By: Lord Anthony Gifford QC, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown and Tom Tavares-Finson, Attorney-at-Law
We have had full consultations with David and Tracey Smith and their local attorneys-at-law Barnett & Associates, during a visit to the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI), following the restraint order obtained by the Attorney General of TCI on 11th July 2008, which has prevented them from using their assets in the TCI. They have authorised us to issue this statement.
We have recommended a process aimed at obtaining the discharge of the restraint order and securing the return of the computers and documents which were seized from them on 14th July 2008.
On 17th July 2008 the Supreme Court in TCI imposed a gag order preventing further disclosure of the restraint order proceedings, so that we are not at liberty to give details of this process.
We have also held consultations in relation to the general situation of David Smith, Olint and its members. Olint and David Smith enjoyed an excellent reputation for fulfilling their obligations to their membership up to March 2006 when the Financial Services Commission (FSC), without warning, raided their offices, seized their electronic and other records, and issued a Cease and Desist Order against them.
These events caused Olint to be deprived of their records for a month, and at the same time there were multiple demands by members for their funds. The accounting and record keeping systems were dislocated to an extent which to this day has not been resolved. Many members were inadvertently credited with more gains than had been earned for them, and in some instances this led to overpayment when they requested their funds.
Since March 2006 Olint has had to move its operations to TCI, address continued demands from club members, and pursue litigation against both the FSC and NCB up to the level of the Court of Appeal. On 18th July 2008 it won its appeal against NCB, which had ordered Olint to close its account. Its appeal against FSC, relating to the validity of the Cease and Desist Order, is pending before the Court of Appeal and will be vigorously pursued, and an
early date is being sought.
David Smith wishes club members and the wider public to know that at all times his intentions and activities have been directed towards honestly fulfilling his obligations towards his members. He has not applied the funds of members to his own use.
However, as a result of the pressures and hostile actions mentioned above, Olint has been unable to deal expeditiously with its accounting problems. Time is needed to conduct a full audit of members' accounts and balances.
David Smith wishes us to say that he is deeply sorry that members have suffered delay, disappointment and extreme anxiety as a result of the difficulties of Olint. If he is permitted to do so, he commits himself to fulfilling his obligations and making payments to members within nine months. He asks members to bear in mind his record of conscientious achievement.
Photo Source: Jamaica Gleaner