By Carlos W. Simons QC
On Monday, 7 May, the Governor published his Quarterly Milestones Update. The Governor is aware that these Updates are highly anticipated for one principal reason: any indication they might give as to a date for elections.
Carlos W. Simons QC is a prominent attorney at law in the Turks and Caicos Islands and a candidate for leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP)
Like people anywhere who have been disenfranchised, the people of the TCI yearn for the return of their universally recognized right to elect and be governed by their own representatives. The British Government knows this as well: it is the same principle that they went to war for in Iraq, and continue to fight for and promote around the globe. Yet it is one they continue to deny in the TCI.
As for the 7 May Update, the words that caught most people’s attention were these:
“It is clear that while significant progress has been made in many areas, further work remains to be done before UK Ministers can judge significant enough progress to allow them to reinstate the Constitution, thus triggering fresh elections.”
Most people see this as a walk-back from the previously clear indication that elections will be held before the end of 2012. It appears to be part of a continuing pattern of borderline deceptions that include leading us to believe that HMG would bear the cost of SIPT!
It is a reckless and dangerous way to conduct the serious business of governance. As I travel around the Islands in my campaign for the leadership of the PNP, I sense a rising tide of frustration with the Interim Administration’s fixation on Milestones progress as opposed to the welfare and well-being of real people. The growing attraction of full independence is fed by this frustration as much as it is by the arrogance, insensitivity and double standards that have come to characterize the British mission here.
In my first address as Chairman of the Consultative Forum, I said that the best job the Forum could do for the people of the TCI is to work itself out of a job as quickly as possible. I resigned more than two years ago to undertake the far more important work that I am currently doing, and almost three years on the Forum is still firmly in place with no apparent end in sight.
So we are halfway through the year and suddenly doubt has been cast on the widely accepted belief, created and encouraged by the Governor and his bosses that elections will be held before the end of the year. Many people will find that disappointing and discouraging and the only way to repair the damage now is for the Governor to expressly confirm that elections will be held before the end of the year, to name the date and to make the Milestones fit that date. They are after all his milestones, not ours!
Having had the opportunity to gauge the mood of the people, I have come to the view that an early date for elections is the single most important item on our agenda of things to be settled with the British. If that continues to be denied I will, as Leader of the PNP, and after close consultation with my Party’s Executive and with their support, devise and pursue such strategies as may be necessary to restore this most basic of human rights to the people of the TCI.