Categorized | News, Regional

Attention focuses on $260 million Turks and Caicos loan

Caribbean News Now

By Global News Correspondent

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), its leader Douglas Parnell, a British newspaper, resident economist John Hartley and Progressive National Party (PNP) leader Clayton Greene are all taking positions on the $260 million loan arranged by Britain for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), which has been portrayed as a rescue package,

During a weeklong trip to Britain, PDM leader Parnell, deputy leader Clarence Selver and national chairman Princie Harris, accompanied by former chief minister Derek Taylor and branch chairman David Tapfer, met with senior officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and members of both houses of parliament, when the loan was an important point of discussion.

It was the PDM and its leader Parnell, who twice last year visited London asking for financial assistance to address the financial difficulties the Turks and Caicos has been left with as a result of the last internal government led by the PNP and its high profile leader Michael Misick.

Economist John Harley, who writes a weekly column in the TCI Weekly News, published an article last week titled “Loan Best News in Years”. In the article, Hartley refers to the Misick-led financial debacle, saying the need for the loan springs from the “terrible mess left behind by the ‘Great Leader’ and his coven.”

Hartley also mentions the part played in securing the loan by British MP Alan Duncan, Minister for Overseas Development.

Last week, Duncan defended the loan in a letter to the London newspaper The Independent, saying the loan was necessary or the UK would have to provide more relief in the future as the Turks and Caicos slides further downhill financially. Duncan was responding to an earlier article in the paper titled “Scandal-hit Caribbean islands seek 160 million pound ($260m) UK taxpayer bailout”.

In fact, the UK taxpayers are not obliged to provide the funds but are only providing a guarantee that the TCI will eventually pay the money back to the loan institutions providing it.

PNP leader Greene, when questioned, said, “My party has been clear in its call for urgent action to stimulate the private sector through borrowing …and engagement of inward investment.”

It was the PNP who arranged three multimillion dollar loans soon after they took over the government from the PDM in late 2003. The loans were used to hire hundreds of civil servants, raising the public payroll to a current $78 million per year. Virtually all inward investment arranged by the PNP has stalled or never broken ground. In recent days it is alleged via a court filing that one local investor was bribing the PNP, Misick and his deputy premier Floyd Hall with over one million dollars to secure a development agreement.

When British direct rule was imposed in August 2009, the country was left with $135 million in unpaid commercial debts that had been run up by the PNP. The three loans had balances unaddressed and contractual obligations in the hundreds of millions, adding to a monthly deficit that the PNP government and the territory were unable to deal with.

The new loan will allow the interim British government to pay down some of the existing debts and maintain civil service payrolls, while studies go forward to “right size” and train the civil service, while applying pressure on foreign workers who are holding the majority of the private sector employment.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Caribbean News Now

By Global News Correspondent

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), its leader Douglas Parnell, a British newspaper, resident economist John Hartley and Progressive National Party (PNP) leader Clayton Greene are all taking positions on the $260 million loan arranged by Britain for the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), which has been portrayed as a rescue package,

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During a weeklong trip to Britain, PDM leader Parnell, deputy leader Clarence Selver and national chairman Princie Harris, accompanied by former chief minister Derek Taylor and branch chairman David Tapfer, met with senior officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and members of both houses of parliament, when the loan was an important point of discussion.

It was the PDM and its leader Parnell, who twice last year visited London asking for financial assistance to address the financial difficulties the Turks and Caicos has been left with as a result of the last internal government led by the PNP and its high profile leader Michael Misick.

Economist John Harley, who writes a weekly column in the TCI Weekly News, published an article last week titled “Loan Best News in Years”. In the article, Hartley refers to the Misick-led financial debacle, saying the need for the loan springs from the “terrible mess left behind by the ‘Great Leader’ and his coven.”

Hartley also mentions the part played in securing the loan by British MP Alan Duncan, Minister for Overseas Development.

Last week, Duncan defended the loan in a letter to the London newspaper The Independent, saying the loan was necessary or the UK would have to provide more relief in the future as the Turks and Caicos slides further downhill financially. Duncan was responding to an earlier article in the paper titled “Scandal-hit Caribbean islands seek 160 million pound ($260m) UK taxpayer bailout”.

In fact, the UK taxpayers are not obliged to provide the funds but are only providing a guarantee that the TCI will eventually pay the money back to the loan institutions providing it.

PNP leader Greene, when questioned, said, “My party has been clear in its call for urgent action to stimulate the private sector through borrowing …and engagement of inward investment.”

It was the PNP who arranged three multimillion dollar loans soon after they took over the government from the PDM in late 2003. The loans were used to hire hundreds of civil servants, raising the public payroll to a current $78 million per year. Virtually all inward investment arranged by the PNP has stalled or never broken ground. In recent days it is alleged via a court filing that one local investor was bribing the PNP, Misick and his deputy premier Floyd Hall with over one million dollars to secure a development agreement.

When British direct rule was imposed in August 2009, the country was left with $135 million in unpaid commercial debts that had been run up by the PNP. The three loans had balances unaddressed and contractual obligations in the hundreds of millions, adding to a monthly deficit that the PNP government and the territory were unable to deal with.

The new loan will allow the interim British government to pay down some of the existing debts and maintain civil service payrolls, while studies go forward to “right size” and train the civil service, while applying pressure on foreign workers who are holding the majority of the private sector employment.