April 16, 2014 - Other Island Economies continue on their path towards Renewable Clean Energy
The following link contains further information on the Carbon War Room initiative which is actively working to move island economies away from expensive and polluting fossil fuels and towards renewables.
Further information on the Carbon War Room initiative:
Editors of the Journal
April 14, 2014 - Concern Grows surrounding the National Insurance Board, NIB, and the money under their Control
The lack of public disclosure associated with the $150 million held by the National Insurance Board, NIB, the territories pension fund, is breeding concerns.
Four years ago after much effort and communication with the Governor’s office, the TCI Journal was able to acquire copies of previous preliminary audits of the NIB. Even this amount of disclose only occurred after the Governor’s office read Trevor Cooke, the then CEO of the NIB, the riot act.
The courier who picked up the documents from the NIB offices, after pressure was exerted on the NIB by the Governor’s office, was told to give the folks at the Journal a message by Trevor Cooke himself, “remember there will be elections in a year”.
Those believed to be associated with the TCI Journal, by Trevor Cooke and then Chairman of the NIB Ervine Quelch, were then called in for the equivalent of an “IRS audit”.
Four years later and there have been no additional disclosures of what is happening at the NIB.
1. What were the returns of the NIB over this period?
2. What assets have been purchased or sold by the NIB?
3. Are the $1 million dollar “misc” expenses still continuing to occur within the NIB?
4. Why after the disastrous losses of some $20 to $25 million of our pension funds by the NIB through investments in the failed TCI Bank, is Trevor Cooke the then CEO, and recent Chairman of the PNP party, placed back on the Board of the NIB?
Colin Heartwell, who replaced Trevor Cooke as CEO, was rightly given by us and every other reasonable citizen, a honeymoon period to try and get the NIB’s house in order.
After almost three years of failing to bring about proper transparency at the NIB, Colin Heartwell must either pull up his boots or move on. The public has already shown far too much patience.
The public requires a certain minimum level of disclosure.
1. Quarterly, unaudited financials
2. Yearly audited financials
3. A detailed listing of all assets purchased and sold after the year 2000. (Not broad categories such as “debt” and “equities”; but the detailed names and descriptions of each individual item or instrument purchased and sold.)
Considering that the $150 million dollars left in the territory’s pension fund is the last honey pot still left in the Turks and Caicos, vigilance is demanded.
Editors of the Journal
April 11, 2014 - Stunning! We pay more in the TCI to Fortis for fuel for their Fossil Fuel Generators than we pay for Food - Approx $70 - $75 million per year for fuel vs $65 million for food
The 55 page External Merchandise Report for the Turks and Caicos Islands (download link posted today on the TCI Journal) confirms that we pay more for fuel to run Fortis’s fossil fuel generators than we do for food!
A movement to renewables for our electricity would inject more than $50 to $75 million dollars into our economy. This, along with the multiplier effect an injection of this sort would have, would represent more than 10% of our yearly GDP of $750 million.
The following charts show the increase in cost for fuels from $50 million in 2007 to $96 million in 2013, and then the breakdown of the numbers for 2011, 2012, and 2013. The increase in dollar value is primarily due to the increasing costs for dirty fossil fuels.
Other than about $20 to $25 million for other uses, the balance of the $93 million for petroleum products is for Fortis’ fossil fuel generators.
We know that the PNP will not act, but when will the PDM along with the Governor’s appointees act?
Editors of the Journal
April 9, 2014 - Why do the PDM and the Governor’s appointees not use their majority in the Legislature to address Fortis and the Hospitals/Leeward scandals?
Everyone is well aware that the current crisis in the Turks and Caicos Islands was created by the PNP under Premier Michael Misick. The overall debt, the backroom deal with Fortis, the Hospitals/Leeward scandals, etc..
Everyone is also well aware that the current PNP Premier and his government are primarily concerned about not going to jail and that they are focused upon a medium term strategy for Independence for the TCI so that they can eventually set free those of their members, and themselves, who will be jailed due to corruption, money laundering, perjury, etc., and hope to somehow interfere with United States law enforcement in the expected pending prosecutions by the Americans.
But what has really perplexed regular citizens and residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands is:
Why do the PDM and the Governor’s appointees not use their majority in the Legislature to address Fortis and the Hospitals/Leeward scandals?
