During an appearance on the Expressions radio program, former chief minister Oswald Skippings, as well as host Ruth Blackman, spent most of the 90-minute show on the issue of the deteriorated water system on the island of their residence, Grand Turk, where the program originates.
According to both Skippings and Blackman, the failure to address this problem on Grand Turk is due to the failure of the interim government to act swiftly to repair the desalination plant and the water supply system. The government has announced they plan to spend $1.3 million to replace the reverse osmosis system and perform other system repairs and upgrades.
The problems have been ongoing for years and the non-availability of repair parts are reportedly at the heart of the difficulty.
The drought being experienced by Middle and North Caicos, where residents are having to purchase and haul water, were not addressed. Mentioned, however, was the decision by the interim government to sell the government’s share in the Provo water plant which is in good operating condition.
Also barely mentioned during the broadcast was the shortage of school rooms and teachers in Provo, where many children have been turned away due to lack of room. Also unaddressed was the problem on Provo of the unsafe condition of certain highways.
The failure to address these high priority issues and focus instead on the Grand Turk water problems has caused Caicos Islanders to revisit the problem of a government located on Grand Turk, where less than 10 percent of the population resides.
What has driven this discussion is the announcement by Skippings, both in his National Heroes Day speech on Grand Turk and his statement at the opening of the Monday Expressions show, that the division between the Turks and Caicos Islands is no longer a valid issue.