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Setting Bad Precedent or Unfair Administration of the Law? Same Sex decision ignites public debate

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Garfield Ekon

Staff Writer

Former premier Michael Misick has levelled fraud assertions against his former employee, Richard Sankar who was successful in a court case challenging his Turks and Caicos (TCI) Islander status.

The case was decided in Sankar’s favour in 2021, and the former Premier is now saying the man, a Real Estate Broker, who once worked for his family real estate business, married a woman for Islander status, and never consummated it, then married a man to give him status. 

Sankar and his spouse, Timothy Haymon won a claim for his same-sex partner to work in the Islands, in line with permissions granted under the TCI Constitution. That landmark ruling was handed down by Justice Anthony Gruchot on March 12, 2024 upholding his partner’s right to work in the TCI, as typically provided for heterosexual spouses. 

Hour after news of the ruling broke, Misick took to his official social media page to blast the Real Estate Broker. The former Premier called on the Government to revoke Sankar’s Turks and Caicos Islander status, claiming that it was obtained by fraud.

“I further call on the Government, after revoking Richard Sankar status, to have him deported never to set foot in our country again. This is making a mockery of our system and country. Deem him to be persona non grata,” the former premier stated. 

In a response, Sankar through his attorney Tim Prudhoe, said the claims, stating that he married the local woman in 2008 and their divorce became final in 2020. 

He stated: “At no stage during that period up-to-any, including the Decree Absolute, was any evidence presented either by or on behalf of my then wife that the marriage was not valid or somehow otherwise void.”

Sankar further added that prior to his marriage, in the first half of 2005, he had applied for a Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) based on the then requirement of five continuous years of work permits.

“That application was never decided.  Its existence at all was not even acknowledged on behalf of TCIG until 2021.”

Sankar also exposed in his statement, that during 2007, when Michael Misick was premier, he was “placed on the Stop List (a power of the Director of Immigration, then Desmond Wilson).  Thus, preventing my re-entry to the jurisdiction.  No reason has ever been given as to why Part VI (Sections 59-60) of the Immigration Ordinance was used to so designate me.”

Sankar admits that he married a Turks and Caicos woman in 2008, once he returned to the islands having been removed from the Stop List.

In May 2021, Sankar says he finally managed to secure his Turks and Caicos Islander status and had hoped to understand, “how an employment disagreement with a powerful family of Turks and Caicos Islanders could ever be used for the purposes of the Stop List.”

That matter remains in court and pending, according to Sankar.

While Michael Misick remains resolute that, “If this is allowed to stand as it is setting a terrible precedent that anyone can become married through fraud and then get a status and divorce a Turks and Caicos Islander and marry someone else and pass it on to them.”

TCI News

FortisTCI has requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to examine the reasonableness of the Company’s submission for revised electric rates

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FortisTCI has requested the appointment of an independent inquirer to examine the reasonableness of the Company’s submission for revised electric rates. The request was submitted to Her Excellency the Governor today. The Company’s submission proposed a 6% rate increase across service territories.
The appointment of an inquirer forms part of the rate review process outlined in the Electricity Ordinance. Interested persons can make representation during the inquiry. Once completed, the inquirer provides a report to FortisTCI as the public supplier and to Her Excellency the Governor with its recommendations.

The Company’s proposal for revised electric rates was submitted to the Governor on February 14, 2024, and was supported by substantial information. As part of the rate review process, Her Excellency, the Governor, requested additional information through the Energy and Utilities Commissioner, and the Company met all additional requests.

FortisTCI understands the difficulties that customers can face with electricity bills. For this reason, the Company works hard to ensure that electric rates have remained as stable as possible. The Company invests responsibly and maintains an efficient operation, providing customers with one of the most reliable electricity services in the Caribbean.

FortisTCI maintains that revised electric rates are necessary at this time to expand the electricity system and maintain reliable service to customers, amid rising energy demand as the Turks and Caicos Islands economy continues to grow. Like other businesses, external pressures such as persistent high inflation and high interest costs have also impacted the operation. These are the primary reasons for the electric rates review.

Before the current submission of revised rates, FortisTCI had requested one general rate review in twenty years. This was to help recover significant investments made after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. The rate increase was granted after the appointment of an Inquirer, who determined that the Company’s request was necessary and reasonable. The inquirer’s report also highlighted that FortisTCI had prudently managed its costs and operation.

Similarly, the Company welcomes an open and independent examination of its current request for revised electric rates. FortisTCI will hold information meetings across the islands to discuss its proposed revised rates, providing customers with opportunities to have their questions answered. The schedule of meetings will be published on the Company’s social media pages.

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13th Annual Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament (WCGFT) Check Presentation Ceremony – 5th April, 2023

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#TurksandCaicos, April 10, 2024 – We are proud to announce that this year’s proceeds from the 13th WCGFT were presented to 3 youth-oriented organizations: Edward Gartland Youth Centre, TCI Amateur Athletic Association (TCIAAA) and TCI Swimming Federation (TCISF).

The Edward Gartland Youth Centre is a non-profit organization providing a space of learning for the youth of Providenciales with activities ranging from tutoring to sports and recreation, arts and craft and so much more.

TCIAAA and TCISF just represented the Turks & Caicos Islands in the CARIFTA Games in Grenada, 2024. We are proud of their achievements and happy that we could help in time.

The Charities were presented cheques totaling $70,000:

Edward Gartland Youth Centre:          $35,000

TCIAAA:                                            $20,000

TCISF:                                                $15,000

This brings the total donated by the WCGFT and its Sponsors to $530,000. We look forward to giving even more next year.

This concludes this year’s 13th WCGFT Event and Cheque Presentation. We would like to thank our sponsors and organizers who were key in our efforts to give back to the youth of the TCI Community.

We look forward with great anticipation to next year’s event.

Thank you all.

 

CONTACT: Desmond Williams, desmond@winecellar.tc, Wine Cellar Golf & Fishing Tournament

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Swearing-In Ceremony, six added to TCI Police Force

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Six police constables were today sworn into the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.

Four experienced officers- Germaine Scott, Sandenia Francis, Tyrone Cox and Blake Hooker, along with Special Constables Rashaunda Cooke and Raymond Clare took their oaths during a brief ceremony at Police Headquarters, Airport Road, Providenciales.

The officers pledged to uphold justice, protect the community, and diligently serve their duties with pride and integrity.

Commissioner of Police (ag) Christopher Eyre addressed the constables, applauding the efforts of those currently serving and indicating that they are now part of dealing with the challenges facing the Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly that of illegal migration.

Mr Eyre said: “In this region, we face the humanitarian tragedy affecting Haiti, and our hearts go out to those affected on that island. Unfortunately, due to the collapse of Haiti’s government, we have seen the prisons being overrun and over 5000 prisoners escaping.

“We also face challenges from illegal migration to our shores. Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. Rodney Adams and I have been working feverishly to coordinate with other law enforcement colleagues to secure the TCI borders.

“I am proud of this Force and how we have stepped up to the challenges. I look forward to seeing you and also seeing you excel as part of the team”.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Rodney Adams, Assistant Commissioner of Police Kendall Grant, Human Resource Officer Sgt. Tashauna Wilson, and Chairman of the Police Welfare Association Sgt. Jepson Victor were also at the swearing-in.

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