The repeated calls for independence by Premier Rufus Ewing have Turks and Caicos Islanders wondering if his rhetoric has any basis in reality. According to Ewing, the move for independence from Britain is gaining momentum.
Premier Rufus Ewing
However, to gauge support for the issue, one local television station, PTV 8, last week interviewed men and women in the street in one of the districts won by Ewing’s Progressive National Party (PNP) and four out of five people interviewed rejected the idea of independence or said this “certainly is not the right time to consider this”.
Normally, independence must receive 80 percent of the voting public's approval for it to be accepted by Britain.
Ewing has been pleading to the already independent nations of the Caribbean apparently to gain outside support for the idea, because he has now spoken of it at two regional meetings. It is also believed that Ewing is following orders from his former mentor Michael Misick because of the looming prosecutions of Misick himself and 11 of his former cabinet ministers, their relatives and others. Misick, who fled the TCI to escape corruption charges, is in the process of being extradited from Brazil, where he unsuccessfully sought political asylum.
It was Misick who moved medical doctor Ewing to his former position as director of medical services for the TCI.
Ewing played a central role in creating the National Health Insurance Plan which has not lived up to its promises of full health coverage for all residents and workers.
Misick also threw his support behind Ewing at a PNP convention, allowing Ewing to win leadership of the party. Ewing’s father, Hilly Ewing, is a stalwart member of the opposing Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), and one of Ewing's most vocal critics is his brother, Goldray Ewing, who is now the PDM’s elected representative for the Blue Hills district of Providenciales.