Over three years since elected ministerial government was suspended in the Turks and Caicos Islands by Britain following allegations of widespread government corruption, general elections will be held in the territory on Friday.
“This week marks the start of a much heralded and long anticipated new chapter in the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI),” said Governor Ric Todd. “I am very much looking forward to the elections on Friday and appointing both the new premier and the leader of the opposition early next week, dependent, of course, on the electoral arithmetic from Friday’s poll.
“As we all look now with optimism and hope to the future, I believe that it is worth pausing to contemplate this week ahead of the election just how far the Islands and the UK have come together these past few years and recognise just how challenging a journey this has been.
“No one needs to remind people on TCI that the country endured a ‘perfect storm’ in 2008/9 of the breakdown of good governance, the consequences of the global financial crisis and Hurricane Ike. But even as the economy grew strongly in the boom years, the country had increased its debt; investors turned away from these shores; and, as we know, there was an increasing absence of confidence in the institutions of the TCI. The allegations of criminal activity related to this period are being dealt with through the Island’s courts.
“Dealing with these issues and the consequences of economic and financial downturn in 2009 alone would be a tremendous challenge. To work together as we have done to introduce the most ambitious programme of public reforms in any UK Overseas Territory, and perhaps in the region, another. To do both together is simply a remarkable achievement by the people of TCI of which they can be rightly proud. And things are improving. Growth returned in 2010, has continued at 4.3% in 2011 and will carry on again this year; helped not least by the series of significant investments which have been announced in the past months.
“I would like to personally thank, therefore, all of the men and women who have contributed to this success, in TCIG, as well as in the private sector, and the UK, for their courage and strength in getting this job done. Their efforts have been instrumental in seeing a democratically elected government being returned to the TCI. Each and every one of them should be very proud indeed of their contribution. Quite simply, Friday’s election is down to you.
“Equally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the TCI’s political parties and politicians for the quality of the campaigns that they have run for this election and the dialogue they have had with the Permanent Secretaries and myself to prepare for Government. That they have been civil and focused on the positives of their own plans for the country is to their credit; one wise Pastor recently told me that this was the calmest, most reasonable and orderly election that he could remember on the Islands.
“I also thank the people of the TCI for their patience and fortitude over the past three years. We have tried at all times to consult widely, to be open, honest and accountable while trying to do the right thing for the TCI – meet the milestones, build the economy and run effective and transparent government.
“As the Turks and Caicos Islands prepares to vote for its new government they can do so with confidence that they stand before a democratic and better governed future. The UK Overseas Territory White Paper demonstrated its commitment to all 14 of the Overseas Territories. There are of course many challenges ahead, but the UK stands ready continue to work with and to support the further development of the Turks and Caicos Islands. We look forward, therefore, to working with the new administration towards a bright future that builds upon our shared inheritance.
“Finally, I would like to wish good luck to all 37 candidates in Friday’s election. Now it is up to the electorate to decide.”
TCI election background:
• TCI has a population of 31,458. Of these there are 7,377 verified Islanders with some 7,243 registered voters.
• There are 19 seats in the TCI House of Assembly
o 15 of these are filled by directly elected candidates
o One additional members is nominated by the Premier and appointed by The Governor
o One additional members is nominated by the Leader of the Official Opposition and appointed by The Governor
o Two members from TCI Civic Society are appointed directly by The Governor
• The 15 directly elected members are voted for on two simultaneous issued ballot papers
o The first is for 10 Electoral Districts (think constituencies). This is a white ballot paper. Each voter votes for one candidate.
o The second is for five All Island Districts (these are voted for on the second ballot papers in and votes are combined from across the country – effectively ‘first five past the post’). This is a green ballot paper. Each voter can vote for up to five preferred candidates.
• The election is being contested by 37 candidates, drawn from three political parties and two independents.
o People’s Democratic Movement (PDM): fielding 10 Electoral District candidates and five All Island candidates
o Progressive National Party (PNP): fielding 10 Electoral District candidates and five All Island candidates
o People’s Progressive Party (PPP) fielding five Electoral district candidates only
o One independent candidate standing in one Electoral District
o One independent candidate standing in the All Island list
List of parties and nominated candidates:
GRAND TURK NORTH – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 1
1. George Alexander Lightbourne PNP
2. Derek Anthonio Rolle PDM
GRAND TURK SOUTH – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 2
1. Edwin Astwood PDM
2. Rex Elton Swann PNP
SOUTH CAICOS – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 3
1. Edith Andrea Cox PDM
2. Norman Benjamin Saunders PNP
NORTH and MIDDLE CAICOS – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 4
1. Ashwood Leon Forbes PDM
2. Ricardo Don Hue Gardiner PNP
LEEWARD – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 5
1. Akierra M. Missick PNP
2. Ezra Ringo Tyrone Taylor PDM
3. Bennett Williams IND
THE BIGHT – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 6
1. Dorell Monique Pratt/Delancey PPP
2. Sonny Alexander Forbes PDM
3. Porsha Monique Stubbs/Smith PNP
CHESHIRE HALL and RICHMOND HILL-ELECTORAL DISTRICT 7
1. Amanda A. Misick PNP
2. Isaac Oral Selver PDM
3. Edward E. Smith PPP
BLUE HILLS – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 8
1. Goldray McMillin Ewing PDM
2. Adrian Carlyle Williams PNP
3. Wendal D. Wilson PPP
FIVE CAYS – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 9
1. Sean Rickard Astwood PDM
2. Harold Charles PPP
3. Thomas I.N. Ewing PNP
WHEELAND – ELECTORAL DISTRICT 10
1. Zhavargo J. Jolly PPP
2. Gregory ONeal Lightbourne PNP
3. Vaden Delroy Williams PDM
ALL ISLAND DISTRICT
1. Josephine Connolly PDM
2. Rufus Washington Ewing PNP
3. Wayne Newton Garland PNP
4. Samuel I. Harvey PDM
5. Charles Washington Misick PNP
6. Royal Stephenson Robinson PNP
7. Sharlene Linette Cartwright Robinson PDM
8. Carlos W. Simons PNP
9. Oswald M. Simons IND
10. Oswald Oneal Skippings PDM
11. H. Derek Taylor PDM
In the meantime, arrangements are being finalised for the swearing in of the elected members of the House of Assembly as well as for the Ceremonial Opening of the Assembly next week.
Proposed dates are:
• Wednesday, Nov 14 – Swearing-in of Ministers
• Monday, Nov 19 -- Ceremonial Opening and the 1st sitting of the House