By Caribbean News Now contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- A second hearing to review the sufficiency of evidence against former Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) premier Michael Misick went forward last week despite pleadings by Misick that he has no liquid assets to pay his attorneys.
Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough found that the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) had enough evidence to commit Misick to trial. The trial date was not indicated. There will be another hearing on April 4 to determine if Misick can access some of his assets to pay for his support and legal fees.
Former premier Michael Misick when he appeared on local television in 2008 to deny allegations of raping an American visitor to the TCI
It is not clear, however, how Misick supported himself in Brazil prior to his arrest there or how he paid the attorneys representing him in his unsuccessful request for asylum or his fight against extradition.
Further, local supporters were quickly able to raise the $10 million required for his release on bail after his return to the TCI.
Meanwhile, on Friday, Misick’s bail was extended but he is no longer required to report to the police twice a day. He now required to report only once and also each time he leaves Providenciales to travel to another island. He must return to his place of residence by 12 midnight and cannot leave before 6 am.
Misick, who was said to be penniless when he became chief minister in August 2003, now reportedly has 17 bank accounts. The accounts include several in the TCI and also accounts located in London, California, Florida, the Czech Republic and Liechtenstein. He also has a known interest in 35 corporations. Said to be holding assets for Misick are former ministers Floyd and Jeffrey Hall and associate and long time Progressive National Party (PNP) supporter Carlton Williams, Misick’s former wife Lisa Raye McCoy, nephew Lyndon Gardiner, as well as brothers, Chalmers and Lofton. Misick also has a number of real estate properties, his mansion in Provo's Leeward section and his interest in Provo’s Lisa Raye Cinema movie theatre. He also owns several condos in Provo.
When ordered to return to court last Friday, Misick was required to provide an affidavit listing all his assets, domestic and foreign. He must transfer his liquid assets from foreign banks and holding accounts to banks in the TCI. He must also list all deposits and withdrawals of $10,000 or more that occurred since July 1, 2005.
He may be allowed an initial release of $5,000 but it is not clear if filing the affidavit is a precondition of the release of these or any future funds. The charges pending against Misick are conspiracy to collect bribes, misappropriation of government funds and money laundering
Meanwhile, a former minister in the Misick administration, McAllister ‘Piper’ Hanchell also appeared in court before Chief Justice Goldsbrough unrepresented by an attorney on March 7 on charges of perjury. The charges stem from testimony Hanchell gave under oath before the Commission of Inquiry in early 2009. This charge is in addition to earlier charges of conspiracy to bribe, misappropriation of government funds and money laundering.
However, due to certain delays in presenting certain evidence to the court by the SIPT, the former minister has been granted a delay and must return to court on April 4.