Turks and Caicos Islands Finance Minister Washington Misick (L) with Premier Rufus Ewing in New York
By Caribbean News Now contributor
NEW YORK, USA -- Apparently pursuing the same agenda as the former Michael Misick administration of relying on high end tourism, a mission led by Premier Rufus Ewing to a Caribbean investment forum in New York delivered a short but expansive message for developers to ponder when considering the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) as a potential location for investments.
Reports have yet to emerge as to those present at the forum representing potential investors.
Joe Grant Cay, East Caicos, Salt Cay and Ambergris Cay were the locations in the TCI pushed by Ewing and his delegation, which included finance minister Washington Misick.
Ambergris Cay, a small and remote island, has been already developed and includes one of the longest private jet runways in the northern Caribbean. However, the development has apparently come to a halt, seemingly unable to sustain itself with its expensive homes and infrastructure.
Joe Grant Cay and East Caicos are two unoccupied and undeveloped islands to the east of but not physically connected to Middle Caicos, the largest and least developed of the TCI chain of islands.
The delegation reportedly promoted the interconnection of these islands by causeways, which would also join South Caicos to this new chain. Land on Joe Grant Cay and East Caicos was recently recovered for the Crown land bank by the civil recovery team.
Salt Cay, a small island occupied by native and expat residents, has recently closed its primary school, which had declined to only three students. This also is the predicted fate for the Middle Caicos school, which in recent years has seen its school population dwindle from 40 to approximately 12 students.
Dellis Cay is a now abandoned private island, over which the government seemingly has little control. It is owned by Cem Kinay, a Turkish developer who is being sought on an Interpol “Red Notice” for questioning by the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT).
The low lying cay sports numerous partially complete concrete structures. It is on a newly dredged barge channel to Providenciales and is next to North Caicos, where a port was built by the previous Michael Misick government on private land called Belfield Landing. The channel was reported to have cost the Misick-led Progressive National Party (PNP) administration $17 million in dredging costs but is now filling in and may require continual dredging to maintain the required depth for barge access.
Some of the partially constructed homes on Dellis Cay were purchased by high end, well off notables, including movie star Michael Douglas
Salt Cay was scheduled under the former PNP administration to host a massive project – referred to as Devco -- by a developer from the Czech Republic. This was also closed down following allegations of corruption, which resulted in the payment of a multimillion dollar settlement by the developers, who opted to withdraw from the project, apparently to avoid prosecution.
Michael Misick’s brother, Chalmers ‘Chal’ Misick, is now facing criminal charges in relation to his alleged role in the Salt Cay development, which included a 99-year lease of a planned 250-acre golf course for $1 per acre per year.
East Caicos, which years ago was the home of a sisal plantation, was at one time promoted as a deep water port and potential cruise ship destination. In recent years, it has become the home of feral donkeys and cattle left over from the plantation days.
What remains totally unclear in the Ewing/Washington Misick promotion is how access will be provided to East Caicos and Joe Grant Cay. Currently this is only by boat and the causeways promised would join them to Middle Caicos over the existing causeway, which has been waiting for repairs since it was massively damaged by Hurricane Hanna in 2008. Two million dollars has been allocated for partial repairs this year with promises made by the former interim government of continuing repairs in following years. Who would finance these new causeways was not made clear.
There was reportedly no mention of development for North Caicos or Middle Caicos. Also not mentioned was Grand Turk, the home of the existing cruise port.
Also promoted by Ewing and Washington Misick was a new educational area known as College Park and a Technology Village.
The entire basis of the presentation is seen here as a continuation of the Michael Misick agenda, which required hundreds of millions dollars of inward investment. However, development has been at a standstill for years in the TCI due to an uncertain political situation and the escalating taxation rates required to pay for the health care and loan obligations likely to continue for the next 20 years.