In the TCI Legislature, there are:
9 Seats for the PNP - 8 elected and 1 appointed
8 Seats for the PDM - 7 elected and 1 appointed
2 Seats for the Governor’s appointees
The PDM along with the two Governor’s appointees represent a majority in the Legislature, in the House of Assembly; 10 votes vs 9 votes.
Morally this majority is also supported by the fact that the PDM received a greater share of the popular vote in the last election than the PNP.
So what gives?
So why have these legislators, the PDM & the Appointees, not used their majority to address the sky high electricity bills by legislating an independent audit of Fortis, and why have they not begun to address the arterial bleeding of the Treasury due to the Hospitals/Leeward scandals?
Is someone compromised? Or do they not know how to proceed? Or both?
A failure of imagination and intellect, or willfull blindness?
More to follow.
Editors of the Journal
April 7, 2014 - Guest Post - “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes” - “Latin: Who will Guard the Guardians themselves”
[Editors’ Note: This guest post is our latest in a long series of articles that have and do explain in great DETAIL the reasons that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO, will one day be held financially liable for the actions and the neglect of J. Kevin Higgins, the Managing Director of the Financial Services Commission; an entity which falls under the direct oversight and responsibility of the Governor and the FCO.]
“Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes”
Who will guard the guardians themselves, is a phase Which readily springs to mind when I read the many articles published on the ineptitude of the FSC in the TCI. Some four years ago the TCI Bank was placed in Court Liquidation leaving substantial depositors to lose their hard earned monies. Since then mounting complaints have been made by former clients and the public at large, against another bank, none other than British Caribbean Bank Ltd (“BCB”). Yet BCB refuse to respond to those complaints, conduct that they share with the FSC the chief “custodes” of Which is Kevin Higgins Who inter-alia failed to spot the red flags at TCI Bank; in fact there were more red flags than at The Plaza de Tores de Las Ventes, in Madrid.
Per chance Mr. Higgins is related to Professor Higgins of My Fair Lady? Certainly they share the same manners. The latter’s manners were so bad that his own mother did not want him in her house When she had company and would not attend the same church as him at the same time.
Whilst Professor Higgins did not revel in high finances, at least to the best of our knowledge, his namesake does and continues to fail in his duty by allowing BCB to publish de minimis information on its activities. Examination of the last financial statements shows only three pages out of fifteen pages were published. Yet those small morsels of information clearly state “The notes on pages 6 to 15 form an integral part of these financial statements”. Interested readers will also note that contrary to prudent accounting policies, the financial statements are unconsolidated and also do not disclose What became of the proceeds of the two loans of $54m that they sold to the mysterious affiliate, Three Lions Limited, in January 201 1. And that is not all, the entire published financials are clouded in mystery and quite unintelligible.
Moreover, what prudent bank has ready cash of a mere $54,000 of which to pay depositors, and what prudent bank in 2012 would lend $102m of loans totaling $157m secured by real estate of which 60% was due to be repaid in a year? An eagle-eyed analyst will further notice that some $4lm of the loans of 1 57m or 26% had been fully provided for. Such analyst would have also compared the 2012 loan loss comparatives in the 2013 financials with the actual 2012 financials, and noted that they do not agree by some $2m. But what is that amount between friends. Now Junior has gone his lending skills and financial acumen will be sorely missed.
Let us move on to find out further Where the good folks of TCI have their money invested. Loans to Affiliates constitutes of one mysterious hole Where $99m lies, having increased $22m during the year. Just who are these affiliates one wonders and just how many normal banks use this bad banking practice? Then we have the mysterious ‘Other Assets’ of $32m. What could this be one might wonder. Well a little research shows that most of it is the infamous loan of $30m lent to Belize Telemedia and guess who owned that. His Lordship of course through various companies and/or mates in Belize. Subsequently the Government of Belize acquired the bank’s rights to the loan, and litigation continues. I would not hold my breath for any recovery of this one. Of course one cannot place all the blame on Mr. Higgins at the FSC; one needs to be reminded of another custos, the auditor, in this case Crowe Horwath from that financial megatropolis, Belize City. Why a TCI audit firm cannot do the work, I fail to comprehend. Originally BCB was audited by KPMG, a highly respectable firm. Did they resign? one wonders, and if so what was the reason? KPMG also used to audit the Oxford group of companies. An amazing coincidence.
