WikiLeaks has released a suppressed report laying at the center of UK plans to seize direct control of the Turks & Caicos Islands, a popular Caribbean tourist destination and tax haven.
A British warship on patrol in the Caribbean sea, the HMS Iron Duke, is expected to support the takeover once the report is released.
Following corruption allegations last year made against the Islands’ political elite, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) commissioned Sir Robin Auld to head up a Turks & Caicos Islands Commission of Inquiry.
Come March this year, and the release of an interim report, the Commission found itself in court, with the release of the full findings injuncted.
As a conclusion to that action, yesterday, the Commission briefly released on its website what it called its Redacted Final Report. According to the Commission’s accompanying press release, the-
“Governor’s redaction results from the direction of the Hon Chief Justice Gordon Ward in the current litigation between Mario Hoffmann and Cem Kinay against the Governor and me (and an assurance given by the Hon Attorney General in proceedings brought by Jak Civre).”
Yet only hours later, the 266 page report was removed.
WikiLeaks has obtained the full report-and restored the redacted text.
Included in the redactions are the findings relating to ex-Premier Misick, Hall and Hanchell.
Based on the report there does appear to be genuine grounds for the corruption allegations. Yet it is not clear that the Turks & Caicos Islands is an exceptional case. Many British protectorates have corrupt leadership, which means that the FCO can pick and choose its interventions at whim, something that corrupt but assertive leadership in British protectorates such as Bermuda must be noting with alarm.
Whether the leaders of such former colonies choose to stop looting their countries or choose to placate the U.K. government in other ways remains to be seen, but it is clear which way the incentives lay.
Final Report, unredacted, 18 Jul 2009
1. -^ http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6626641.ece
2. -^ http://www.tci-inquiry.org/
Online at: http://tinyurl.com/wlislands