PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands (CMC) — Premier Dr Rufus Ewing says he expects his predecessor, Michael Misick to receive a fair trial when he is extradited from Brazil to face a number of corruption related charges in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).
"We believe in the rule of law, justice and fairness and upon the arrival of Honourable Misick, we expect that he will receive a fair trial. As a former premier and Member of Parliament we also expect that he will be treated with the respect that is befitting of the offices that he has held," Ewing said.
The Brazilian Supreme Court Tuesday ordered the extradition of Misick who has been in a Brazilian jail since he was re-arrested in Sao Paulo in April.
Misick had denied reports that he was seeking a plea bargain with British and American law enforcement authorities in return for implicating United States citizens and senior politicians in Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
The allegations against the former premier stem from the findings of the 2008/2009 Sir Robin Auld's Commission of Inquiry which found widespread misuse of government funds and property.
Misick, who has maintained his innocence, had sought political asylum in Brazil, claiming that he was unfairly targeted by British authorities. Brazil rejected his application for political asylum.
Attorney General Huw Shepheard said he welcomed the decision of the Brazilian court to extradite Misick. "It is in the best interests of the TCI that allegations of wrongdoing are thoroughly investigated. Michael Misick's lawyers vigorously opposed his extradition, but after hearing arguments on both sides the court was unanimous in its decision. Arrangements will be made to return him to the TCI as soon as possible. He faces trial in the TCI Supreme Court on a number of serious charges relating to corruption and maladministration in the TCI during his time in office," Shepheard said in a statement.
In his statement, Premier Ewing acknowledged that the information received from the Attorney General Chambers "was indeed limited" and that his administration was awaiting further information on the matter.
London had imposed direct rule on the British Overseas Territory in 2009 after accusing Misick of corruption and Ewing became premier after his Progressive National Party (PNP), which had been in power when London suspended the constitution won the general election last year.
Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries have in the past expressed their deep concern about the situation in the TCI.
Earlier this month, Trinidad and Tobago's Ambassador to the United Nations Rodney Charles told the UN's Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) annual debate that the political crisis, precipitated by the three-year suspension of elected governments in the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2009, has been the subject of "particular concern at the highest political level of Caricom.
"A fact-finding mission sent to the Islands has found that the conduct of a referendum was vital," he said. "The report of the fact-finding mission has affirmed that it was the responsibility of the administering power to provide the means for full self-determination and to ensure that the same standards of democracy that prevail in the United Kingdom should be extended to the territory," he added.