Saturday, April 12, 2008 at 9:50 AM
Nevertheless, I admonish all of my compatriots to resist the temptation to speculate too much about what this accusation portends for Premier Misick, and for our country. Especially since he categorically denied it in a statement he delivered on state TV on Thursday night:
My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, a few days ago, an American female, after leaving the Turks and Caicos Islands, made a false report to law enforcement officials in the United States that she had allegedly been sexually assaulted by me. I strongly and categorically deny these false allegations…. I am confident that I will be completely and fully exonerated of these false and outrageous allegations.
Let me be clear, I will continue my duties as Premier.
Moreover, it will be weeks, if not months, before our attorney general decides whether there is sufficient evidence to even file charges against him. Not to mention that our Premier is entitled to, and must be accorded, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty!
(Of course, given the plethora of complaints about him denying others the Constitutional rights to which they are entitled, I fully appreciate how difficult this admonition will be for many of you to accept.)
That said, there’s no denying the national, regional and international interest in this story. Therefore, I hope this commentary will at least foster more informed gossip about it.
Indeed, since the facts in these “she said, he said” situations can only be established in a court of law, I can only comment on what reliable sources claim occurred:
It is my understanding that Premier Misick committed this alleged rape over a week ago at the Providenciales mansion he shares with his American (actress) wife, First Lady Lisa Raye. The accuser is said to be an American friend of Lisa Raye. After being raped, she reported the crime to the TCI police. And, shortly thereafter, she returned to her home in the United States and reported it to the FBI, which of course poses far more ominous consequences for the Premier.
(Incidentally, one can only hope that our police followed proper procedures – particularly by using our version of a sexual assault forensic evidence (SAFE) kit to gather and preserve physical evidence. On the other hand, Premier Misick is probably hoping for police incompetence in this respect….)
But that’s it for all of the alleged facts that are relevant. Nevertheless, they beg all kinds of unanswerable questions and are rife with political and legal implications. For example:
– If this rape occurred over a week ago, I wonder whether guests who attended the gala opening of the Nikki Beach Resort and Spa last weekend can recall (even if through a drunken or drugged-out haze) any antic behaviour the Premier and First Lady displayed that could be attributed to it.
– Given the Premier’s Clintonian denial, I wonder if we should infer that his defense will be that he did not rape her, but did have consensual “rough” sex with her.
– Since the accuser is an American, I wonder how aggressive a role FBI agents are playing in the investigation. The Premier is clearly naive if he thinks they’re “just observing” – as he declared.
– I wonder which role the First Lady will choose to play: Will she stand by her man; or will she fly the coop back to the US to stand by her friend – especially if the FBI and IRS make her an offer she can’t refuse?
(Of course, if she flees and divorce proceedings ensue, we’d have to end our tourism ad campaign featuring her in the most lucrative role of her life; which would result in millions more of our money being squandered by this TCI government.)
– I suspect senior members of the ruling Progressive National Party (PNP) were already suffering acute anxieties over the looming commission of inquiry into corruption in the TCI. Therefore, I wonder how close they came to finally throwing the Premier overboard to save their own hides.
– Yet, I wonder whether these allegations will make the British more, or less, inclined to establish this commission.
But this seems a good place to stop wondering and to assert that it is wishful thinking to assume that prosecuting (and even convicting) Premier Misick for rape renders moot the need for a commission of inquiry. Because, if anything, this episode dramatizes how critical the need for one has become.
After all, the members of the UK Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) were not “shocked, appalled [and] astonished” just because the Premier reeked of corruption. They expressed those feelings because the entire government reeked of it.
Indeed, it is arguable that if the Governor, government ministers and the Attorney General did not give tacit approval to (or participate in) his alleged political and financial crimes, Michael Misick would not have been our Premier when he allegedly perpetrated this violent crime….
Meanwhile, those who were unjustly enriched by the corrupt government practices he institutionalized may be in for a rude awakening. Because it is also wishful thinking to assume that this Premier will go on trial for rape without ratting out even family members in a plea to save his own hide.
(For example, his lawyers might negotiate a plea bargain with British and American authorities that requires him to tell all about his tangled web of corruption in exchange for leniency on the rape charge….)
Therefore, it behooves all who have just cause to fear that he may eventually implicate them to plead their case to the FAC before it’s too late. And the offer I made in my recent commentary on the looming commission of inquiry (i.e., to liaise with the FAC on anyone’s behalf) still stands.
That said, even though rife with political implications, this is first and foremost a criminal matter. And we should leave it to TCI, British and American authorities to investigate the allegations, and to prosecute the Premier if the evidence warrants – in accordance with the due process of law.
In the meantime, however, I would caution him against traveling to the United States. Because I’m sure the FBI would like nothing more than to arrest him and assume original jurisdiction to prosecute him there.
Never mind that, in recent years, the US has so extended its extraterritorial jurisdiction over people who commit violent crimes against Americans abroad, the Premier might not be
safe from the FBI’s dragnet even ensconced in his TCI mansion.
NOTE: No doubt some of you are wondering if the TCI Attorney General will dismiss this allegation of rape against our Premier the way the Director of Public Prosecutions in St Vincent and the Grenadines dismissed two separate allegations of rape against that country’s prime minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, earlier this year.
And frankly, given that the TCI Attorney General decided last year that there was “no public interest” in prosecuting the Premier on credible charges of assault, theft and obstruction of justice, chances are very good that his legal reasoning will mislead him into dismissing this allegation as a strictly private matter.
However, the reason Premier Misick will not get off as easily as Prime Minister Gonsalves did is that his accuser is an American, not a native woman. (Pathetic I know, but it’s really that simple….)
More to the point, I suspect that, ultimately, the FBI and US prosecutors will pursue justice for her far more more diligently and objectively than our arbitrary and capricious Attorney General would have done for one of our own.
Commission of Inquiry looms…
FAC “shocked and appalled”…
Open Letter to PM Gordon Brown
Alas, throwing Premier Misick overboard is necessary…
No public interest in prosecuting the Premier…?
A wannabe gangsta…
* This article was also published today in the most widely read newspaper in the Caribbean: Caribbean Net News