Hague hits back at Ewing in UK-TCI war of words

| 14/03/2013

hague-1-9_1708355c.jpg(CNS): As relations between the Cayman Islands and the UK appear to have improved a little, the mood between the Turks and Caicos Islands and the mother country seems to have deteriorated further. In a letter leaving the new TCI premier in no doubt who is in charge of the territory, the British Foreign Secretary has told Rufus Ewing that Britain expects its territories to meet the same high standards of good governance and public financial management as the UK. Reminding the TCI premier of the corruption scandal surrounding his party, the PNP, William Hague emphasised his support for the governor and the UK’s expectations of the TCI government if it wants to remain a territory.

In a letter responding to Ewing’s open correspondence to Hague last month and the speech that the TCI leader gave to CARCIOM heads of government, he accused the TCI premier of substantially misrepresenting the situation between the TCI and the UK.
Ewing wrote to William Hague complaining about the territory’s governor, Ric Todd, accusing him and other British officials “of atrocities of wrongful acts” and complained that they were obstacles to prosperity.  At a recent CARICOM meeting he also accused the British of undermining local democracy with the imposition of VAT.

Hague reminded Ewing of the support that Britain has extended to the territory, both financially and technically, and pointed out that Britain has a broad responsibility for good governance. Referring to the commission of enquiry by Sir Robert Auld in 2009, he said the UK lord had found a high probability of systemic corruption among ministers, members of the legislature and public officials in the TCI government at the time.

“He documented in detail information on corruption, dishonesty and abuse of public office by former Premier Michael Misick and other ministers in the previous People’s National party PNP government and recommended criminal investigation,” Hague wrote about Auld’s enquiry. “The previous PNP government left behind a chaotic situation including, through incompetence, abuse of powerand corruption, rapidly deteriorating public finances. As a result TCI was in effect bankrupt.”

The FCO boss went on to say that the UK interim government had implemented a platform of reform to deal with the situation and prevent a repeat. It had established a framework for good governance and the UK was not prepared to allow this to be rolled back. Hague said the UK had accepted Ewing’s proposal not to introduce VAT but instead cut public spending.

“We are now awaiting your specific proposals on what additional expenditure cuts or alternative revenue measures you will put in place to ensure your adherence to the public finance framework,” he wrote.

The framework referred to by Hague is similar to the Framework for Fiscal Responsibility that the Cayman government also signed with the UK, which is now part of local legislation, tying the hands of legislators when it comes to major capital projects and borrowing.

The foreign secretary made it clear to Ewing that if the TCI wanted to remain British then it would follow the UK’s rules.

“We expect the elected government of TCI and other terrirtories that wish to remain British to abide by the same standard as the UK government in maintaining the rule of law, respecting human rights and integrity in public life, delivering efficient public services upholding the judiciary and building strong and successful communities,” he wrote.

Hague added that if the TCI government didn’t like it and if the people of the country expressed a clear wish for independence, the UK government will meet its obligation to help the territory achieve that end.

See Hague’s full letter below.

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  1. Pomp and circumstance says:

    Never could understand what “overseas territories” meant and still can’t. “Overseas” means… it’s somewhere else…does it not? Most of these so-called “territories” were simply taken from the residents. Through colonialism and/or military might and for purely financial or logistical purposes. On top of that, for a country with an unelected House of ‘Lords’, and numerous public official scandals to give ultimatums about good governance is a little bit silly. However correct the rules for governance and politicians may sound good on paper unless they are also followed by those expressing them they are simply rhetoric.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wasn't anybody there when the British showed up. So not taken from anybody.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Turn TCI loose and let them have their independence. Act swiftly and without hesitation.

    Have Cayman follow, wearing their 'big boy pants'.

    And watch history repeat…

  3. Anonymous says:

    The UK returned local governance far too soon. The people of the TCI are a disgrace to Britiain. We should force them to go independent and forget them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I picked dah cotton massa! May I get mah cornbread now massa?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hope our politicians are reading and taking note and we hope the UK holds their noses to the grind too.  We've had all the bad governance we can handle, though it is a whole lot better now than it was over the last 3.5 years.  Just goes to show how one bad apple can spoil the whole crop eh?

    • Anonymous says:

      You don't mess with Mr Hague – I tell you. He's a no nonsense man – he is no walkover.

  6. Whodatis says:

    Hmmm … sounds to me like someone is throwing a tantrum.

    Anyway, I fail to see how the request for a change of the individuals appointed to the respective positions constitutes a desire to bend the "rules" and operate outside the "expectations" of the UK.

    Clearly what Ewing is saying that the objectives of the UK – TCI partnership would be better served if some of the "bad blood" is removed from the equation. (In fact, that is a similar thing we are hoping for in Cayman come next election – a removal of the outdated and cancerous "bad blood".)

    Obviously the TCI cannot vote out the problematic INDIVIDUALS (not roles). Therefore they are at the mercy of the UK who apparently has stubbornly refused to consider the TCI's concerns.

    However, the UK prefers to throw a tantrum and say; "No, it is our way or no way!".

    I say 'eff em.

