and Caicos Islands - (
Press Statement from
Former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Michael Misick
and other named defendants in the May 11th, 2015 Privy Council
Appeal.) We note that the British
Privy Council has dismissed our appeal which was brought to
ensure that there is judicial independence in the Turks and
Caicos Islands as there is in mainland Britain. They have also
dismissed our appeal to ensure that we are able to have a fair
trial as is the case in Britain; that is, a jury trial.
What these two decisions revealed is that the British judicial
system is rigged against us from top down. The same system that is
responsible for the appointment of judges in Turks and Caicos
Islands is also responsible for the appointment of judges at
the Privy Council.
Clearly, today ranks were closed to protect the establishment.
We are disappointed by
the decision and we think that it continues to be a
miscarriage of justice for a powerful state like the UK to
continue to politically persecute a few local island
politicians because they seek political independence from
Britain. We seek the same autonomy over our country as the
Conservatives seek for Britain from the European Union.
It remains our position that these corruption cases are
nothing more than a political witch-hunt that was carefully
designed and orchestrated by the British establishment to
destroy and discredit local politicians and their families and
associates, while allowing wealthy white developers and other
individuals who were implicated in the Commission of Inquiry
and/or were previously charged, to pay their way in order to
Even an independent fact-finding
mission appointed by CARICOM was critical of the manner in
which these investigations and trials have been conducted.
There is absolutely no way that
any of the defendants can receive a fair trial when the system
in Britain is working strongly against us. Many of the
defendants in this case do not have Queen's Counsel, simply
because respected defence lawyers from the UK have withdrawn
their services because they were not paid adequately or in a
timely manner, and also because Special Prosecutor Helen
Garlick and her Special Investigation and Prosecution Team
significantly increased the number of pages of evidence given
to the defence lawyers, but the system has refused to increase
the payment for the said defence lawyers to match this
is now over 102,000 pages of evidence and over 500,000 pages
of unused material which they have still yet to disclose
when we are supposed to be only 6 months from trial.
While the SIPT lawyers and
prosecutors such as Andrew Mitchell, QC, are paid millions of
dollars in British pounds, the defence lawyers from the UK are
paid in US dollars and then they are highly taxed in
accordance with English law.
All of this strikes at the heart
of equality of arms, which is supposed to be the bedrock of
justice systems all around the world. How can we get a fair
trial in these circumstances, when respected Queen's Counsel
is refusing to take on our cases?
But we will continue our fight
for justice and our freedom and that of our country and reveal
the blatant injustices for the world to see.
While we are disappointed with today's decision, we are
resolved to press on. To this end, we have filed a challenge
to the new appointment of Judge Paul Harrison on the grounds
that it is unlawful for him to be appointed retrospectively
and for him to be appointed as a special tribunal.
We have also since Monday filed
an appeal to our earlier challenge to Justice Harrison on the
basis that he has reached the retirement age of 70 and as
prescribed by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution it is
therefore unconstitutional for him to be appointed at age 78
as a judge of the Turks and Caicos Supreme Court.
In addition to these two challenges, we have some months ago
appealed the decision of Justice Harrison not to recuse
himself as the trial judge in this matter because he is
conflicted as the Chairman of the Jamaican Integrity
Commission and he has publicly expressed views that mirror the
facts in our case. Based on his public statements, it will be
exceedingly difficult for Justice Harrison to judge us fairly
and dispassionately, therefore, he should have done the
honorable thing and removed himself from this case when we
applied for him to do so.
We would like to thank our family, friends and well-wishers
for their continued support and encouragement as we endure
some of the toughest days of our lives in fighting for justice
from one of the world's strongest Empires, with diabolical
dealings throughout centuries of its history.