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Local Expressions: Salt Cay - The 'remote' gold mine
Published on January 29, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

Let's bear in mind that, with those individuals on trial, the Crown's case comprises mere accusations. And as in all other criminal trials, there is and has to be the presumption of innocence, until proven guilty. Justice – the proper administration of the law, with fair and equitable treatment under the law – is wished for the defendants all.

“It goes without saying that it takes ‘guts’, a tremendous sense of will, confidence and optimism to invest in a location as remote as Salt Cay at this time,” adding that the island was “fortunate to attract a group with such financial wherewithal and project development exercise to make such a significant investment”. These are the words of then premier, and leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP), spoken in Cabinet on August 29, 2007.

This is the way that he and his party looked at our island of Salt Cay. The island that even a British governor knew: “in effect two thirds of {no} island, {should be} sold to a foreign developer, particularly one as environmentally and culturally important as Salt Cay". The "remote" island of Salt Cay was seen by the governor as environmentally and culturally important; yes, he knew this. While our own premier and his cohorts seemed not to. This same island has been recommended to the Secretariat of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

For more information on Salt Cay, see: http://saltcaypreservation.org/saltcay/historicdistrict/saltcaytoday.htm

It is really pitiful that our own politicians and their political party merely viewed Salt Cay as a remote island, hungry for development – at any cost. And yes, the PNP headed by Misick, and the recipient of millions of dollars from this development, as well as others, including Beaches and North West Point, is an active participant in these activities, forming the basis of this huge corruption trial.

The PNP was a political party, doubling as a launderer and distributor of the alleged millions of corruptly gained dollars. And while it cannot be indicted, the party should be forced to give to the government and people, all its ill-gotten gains from the various development projects.

According to the Crown, that "remote", development hungry island of Salt Cay turned out to be a gold mine for Michael Misick and McAllister Hanchell; and some others on a much lesser scale. One must confess that it is rather giddying keeping up with the millions received and passed between the PNP accused; and I for one would not have wanted SIPT's job.

SIPT's investigation found that "Payments into the PNP account [from the Salt Cay project} alone exceeded $750,000, which was quickly dispersed to the advantage of Michael Misick and McAllister Hanchell (and to a lesser extent Floyd Hall, Lillian Boyce and Jeffrey Hall)."

The following should be noted, re the Salt Cay project:

• Michael Misick was the beneficiary of a “loan” of $6 million, and other monies.

• McAllister Hanchell benefitted in excess of $2 million. The loans were never to be repaid.

• In one of the transactions between the Crown and the developer, the Misick administration sold 122 acres of Salt Cay at half its value thereby losing the TCIG $6.83 million.

• Michael Misick and LisaRaye McCoy managed between January 2006 and April 2009 to spend over $4.8m on the Centurion Card.

• McAllister Hanchell received his card in April 2007 and spent over $1.1m from then until May 2009, with his wife named as an additional cardholder.

• By 2008, Mario Hoffman now had an interest in approximately 70% of the total land on Salt Cay.

• MHO deposited $50,000 into the PNP account, described as “for the sponsorship of the Chief Minister’s Christmas Party”. (Money as kick-back on the Salt Cay deal, for "giving away" our land.)

• There was $700,000 worth of donations to the PNP made by Mario Hoffman between December 2005 and January 2007. (Note the PNP is a full participant in the alleged corruption.)

• 222 acres of land to be leased to Salt Cay Golf Club Ltd for the purpose of developing an 18+hole golf course was later valued by Mr Hoza at $7,760,000.00.

The Development Agreement for the golf course included the following concessions:

1. That Customs Duties would be a flat rate of 5%, instead of 30%,

2. A 99 year lease over 238.72 acres of land, for a golf course initiative, at an annual peppercorn rate of $1 per acre per year for 20 years. (Land valued more than $8 million.)

With the attitude that “if that’s what the developer wants that’s what he [Mario Hoffman] will get”, the Misick administration, among other things sold 122 acres of Salt Cay at half its value, thereby losing the TCI government and people $6.83 million.

And apparently as Christmas gifts, in return for corruptly disposing of the Salt Cay people's land: On 13 December 2005, $50,000 from the Salt Cay project MSO client account to the British Caribbean Bank PNP account. The Crown’s case is that this sum was then moved to the PNP FCIB on 22 December. Once the money arrived, it was disbursed in a series of cheques:

I. Cheque number 132, $5,000 to McAllister Hanchell
II. Cheque number 134, $5,000 to Lillian Boyce
III. Cheque number 136, $5,000 to Jeffrey Hall
IV. Cheque number 138, $15,0000 to Michael Misick
V. Cheque number 139, $15,000 to Floyd Hall
VI. Cheque number 142, $6,500 to Lucayan Ventures

And so on, and so on.
 
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