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Officials in some Caribbean countries charged with dishonesty

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Tue, Oct 14, 2014

Editor: I have written time and time again about corruption by government officials in independent states and in so doing, I stated that there is little or no dishonesty in British Overseas Dependant states and pointed out that two former Premiers, Michael Misick, of Turks and Caicos, and Mc Keeva Bush of Cayman Islands were prosecuted for dishonesty.{{more}}

Well, last Thursday, Bush was freed on all 11 counts, after a mixed jury found him not guilty after deliberating for nearly 24 hours.

Bush, a popular politician, who is now Opposition Leader, was accused of using a government credit card to gamble in casinos.

The four men and three women on the jury panel rejected this allegation after a four-week long trial, which no doubt cost the government a large amount of money. The acquittal reminds me of former Chief Minister of the dependant island of Montserrat, who was acquitted by a jury two decades ago.

Former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, of the independent state Trinidad and Tobago, was acquitted a week ago for failing to declare his TT$1.6 million in a London bank to the Trinidad and Tobago government authorities. He was charged since 2002 and the trial took place four years later and he was jailed by the Chief Magistrate for two years. He appealed to the Court of Appeal and won, but the State appealed and the matter went to the Privy Council and a retrial was ordered, but that took a considerable time and eventually last week the matter was finally dismissed.

I wish to state that Panday is the only government minister in an independent state to be prosecuted in the Caribbean. although there is strong evidence that a large number of ministers and government officials in the region are involved in dishonest activities.

There was jubiliation in the Cayman Islands after the acquittal and the former Premier is demanding a public inquiry. He said that the allegations were completely false and it was a political witch hunt. Bush seems to get the support of Premier Alden Mac Lauglin in his call for an inquiry.

No date is fixed for the trial of Misick, who has been described as the “King of Sleaze” for his lavish spending in purchasing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and a Rolls Royce car for his movie star wife, now ex wife, Lisa Raye Mc Coy. not to mention chartering an aircraft from Los Angeles to the Turks and Caicos at a cost of $100,000.

Although there are a few murmurs about impropriety on the part of lawmakers in St Vincent and the Grenadines, there has been no evidence to prosecute or even to investigate any wrongdoings on their part. However, a former registrar of the High Court, Tamara Marks, was prosecuted for stealing funds entrusted to her care. She pleaded guilty and will be sentenced later this week.

Oscar Ramjeet

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