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Privy Council rules in favour of TCI Government in South Caicos land dispute

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By Deandrea Hamilton & Dana Malcolm

Editorial Staff

 

#TurksandCaicos, November 22, 2022 – A 14-year old land dispute has reached its end, it seems, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Government escapes being sued for breach of contract in connection to a South Caicos property sold to private developers back in 2008.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government prevailed in the Privy Council case and has reclaimed yet another parcel of Crown Land that was sold, according to case files, in 2008 when a $100 million dollar development was proposed.

CMO BWI Ltd, also the developers for the Sail Rock resort on South, claimed the contract for the land (also) located in South Caicos was breached after an agreement and subsequent renegotiation went sour with the introduction of new law.  The developer filed a suit against the Government, saying TCIG reneged on its own agreement and aborted a perfectly legal contract.

According to case files provided at the Privy Council’s website, “CMO are the developers of property situated in South Caicos to whom the Government in 2008 granted the right to carry out a mixed-use development. The total cost of the development would be $100,000,000. The agreement included the right to restore and use, as part of the development, certain parcels of Crown land. These parcels were to be granted to the developers in the Downtown Restoration Lease at a peppercorn rent if and immediately after they had invested $2 million on Island Improvements.”

The breach, according to the complainant involved the transition from UK Direct Rule to TCI Governance in November 2012.  The new constitution now turned over Crown Land management to the Attorney General’s Chambers and established a Crown Land Recovery Unit which was charged with repossessing land sold off in allegedly ‘sketchy’ deals.

The then government, led by Michael Misick, former TCI Premier had agreed to the $100M project for South Caicos, which also roped in general improvements for the island.  CMO agreed to those terms and reportedly began investing in infrastructure enhancements just before the government they knew was gone.

UK Direct rule was imposed in 2009 and with it came a partial suspension of the TCI Constitution, locally elected and appointed leaders.

It put the project in limbo but in 2013, according to the case file, there was an amended agreement with the government which meant, “there was no longer a requirement for the Appellants to present proof of having expended $2m in order to obtain the Downtown Restoration Lease, although it was necessary for the Appellants to notify the government that they were ready to commence the island improvements.”

One day later, CMO informed the government they were ready to begin “island improvements” which meant the government had to execute the restoration lease. That did not happen however and it was nearly two more years before the TCI Government would take definitive action.  The action was to deny the Downtown Restoration Lease citing a new Crown Land Ordinance (CLO) had been written, which essentially nullified significant elements of the previous contract.

“In January 2015, TCIG gave formal notice that it would not grant the Downtown Restoration Parcels Lease, stating that it was precluded from doing so by Section 34 and Part B of Schedule 2 of the CLO with prevented it from entering into any lease unless it was at market rent, having followed the process prescribed by the CLO.”

In July 2016, the developers began proceedings in the Supreme Court which they lost and on July 11 this year, the case was heard at the Privy Council in London.

On November 3, the Privy Council maintained that the Court of Appeal was right in dismissing the Appellant’s appeal, agreeing that the contract in 2013 had canceled out the agreement in 2008 and that the 2013 agreement could not be carried out under the new TCI law.

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UN Sec-Gen has special Message on Nelson Mandela Day

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Nelson Mandela showed us the extraordinary difference one person can make in building a better world.

And as the theme of this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day reminds us – combatting poverty and inequality is in our hands.

Our world is unequal and divided.

Hunger and poverty are rife.

The richest one per cent are responsible for the same quantity of planet-wrecking greenhouse gases as two-thirds of humanity.

These are not natural facts. They are the result of humanity’s choices. And we can decide to do things differently.

We can choose to eradicate poverty.

We can choose to end inequality.

We can choose to transform the international economic and financial system in the name of equity.

We can choose to fight racism, respect human rights, combat climate change, and create a world that works for all humanity.

Every one of us can contribute – through actions large and small.

I join the Nelson Mandela Foundation in urging everyone to perform 67 minutes of public service on Nelson Mandela International Day – one minute for each year he fought for justice.

Together, let’s honour Madiba’s legacy and turn our hands towards building a better world for all.

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AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024) set to strengthen Africa-CARICOM linkages  

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Speakers at ACTIF will include global superstars Viola Davis, Serena Williams, Didier Drogba and African and CARICOM Heads of States

 

Nassau, Bridgetown, Georgetown, May 28, 2024 – Excitement mounts as The Bahamas prepares to host the Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM) and the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF) from 12 – 14 June 2024 in The Bahamas. Themed “Owning Our Destiny: Economic Prosperity on the Platform of Global Africa,” ACTIF2024 is set to forge significant pathways for economic prosperity between Africa and the Caribbean.

Other distinguished speakers will include Heads of State from seven CARICOM countries, former Prime Ministers, Ministers of Trade, Economic Development and Finance, Dr. Roger W Ferguson, Former Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve, USA, Prof. Andreas Klasen, Professor of International Business and Director of the Institute for Trade and Innovation at Offenburg, and many more.

Professor Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Afreximbank, said: “We are witnessing shifts in the global economic landscape and the trade strategies of major economies, making it imperative for African and Caribbean nations to unite for mutual prosperity. The Afreximbank Annual Meetings and AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum in The Bahamas will serve as a strategic platform to enhance our economic bonds. These events indicate a vibrant assertion of our shared destiny. We are poised to harness the dynamic economic growth within our regions, enhancing our collective resilience and prosperity.”

The event promises to be a pivotal platform for high-level discussions on economic development and regional integration.

Building on the successes of the inaugural AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum held in Barbados in 2022 and the gathering last year in Guyana, this year’s Forum in The Bahamas will further elevate and expand upon the discussions and initiatives previously set in motion. ACTIF2023, which focused on strengthening economic bonds and creating new investment opportunities, sets a precedent for meaningful collaboration between Africa and the CARICOM nations.

Afreximbank invites industry leaders, trade organisations and other stakeholders in the CARICOM region to participate and attend.

Registration is now open at https://2024.afreximbankevents.com.

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International Community must address conflict between Israel and Iran

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

With tensions between Israel and Iran at an all-time high, a United Nations affiliated group is urging for calm and dialogue as their violent actions can cause tragic devastation on innocent civilians.

According to Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL), an organisation that is dedicated to promoting peace through civilian-led initiatives, “it is a clear indication that the greatest victims of war are innocent civilians. 

How could those lost lives ever be brought back? What could compensate for the outcry of children and the anguish of the youth in devastated dwellings?,” the group noted in a media statement, adding that  the international community should  take “decisive measures” to address the conflict.

It is also advocating for the establishment of “comprehensive international laws” to safeguard peace for future generations. “HWPL remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering dialogue and reconciliation, offering hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israel and Iran,” the group said.

HWPL is a non-profit organisation, with a mission to promoting peace through education, and advocacy. It has a global network spanning over 170 countries. The organisation works to build bridges of understanding and cooperation, striving towards a world free from conflict and violence.

According to reports in various international media outlets, Iran and its militant partners on April 13 initiated a large-scale attack against Israel through launching several hundred ballistic missiles and drones. The international society expressed concerns over the possibility of war between the two states, since Tehran’s direct attack on Israel was unprecedented.

Experts have pointed out that the attack on Israel was Iran’s response to an airstrike on the Iranian embassy in Syria on April 1, which killed seven military advisers including three senior commanders.

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