HC Deb 22 July 1987 vol 120 cc221-2W
Mr. Wells

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the outcome of the commission of inquiry into the North Creek development project in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Mr. Eggar

The Commission, led by Mr. Louis Blom-Cooper QC, has submitted its report to the Governor. The Report is being printed as a Command Paper and copies are being placed in the Library of the House.

The report finds that Mr. Terence Donegan committed various acts of misfeasance in public office while Attorney General of the Turks and Caicos Islands from 1980 to 1982 in promoting the Little Bluff Development Company in which he had a considerable interest and in failing in his fiduciary duty to the Crown.

In the light of the report the Governor has decided that it is not in the public interest that Mr. Donegan should remain in the islands. Acting upon his own authority under the powers vested in him in the constitution and the local Immigration Ordinance the Governor has therefore issued a deportation order against Mr. Donegan. The question of restitution of profits and the possible restitution of alienated Crown Lands by compulsory purchase under the constitution are matters which are the legitimate interest of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government and have been referred to them for decision. We fully endorse the Governor's decision.

The report also makes it clear that in seeking to promote the development of Crown Lands at North Creek through a project involving the Raul Construction Company certain TCI Ministers in the Executive Council acted without proper regard for the public interest.

No action is considered necessary in the case of those Ministers. One of the Ministers concerned was sentenced by United States Courts for drugs-related offences in 1985. Another was among those who resigned office shortly before the decision to suspend Ministerial Government in the TCI announced on 25 July last year. No other Ministers appear to be implicated.

This is the third Commission on TCI matters since January 1986. All three have revealed serious weaknesses in the administration of the Islands. Our decision to suspend Ministerial Government in the Islands in July 1986, and our action following the Report of the constitutional Commission appointed in September last year, shows that Her Majesty's Government are fully determined to correct these weaknesses and to ensure that the Islands are provided with the responsible administration to which they have an undoubted right.