Turks and Caicos making strides in getting back stolen land

 

jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

Efforts by the British to help citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands recover thousands of acres in illegally sold government land possibly valued at more than $100 million, are making progress, said the law firm leading the program.

Laurence Harris, who is involved in the recovery, will visit the British-dependent territory Thursday to discuss his firm's results. Among what he's expected to tell islanders: Since last year, an additional $17 million and 1,600 acres have been recovered.

So far, $19.5 million and 2,508 acres have been recouped. It's expected that up to another 1,000 acres could also come back to the government, Harris and partner Edwards Wildman said in a statement.

In 2009, Wildman's United Kingdom law firm won the bid to help British authorities, investigating allegations of corruption in the chain, to recoup the state land allegedly sold by government officials at huge profits. A popular tourism spot, Turks and Caicos is 575 miles southeast of Miami.

"The substantial amount of cash and land recovered over the last 12 months coincides with the successful conclusion of a number of cases where judgments have been given in the government’s favor," said the statement.

With the right long-term investment, the recovered land could be valued at more than $100 million, the lawyers said.

"We hope that the very substantial value that is intrinsic to the land we have recovered will be understood in the future as bringing real long term opportunity to the Islands in a way that would not have been possible without these recoveries," the lawyers added.

Four years ago, following a Commission of Inquiry looking into allegations of widespread corruption in the Turks and Caicos, the British launched an $11 million a year criminal investigation. So far, more than a dozen individuals, including former government ministers, have been charged with corruption-related offenses. The islands' former premier is in a Brazilian jail awaiting extradition and 62 civil recovery cases remain open.

The government hopes to conclude the recovery program by this summer.

Read more World stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
South Korean Coast Guard officers try to rescue missing passengers from a sunken ferry in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, south of Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Fears rose Thursday for the fate of more than 280 passengers still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with water off the southern coast of South Korea. (AP Photo/Yonhap) KOREA OUT

    Fears rise for missing in SKorea ferry sinking

    Strong currents, rain and bad visibility hampered an increasingly anxious search Thursday for 287 passengers still missing a day after their ferry flipped onto its side and sank in cold waters off the southern coast of South Korea.

  •  
South Korean rescue helicopters fly over a South Korean passenger ship, trying to rescue passengers from the ship in water off the southern coast in South Korea, Wednesday, April 16, 2014. A government office said the  passenger ship carrying about 470 people have sent a distress call off the southern coast after it began tittering to one side.

    2 dead after ferry sinks off South Korean coast

    Dozens of boats, helicopters and divers scrambled Wednesday to rescue more than 470 people, including 325 high school students on a school trip, after a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two and injuring 14, officials said.

  • Dutch arrest girl whose tweet threatened airline

    Police in the Netherlands have arrested a 14-year-old girl on suspicion of threatening American Airlines in a tweet.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category