From Babalú: "No one seems to be paying much attention to it but another coup has occurred in the Americas. This coup, at least by the new definition given to the term that now includes the legal and constitutional removal of rouge and corrupt leaders, happened yesterday without much media coverage."
CNN reports: Britain says it has suspended the government of the Turks and Caicos Islands and imposed direct rule after allegations of systemic corruption and "serious dishonesty".
Reuters London reports: Britain ordered the suspension of the government of its Caribbean territory of Turks and Caicos on Friday and imposed direct rule after an investigation found evidence of widespread corruption.
Neither 'allegations' or an 'investigation' represent a lawful trial. But don't worry. Britain did not take "lightly" it's decision to throw out the entire constitutional government of TCI. It's only until TCI's "affairs are put back in good order". I presume that Britain, in its infinite wisdom, will decide what is and what is not good order and without the interference of the UN, OAS or US, Castro or Chávez, or the citizens of Turks and Caicos.
British-appointed governor Gordon Wetherell made the announcement two days after former Premier Michael E. Misick lost a legal challenge to stop Britain from imposing direct rule. Misick was denied any further appeals. Governor Wetherell will assume all powers, duties, and functions of the Premier, the Cabinet, and the elected House of Assembly. He alone will enact laws and he alone will appoint and remove members of the advisory committees, whose advice he is not obligated to follow. Sounds like a dictator to me.
"This is not a 'British takeover,'" said Governor Wetherell. British authorities said the step was needed to restore good governance and sound management in the territory. Both the ministerial cabinet and the elected House of Assembly will be suspended for a period of up to two years. The constitutional right to trial by jury is also suspended. Islanders will be allowed to vote for new leaders no later than the regularly scheduled elections in 2011.
Public services will continue to be run by people of the Turks and Caicos islands, as indeed they should be," he said. "I believe most people in the Turks and Caicos will join me in welcoming these changes."
Do I have this straight? The former Premier who resigned in March was alleged to be corrupt so the current Premier is overthrown by Britain in August?
The deposed premier removed by the British takeover, Galmo Williams, condemned the suspension of the constitution and government as a coup that he said put Britain "on the wrong side of history."
Misick's successor Williams called it a "coup d'etat". "Our country is being invaded and re-colonised by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance."
A British naval ship is on patrol in the Caribbean to provide military support if TCI politicians don't fall into line. What? Military rule over the tiny Turks and Caicos Islands? Hopefully TCI politicians won't call for insurrection and import Nicaraguans and Venezuelans to start trouble as Honduras' Mel Zelaya has.
Mark Nestmann says that the UK's Foreign Commonwealth Office issued recommendations and then warnings − sounds like what the Electoral Tribunal, the Attorney General, the Congress and the courts in Honduras did, except not quite so official as in Honduras.
Justice Sir Robin Auld, who was in charge of the public corruption commission, admitted that much of the information received was hearsay or "possible" but that corruption is difficult to prove. As a result, he suggested reversing the burden of proof and requiring the accused to prove their innocence. It seems that TCI citizens are not even to be offered the protection of the English legal system.
One of the conclusions of the report was that the TCI government is "at a near standstill" with its "financial position so bad that the Government cannot pay many of its bills as they fall due" − sounds like Honduras.
There were "clear signs of political amorality and immaturity and of general administrative incompetence" − sounds like Honduras.
Honduras also went through the courts, but Secretary General Insulza of the Organization of American States basically ordered the Supreme Court to reverse their decision. If the Premier of TCI had chosen to ignore the British order, do you think that the military would not have been used?
Photo of TCI Ministers: Turks and Caicos Free Press
Now why do you suppose that the UK does not want to leave these democratically elected, allegedly corrupt politicians in charge while they do their investigation and throughout the trial until if and when they are legally convicted?
Should Britain be alienated by world, forced to reinstate Williams, be told to move up their elections, their court forced to reverse its decision, be called coupsters (golpistas in Spanish) by the UN? Get out those burning tires and send in CNN.
Crime and corruption are no reason to oust elected officials in a civilized world! Corrupt officials must be reinstated, otherwise this is a threat to all corrupt officials everywhere! These people are being oppressed by a dictator installed by the British Empire. Can elections be considered legitimate when held under a dictatorship? Send in the Human Rights crews! This must be stopped!
It seems to me that Honduras also had clear signs of corruption, "political amorality and immaturity" and of "general administrative incompetence", but instead of suspending the constitution, Honduras followed theirs and yet has been condemned by the world.
This just reeks of hypocrisy and double standards. Does it have anything to do with fact that Britain is considered a civilized first world country and Honduras is not? Did the world jump to conclusions because of racism and snobbery? Sorry if that insults anyone, but that is the way it looks from this side of the border.
Now if only the media had called the ouster of Mel Zelaya a "suspension"....Where would we be now?
Honduras Posible has a less emotional analysis comparing the Turks and Caicos situtation to Honduras in Spanish. [Google English translation]