Archive for March 19th, 2012

GLF offered to expand deal

| 19/03/2012 | 20 Comments

cruise ship at port.JPG(CNS): Despite claims by the premier that GLF construction did not have the money to undertake the cruise berthing facilities in George Town and were unable to do the Spotts redevelopment or the pier in West Bay at the Turtle Farm, a letter from the developer suggests otherwise. McKeeva Bush told the Finance Committee on Tuesday that he had terminated talks with the developer because China Harbour Engineering Company could give government all three projects, but the CEO of GLF wrote to the premier on June last year offering to include the extra sites as part of an expanded proposal.

Following the letter from the premier that had terminated the exclusive talks between government, the Port Authority and GLF, minutes and other documentation have since revealed that the Port Authority and government’s lead negotiator at the time, back bench MLA Cline Glidden, were in favour of continuing with GLF.

The Florida-based Italian company had continued to engage government, regardless the premier’s position, and impress upon it that it was ready to take on the work. The June letter from Francesco Senis states that the financing was in place with Citigroup and in the meantime the firm was able to begin financing the project itself. It pointed to a $14 billion contract in Venice that the company had recently completed and the simulation of the port design, which Bush had been shown earlier that year.

Senis also reveals that talks with the cruise liners had received their support for the financial, design and technical elements of the project, which was expected to result in preferential berthing agreements once government and GLF had signed the main deal.

Despite the position that Bush had taken in his correspondence to the firm in April terminating the exclusive talks, GLF said it had noted government’s intention “to leverage its port assets to secure additional works at Spotts and the Turtle Farm” and was willing to expand its proposal to include these projects.

“We hereby undertake to commit the same expertise and dispatch to these additional projects as we provided on the George Town facility, subject to equal commitment by the government and the signing of the necessary contractual agreements for the George Town project,” Senis wrote.

However, government had switched its attention to CHEC and then signed an MOU with the Beijing-based firm some ten days after Senis sent his offer to government. Later GLF threatened to take legal action, and as a result the government was forced to make a more than $2 million settlement from the public purse.

The premier stated on Tuesday during the Finance Committee hearing when he revealed the cost of the settlement to government coffers that the money would be recovered as a result of the sale of “intellectual property" related to the project. He also cryptically insisted that there were other reasons why the government had decided not to continue with GLF, which, he said, may come out later.

See letter below.

See related articles:

Bush rejects port developers

Chinese get 49 yrs concession

GLF plans legal action

GLF got $2m settlement

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War of words heats up in TCI

| 19/03/2012 | 4 Comments

(CNS): Following the Turks and Caicos governor’s call for the former premier to return to the islands to face the special prosecution team investigating corruption, Michael Misick has hit back at Ric Todd accusing him of corruption and telling “vicious lies” about him and his administration which he says are being sent out in official releases not just to the TCI but the regional and international press as well. He said the world needed to know that the Sir Robin Auld Report was based on hearsay, fabrication and lies and part of a political witch-hunt that was “designed to destroy the reputation of members of my administration” and others in the islands.

“I think it is time that we as Turks and Caicos Islanders come together and start to tell the world the truth about what is happening in this country under direct rule by the United Kingdom, instead of allowing them to tarnish the reputation of our people and of our country,” Misick said in his latest release to the media. “….Since 2009 when the Brits hijacked democracy from the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, there has been blatant and systemic corruption taking place under and by members of the Interim Administration. I am therefore calling on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament to have a Commission of Inquiry into the conduct of the Interim Administration under Governor Gordon Wetherell and Governor Ric Todd.”

He said he was sure they would find evidence of the biggest financial and expenses scandal in the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“There needs to be full investigation into the conduct and practices of certain past and present British Advisers, many of whom are involved or were involved in matters that are clear conflicts of interest,” Misick claimed.

He spoke about concessions and deals allegedly being given to British advisers and asked for full disclosure on the $11million per annum being spent by the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) as he accused them of staying in luxury beach-front accommodation.

Misick said there was a climate of fear and victimization under the British and people are afraid to speak out “because they don’t want to be arrested and charged by the SIPT,” or lose their job. 

He also claimed that there was nothing wrong with what had happened in his administration and said it was nothing different from what happens elsewhere when politicians help their people.

“Regional leaders, Caribbean people and the rest of the world need to know that what they are accusing us for in the Turks and Caicos Islands is nothing more or different than what happens in each and every Caribbean country where politicians look out for their people and their constituents and implement policies and programmes that are designed to empower their people,” he added.

The former premeir who is currently in exile said that Todd and his “gang of ruthless, uncaring advisors” were trying to give the he impression that politicians in the TCI “were a group of bandits,”  simply to divert attention from what he said was the UK ruler’s “corrupt activities and cronyism,” as he called for   Todd to resign.

He said he was calling on William Hague the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to recall Todd and set a date for elections as well as a referendum on the future relationship of the Turks and Caicos Islands with Britain.

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Inmate bites off guard’s ear

| 19/03/2012 | 17 Comments

contraband (247x300).jpg(CNS): Officials have confirmed that a prison guard at HMP Northward had his ear partially bitten off by a prisoner on Friday morning during an altercation inside the prison. Officials from the jail said that the officers remained professional and despite the assault the prisoner who bit the guard was secured by other officers and unharmed. The officer was treated at the Cayman Islands Hospital and reported the incident to Bodden Town police station. The RCIPS have confirmed that they are now investigating the assault, which happened at around 7:30 in the morning. Meanwhile, in the afternoon another package containing ganja and a cell phone was thrown over the fence in what officials said is becoming an almost daily occurrence.

Following the admissions by prison director Dwight Scott last Tuesday during Finance Committee that the prison is battling a constant stream of drugs being thrown into the prison over the parameter fence, another package containing drugs and a phone got into the prison the same way.

According to the CCTV system, a vehicle drove alongside the prison on the public road and a passenger in the vehicle lobbed the package over the fence.

“This was observed by officers on the prison's CCTV security system and as a result, a black plastic bag containing 2 parcels of vegetable matter resembling ganja weighing a total of 3½ oz, 1 Lime PCD camera phone with acharger was recovered behind two cell blocks,” officials stated. “The police have been notified and have been requested to investigate this matter.”

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