    That is not the way to handle such matters.


    • "Britain expects its territories to meet the same high standards of good governance and public financial management as the UK."
    • "“The previous PNP government left behind a chaotic situation including, through incompetence, abuse of power and corruption, rapidly deteriorating public finances. As a result TCI was in effect bankrupt.”"

    Are you serious Hague?! Have you looked in the mirror recently, Hague?

    Hypocritical and delirious attitudes like Hague's is just one of the reasons why the world no longer regards the UK as a diplomatic power today.

    I have said it many times before and I will say so again – the overseas territories better prepare to wear their "big boy pants" very soon.

    Pay no attention to the boogieman scare tactics by way of reference to eras from half a century ago.

    Yes, the world is still fearfully racist and generally, high-wealth individuals may be nervous about investing their money in non-white controlled jurisdictions (yeah I said it – blow it out your booty!) but so it goes.

    I rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

    *Furthermore, take at look at the UK and Europe for the past few months and years. We have seen unrest, mass protests, riots, arson, murder, political turmoil, racial and cultural conflict, looting etc.

    OT's like Cayman and even the TCI have NEVER experienced anything like the sort.

    What is the justification of this hypocritical fear?

    Wake up folks … let us open our eyes and shake the shackles from our psyche.

    (Commence the opposition …)

    • Anonymous says:

      It's just the same old same old Caribbean incompentence and fraud evident in every nearly every little island "country" roundabout. Hard to see why the UK continues to bother about it.

    • Reality Check says:

      Thumbs down because it is nonsense or troll it because of the blatant smug flaming?  It is always such a hard choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      Whodatis, this is the whole point. If Cayman/TCI wants the UK protection, then good governance and transparency are a must, and people like Mac ranting about interference is just him not liking that he has to be transparent. That transparency and good governance is a benefit to Cayman and TCI kind because it stops some of the thieving that politicians here do..that is the aim.


      If Cayman and TCI decide they do not want to be an overseas territory, then so be it..London will probably be delighted, less responsibility for them. Its like any club, if you want to be in then there are some rules, if not then you will not be in it. On the face of it, the rules of the FCO are not so bad…but Cayman is free to make that choice.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Yeah I said it – blow it out your booty!". Thank you for your usual perceptive and balanced  analysis, Whodatis.

    • Anonymous says:

      Contrary to your over inflated opinion that Cayman is a place of investment for rich white guys. Actually, all it enables is those rich white, (and black) guys to filter their money through a banking system that allows tax neutral transactions through international banks.

      Tell me, exactly what has Cayman got that would encourage investors to come to this island, minerals, property, a stock exchange, industry, R&D or major exports? No, just a non Cayman owned facility to save more money which they then invest in themselves, their companies or even larger portfolios around the world.

      Cayman may be a small and irrelevent playground for some moderately to reasonably rich individuals, but its definately not Monaco or the many dozens of places that the super rich consider home. Where are the dozens of super yachts, private jets, the private/VIP airport or the seriously large residential estates that they look for for privacy and seclusion?

      You can't even builda cruise ship dock without messing the whole process up. Even the Hondurans the Mexicans and the Jamaicans managed that.  

      To be able to wear 'big boy' pants you first have to be in the big boy league, and that ain't ever gonna happen. Try getting your kids to pass their Maths examinations first and then appreciate the value of hard work instead of being a part of a society that has grown up feeding of the backs of others.

      In regard to civil unrest in BOT's, well do your research numb nuts, Burmuda, (the first and oldest UK territory) did indeed have issues with civil order and it was swiftly dealt with. But at least they managed to turn up on time to riot, stayed the whole duration and didn't wander off to the take a personal call, didn't phone in sick to go fishing or get stuck in their seat at the pattie shop.

      Believe me, if you don't wish to remain part of the BOT's, don't think for one minute that the UK population would stop you from going. But the vast majority of Caymanian people know that you are on to a good thing. That is until you manage to dilute your population to the extent that UK sovereignty and traditions mean little to the bulk of your people, then a second Jamaica will be born and you will be left with nothing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Any questions, students?  Seems pretty clear to me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is Whodatis fodder that he will shrive on, shouldn't he be first on here?

  9. Anonymous says:

    OK TCI. I know you all too well.

    So….where is Mr. Misick? Been out of the Rio slammer for over a month and it only takes a day to get back to TCI. Could it be that he lied all the time?

    Answers please from someone who knows.

  10. Anonymous says:

    "Britain expects its territories to meet the same high standards of good governance and public financial management as in the UK".  This must be comedy central. Please tell me that it is not the UK that is talking about good mnagement of public finances.

  11. Anonymous says:

    That's telling ya!  Same with Cayman.

  12. Caymanian Voter says:

    Do not let our greedy politicians lead us down the same path. TCI will become the next Jamaica and Bahamas – where as we can rise above corruption and install good governance.

    Why SHOULD we allow politicians to incur massive debt? I agree with the UK on this one.

    Like my grandfather used to say, save your pennies and spend within your limits.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m glad that keke is not in power any more! he has been a international insult & letdown these islands!