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In sunny Turks and Caicos, 'political amorality' forces Britain to retake control

Michael Misick resigned as prime minister of the Caribbean island on Mar. 23 amid corruption allegations. He calls Britain's return to direct rule 'modern-day colonialism.'

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Michael Misick, who until recently was the prime minister of this British overseas territory, has a lot to show for his nearly six years in government.

Providenciales, the commercial hub of this archipelago, 600 miles southeast of Miami, has gone from a sleepy tropical backwater to a sprawling suburban landscape of strip malls, five-star resorts, and red-tiled villas connected by a four-lane highway. Many outer islands have been turned into exclusive resorts attracting the attention of celebrities such as Bruce Willis, who got married at one last month.

But on Mar. 23, Mr. Misick resigned following the release of the initial results of an official corruption investigation which concluded there were clear signs of "systemic venality," "political amorality and immaturity," and "chronic ills collectively amounting to a national emergency."

The report, headed by retired British Lord Justice Sir Robin Auld, recommended the urgent suspension of the territorial constitution and the imposition of direct rule from London.

Misick has denounced the British plan as a return to colonialism and "a clear and present danger to the interest of our people," but many of his countrymen say it was time for him to go.

Lavish lifestyle at the people's expense?

Mr. Auld had heard five weeks of testimony at the Regents Palms Hotel here this winter, where witnesses described the prime minister's lavish lifestyle and questionable conduct in the sales of public land and the expenditure of taxpayer's money.

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