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Cablegate: Tci Prime Minister Fights Ouster Attempt

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBH #0898 3541513
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191513Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NASSAU
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5992
INFO RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0195

UNCLAS NASSAU 000898

SIPDIS

PASS WHA/CAR FOR ACADIEUX

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV BF TK UK
SUBJECT: TCI Prime Minister Fights Ouster Attempt

1. (U) According to news reports December 16, nine of thirteen
elected members of the governing Progressive National Party (PNP) of
the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) parliament, including the Deputy
Premier, have written to the current governor expressing
no-confidence in Premier Michael Misick. The dissidents legislators
reportedly plan to oust Misick and install two of their ranking
members in the territory's leadership. TCI is a dependency of the
United Kingdom neighboring The Bahamas, and participates in
Operation Bahamas, Turks and Caicos. Bahamian radio also carried
the story December 16.

2. (U) News of the call for Misick's ouster came soon after the
government avoided a debate on a motion of no confidence by the
opposition Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) scheduled to be read
December 15 in the House of Assembly. The motion was submitted
several weeks ago, but all business was adjourned on the appointed
day. The opposition MPs may have prompted the nine governing party
MPs to take action against Premier Misick. One of them attempted to
contact the Embassy indirectly December 12, possibly in order to
provide advance information.

3. (U) Misick has been embroiled in personal and political
controversy, perhaps most seriously over a commission of inquiry
into allegations of government corruption appointed by the previous
governor in July. Media sources alleged that he sexually assaulted
his wife and another woman in April 2008; he has announced his
separation from his wife, an actress, in August. After several
tropical storms hit TCI directly, the UK sent two administrators to
provide management of all government funds in the territory,
including disbursement of hurricane relief funds, in November.

4. (U) The premier gave a televised address in response to the
calls for his ouster December 16, admitting "mistakes have been
made" in the quest for rapid economic growth. He apologized for any
shortcomings in his leadership and discussed his view of the
maneuverings in the House of Assembly the previous day, including
the support of some governing party members for the planned vote of
no-confidence. He called the attempt to replace him as leader both
"unconstitutional and unfortunate" and affirmed his loyalty to the
people, the party, and his country. He announced a special meeting
of the PNP party leadership to consider the process of challenging
the party leadership December 17. Misick promised to respect the
outcome.

5. (U) The TCI governing party may be forced to deal with the
no-confidence motion in the next parliament session, when the
opposition could publicly question the alleged missteps of the PNP
government. Mismanagement, excessive spending and heavy debt load
on residents through new taxes will likely feature in no-confidence
arguments, as well as corruption being looked into by the ongoing
inquiry into government graft.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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