By Caribbean News Now contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — A recent claim by a local weblog that former Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) premier Michael Misick is in plea bargain negotiations with authorities in the US as well as in the TCI has created a stir not only in the TCI itself but in other British overseas territories.
The unsubstantiated report claims that, in addition to crimes involving US citizens and corporations, as well as the TCI, Misick is said to have information on crimes involving senior politicians in Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Misick fled the TCI in 2009 to escape questioning and likely prosecution in relation to allegations of widespread and systemic government corruption during his term as premier.
Believed to have spent time initially in the Dominican Republic, he made his way to Brazil, where he was arrested in December 2012, pursuant to an Interpol ‘Red Notice’.
After being freed on bail while pursuing an appeal against Brazil’s refusal to grant him political asylum, Misick was re-arrested when his appeal was denied and he is currently in custody awaiting the outcome of an extradition request by Britain on behalf of the TCI government.
In January of this year, Misick likened his situation to that of McKeeva Bush, the former premier of the Cayman Islands, claiming that his detention in Brazil and the arrest of Bush on fraud charges in December 2012 were both examples of the UK’s determination to impose a greater degree of control on its territories.
He said the British government was using allegations of corruption as a way of removing territory leaders who strive for independence or who want to govern autonomously.
Former premier of Bermuda, Dr Ewart Brown, is believed to own property in the TCI and has in the past been linked to Misick and his Progressive National Party (PNP).
Meanwhile, in the TCI itself, Misick sympathisers are busy refuting the claim that he may rat out others to obtain a more lenient sentence.
Devon Williams, a prominent PNP activist, claimed to have recently communicated with Misick himself and called the report that he may divulge information that can implicate anyone else a “blatant lie”.
Althea Ewing went so far as to say that “you got nothing on the man… let him go!”
Misick’s brother Phillip said he had just received a letter from him categorically denying any such stories.
“These are all lies by agents of SIPT [special investigations and prosecution team] and the British to tarnish the reputation and to scare people into lying about our former ministers,” Phillip Misick claimed.