The three-member Electoral Boundaries Commission, which has the responsibility to establish the boundaries of the ten local consistencies, has been named and will soon begin its work.
Carl Simmons of Tropical Shipping will be joined by Judge Margaret Ramsay- Hale of the local judiciary. The third member is Tremmaine Swan-Harvey of Misick and Stanbrook, the law firm of former Premier Michael Misick’s brother Ariel Misick.
The commission will set up the boundary lines between the ten electoral districts with the goal of equalizing the population to the extent possible. It appears they will have the benefit of the results of this year’s census to help guide them.
There is some local concern as to how the boundaries are drawn, as certain areas historically have favoured one party or another.
The population of Providenciales is so large that, despite there being six districts, they are expected to field more voters per district than any of the others. Grand Turk will lose its previous four seats, being now reduced to only two. The capital island has a disproportionate number of government employees (civil servants), and they are expected to favour the Progressive National Party (PNP) due to the activities of Dr Rufus Ewing, who for a short but critical time headed the Civil Service Association.
Ewing’s deputy at that post, Jamal Robinson, son of PNP deputy premier and minister Royal Robinson, has made it known he will be a candidate in Grand Turk. Former elected Grand Turk representatives of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Floyd Seymour and Arthur Robinson, have dropped out and will not run this year. Floyd Hall and Samuel Been of the PNP, who took the other two Grand Turk seats in the 2007 election, are involved in the current court issues and cannot run.
It is not known who will represent the parties in Provo’s six districts. These were all lost by the PDM in 2007. PNP Karen Delancy, former minister and Consultative Forum member, may return to contest one of the seats. Lillian Boyce, former wife of Samuel Been, is also in court and PDM Sean Ashwood has made it known he will try again to win the Five Cays district, which he lost to Boyce in 2007.
PNP Galmo Williams of Provo’s Long Bay will not run this year. This and the other five Provo districts have yet to select candidates. Former minister of works Sam Harvey has said he is interested in running for one of the Provo districts. North/Middle Caicos is a confusing area, with several people expressing interest in running there. The strongest candidate could be current PDM deputy leader Douglas Parnell, who hails from North Caicos. Parnell seems to be in retreat from his party and may not be involved after this weekend’s convention in Grand Turk. Parnell has taken the route of Seymour and Art Robinson in returning to his business interests.
South Caicos will be contested by either PNP Norman Saunders, who has had the seat for years, or his son EJ Saunders, who resides in Provo. No one from the PDM has expressed a strong interest there.
Other known candidates, including party leaders, are expected to run at large.