In a further coincidence Crowe Horwath also audited the Oxford group where they failed to spot that several companies had been trading whilst insolvent for many years. More noteworthy is their failure to note the guarantee made by Oxford to InterHealth on December 13, 2007 with regard to the building of the hospital; a staggering $67m at a time when Oxford was insolvent as well as the construction company, Johnston International Ltd..
The audit profession, following the scandals in the US. such as Madoff and Lehman, and in the TCI following a number of high profile local liquidations, can continue with business as usual and await with near certainty the consequences of the next major audit disaster or alternatively it can embrace the need for reform and a new and improved audit model that results in audits of quality.
In conclusion it is obvious that the custodians have failed miserably and past scandals such as JIL, TCI Bank, Olint and NIB must not be allowed to recur. Depositors and shareholders rely upon regulators and auditors for their protection; the custodians are answerable to them as well as to the public at large. Transparency is essential and the defaults of the custodians need investigation and investigation now. It is time to clean out the Aegean Stables before the next financial tsunami does it for them.
April 4, 2014 - Stunning! TCIslanders paying between $2.8 million and $4.0 million dollars per year JUST for Electricity at the Hospitals
At the intersection of two terrible public quagmires; the corrupt Hospitals and Fortis’ Abusive Electricity Monopoly, we discover that confirmed figures show that in 2010 the Provo hospital electricity bill was $1,811,242, and the Grand Turk hospital electricity bill was $1,064,618.
At a time when electricity used to cost 20% less than it does today, the electricity bill for the hospitals was $2,875,860.
The Turks and Caicos Government could begin to save $2 million a year immediately by shifting to renewables for just these two facilities. A renewables power purchase agreement would necessitate no capital cost and would allow savings to begin immediately.
Rather than tax, tax,.....think, think,…..act, act.
The numbers speak for themselves.
Editors of the Journal
April 2, 2014 - Proposed (Unnecessary) Payroll Tax is really an Extension of NHIP tax from 6% to 9%
The National Health Insurance Plan was a disaster even before it started.
Even today the NHIP and its related payments for the corrupt hospitals construction contract consume over 40% of government expenditures.
NHIP started with a payroll tax of 5%, then it was raised to 6%. This amount still does not cover the costs associated with the program.
When the NHIP was initiated, the TCI public brought forth the largest petition in their history, to that moment in time, objecting to the program and stating clearing that the numbers did not make any sense. $124 million at 12% annual interest for 30 hospital beds?
Unless Helen Garlick of the SIPT or the American Law Enforcement authorities, FBI, address the actions of Johnston International, Oxford Ventures, Northtown, British Caribbean Bank, and other companies controlled directly, or through various British Virgin Island entities, by Lord Michael Ashcroft, along with the actions of Floyd Hall, Rufus Ewing, and Michael Misick as they relate to the Hospitals and the NHIP, then there is little hope of economic recovery or even 2nd world health care in the TCI.
It is simple as that.
The proposed and unnecessary payroll tax is twice again simply slaps to the face of TCI citizens and residents by the PNP leadership and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO.
A robbery in progress …...
Editors to the Journal
March 31, 2014 - Even after Creative Accounting, Fortis Inc. STILL makes more on each Customer in the Turks and Caicos Islands than in ANY other jurisdiction in which they operate.
The TCI Government must ask for an Independent Audit of Fortis Turks and Caicos before any meaningful negotiations can continue.
Their recent belligerent and misleading advertisements about renewable energy must be met with calm and cold calculation. The first step of which is to require an independent audit.
The TCI Journal is in communication with TCI citizens who have offered to pay for a full independent audit. It need not cost the government one red penny.
Insider whistleblowers speaking to the TCI Journal report creative accounting on the part of Fortis TCI as it pertains to what is classified as capital expenditure and what is classified as expenses as well as on intra-company billings for debt.
Fortis operates in 8 jurisdictions. The following is how much they made in profit on each of their customers, for their latest reporting year - 2013.
$61 - Central Hudson
$152 - Ontario
$158 - British Columbia
$181 - Alberta
$191 - Newfoundland
$208 - Maritimes
$444 - Cayman Islands
$846 - Turks and Caicos Islands
$160 - Company Average
Until an independent audit has been performed, we are only going on “hearsay” in our community’s effort to develop a National Energy Policy.
Editors of the Journal