Source: ‘Corruption and climate of fear’ in UK’s Caribbean territories by David Smith of, Sunday July 6 2008 00.01 BST

Why Did Barbados Retain a Construction Company from the Tiny Turks & Caicos?

My last expose dealt with the Hilton refurbishment: Foreign Investors Settle with Barbadian Government Co. - ‘BUNGLERS’ according to Dr. David Estwick

While writing this, I noticed that the construction company involved, Johnston International Ltd., was based in the Turks & Caicos, which has a population of about 30,000 people!

Now the current Prime Minister David Thompson had cast suspicion on the former regime by stating (according to the Nation News) ‘the previous administration “bizarrely spent millions and millions of dollars” that is now stashed away in foreign bank accounts’.

The former Government was associated with VECO, GEMS and Kingsland. So whenever there is a project that involved the previous Administration, I like to take a closer look.

I did not find any negative reports about Johnston International Ltd., but I did come across this quote from Corruption Free Anguilla: “The most corrupt British Overseas Territory. That is the unenvious reputation that the Turks and Caicos Islands have enjoyed internationally over the past thirty years.”

It seems that Johnston International Ltd. is a big company whose headquarters happens to be on a small island. I am tempted to ask why they picked an island with such a reputation, but this post is not about Johnston. It is about the Turks & Caicos, and the similarities to Barbados.

‘Political interference’ in Turks & Caicos Judicial System

The next thing I read jolted my memory and sent shivers down my spine. Some witnesses had linked ‘political interference’ in the islands’ judicial system to a recent series of arson. (see quotes in boxes below) I had already written about reports of arson involving two writers critical of the Barbados Government and one businessman who had a major dispute with a prior administration. Here is a link to the story: Does the Threat Wording on BFPE Site Suggest Barbados Police Involvement?

Turks & Caicos Compared to Barbados

Here are three points made in the article on the Turks & Caicos. The same three points have been reported in Barbados.

Turks & Caicos Barbados
reputation for corruption widespread corruption reported by current PM, and media
prime minister who became very wealthy after coming to power prime minister and other ministers who became very wealthy after coming to power
reports that people have been subjected to threats and intimidation including arson death threats, arson threats, and economic threats
‘political interference’ in judicial system lack of a clear division between the legislative and judicial branches of government

I have put a couple of quotes here, but I strongly encourage you to read the entire ‘Corruption and climate of fear’ article.

“MPs’ committee reports allegations that premier of celebrity hideaway made a fortune from illegal land deals and locals are too afraid to speak out”

Quotes from: ‘Corruption and climate of fear’

It also points to suspicions of ‘political interference’ in the islands’ judicial system, which some witnesses had linked to a recent series of arson attacks on the islands’ main court and the offices of the attorney general. The committee calls for the British government to establish a commission of inquiry with full protection for witnesses who come forward to give evidence.

… and …

One of the few who was prepared to speak was the opposition leader, Floyd Seymour. He claimed that within a year of coming to power, Misick had bought $2.3m (£1.2m) of property without a mortgage, even though he only had declared assets of $50,000 when he entered office. Seymour alleged that other ministers, who were so hard-up they had driven borrowed cars before entering government, also now had multi-million-dollar homes.

Another witness told the committee: ‘It appears that any and every investment in the country is gotten as a result of kick-back to a government minister or his/her immediate family.’

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