverted. Then who serves the people’s interests?

    Without proactive steps the economy will stagnate. Imposing public sector layoffs while not offering constructive income earning alternative opportunities must be seen as a derogation of administrative duty. Sensibly, it must be accepted that taxes cannot be paid by persons who earn no income. Policies of raising the tax levels, while reducing public salaries and terminating certain public sector jobs does not accord with sound economic management. Worse yet, this on-going approach is a recipe for social chaos and economic depression. It is one thing to re-structure for efficiency, but quite another willfully to stagnate a territory’s economy. Without timely British financial assistance, the crime rate will continue to rise, and with stronger sentencing laws put in place, the alternative expenditure being compelled will be that of building a 7 or 8 million pound prison or prisons, for unemployment does give rise to higher crime, and reduces the potential tax and revenue base. Continuation with the present administrative approach to the islands will also encourage increased drug trafficking.

    There is much to be done and HMG has a golden opportunity to prove itself a responsible non-colonialist steward and caring custodian in areas such as maintaining a clean environment while devising a sensible national policy of waste disposal, poverty reduction, constructing affordable and decent houses for the majority, devising a national sustainable alternative energy policy, and addressing several other social and economic needs. Surely, this is what good governance demands – or – maybe I am just being naïve – or – is it that HMG commandeered political power avowing good governance but just cannot disengage from a historically oppressive and exploitative past? The Dutch and French overseas territories consistently appear to be provided for and treated far better than the British ones – why so? This is not the present looking at the past with a modern set of eyes, it is the past so far refusing to demonstrate itself willing or able to move to the present with acceptable contemporary political behavior, while pretending to be honourable.

    These thoughts are offered to the Consultative Forum, and for Governor Wetherell’s attention. His Excellency is the political master who has taken full control. I accept that there is more than one side to the story. It is now time to turn a new page from the colonial past, ironically by reversing the book to a pre-1976* state of affairs – nevertheless with a promise that colonialism is dead or dying. This direct power, as the United Nations Charter reminds us, comes with significant responsibility for “…economic, social, and educational advancement,…” and the just treatment of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Truth be told, financial support is not being begged by the TCI – only attention to a duty of compliance with UN stipulations, once those in high office act responsibly. Is it not supremely ironic that the powers who are preparing to prosecute for non-conformity with the law are themselves seen as ignoring lawful duty at the highest level under international law? I trust that these few thoughts will assist His Excellency and HMG all the more in constructive discharge of those duties in a timely manner. Do the right and honourable thing and disengage from negligence, neglect, and derogation from international duty.

    • 1976 – the year of TCI’s first Constitution.

    Courtenay Barnett is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been a practising lawyer in the Turks and Caicos Islands for almost twenty five years. He has been arrested for defending his views, has faced a death threat and a threat of arson on his home. He has argued many public interest and human rights cases.

  • This article is written with little or no knowledge of the background to the events in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Due to the corruption in all parts of public life in the islands the British Government had no alternative than to apply its legal responsibilities to the general population.

    As to the authors reference to the Falkland Islands(Malvinas) he really ought to speak to the islanders who have no qualms about the British presence in the islands – after all it is British territory and they are British citizens. No other nation has any rights in the territory!