In order to fully understand the concept of The Presidency, one has first to understand what the events were leading up to this period in our history. From 1764 – 1848, the TCI experienced the years with The Bahamas. There were two critical problems as it relates to the relationship between The Bahamas and the TCI: (a) economic and (b) political.
Dr Carlton Mills is a graduate of Excelsior Community College and the University of the West Indies where he pursued his training in teacher education and Bachelors in History respectively. He is also a graduate of the University of London, Bristol and Sheffield where he pursued his Master’s and Doctorate in Education respectively. Dr Mills was appointed as Minister of Education in 2007 where he served until February 2009. Following the suspension of the TCI Constitution, he was invited by the governor to serve on the Advisory Council. He served for six months before resigning. Dr Mills is currently the chairman of the board of Governors of the TCI Community College. He is also the main editor of the recently published book “The History of the Turks and Caicos Islands”. He has written several articles for journals and chapters in other books and presented papers at various conferences in the region and in the UK.
The TCI was a salt producing economy. The Bahamas accrued tremendous financial gains from this relationship. The main contact that the TCI had with the Bahamas was on the occasion when the tax collectors came down annually to collect taxes on the salt that was produced in the salt ponds. The islands experienced high levels of taxation on salt exports, which they strongly resented. There was further resentment when the Bahamian government imposed legislation to enforce these measures.
In 1799, the Bahamas Assembly passed an act giving The Bahamas the power to tax the TCI, placing the islands within the political and geographical domain of The Bahamas. This Act of Parliament allowed one salt island representative to sit in the Assembly in Nassau. In 1835, the number was increased to three.
The distance between the TCI and The Bahamas, along with the lack of telecommunications, limited their attendance and involvement in the decision making that affected their lives in the TCI. On several occasions, by the time the representatives from the TCI reached the Bahamas, the Assembly had already met.
They had also made decisions that affected life in the TCI without any input from the local representatives. This helped to further aggravate the political situation between the TCI and The Bahamas.
The tax collector visited the TCI once per year while the mail boat made four visits per year. There were boats operating more frequently between Jamaica and the TCI than with The Bahamas. The islanders therefore felt more closely associated with Jamaica rather than The Bahamas.
On December 25, 1848, the TCI was separated from The Bahamas with the passing of The Separation Act. One of the main clauses of this Act was the setting up of a Presidency with a Council to assist him with the day to day administration of the government.
What was the Presidency?
The Presidency was a period of government in the TCI following Bahamas rule. It lasted from 1848 – 1873, approximately 25 years. The Act provided for the nomination of a President assisted by a Council supervised by the Governor of Jamaica. During the 25 years of the Presidency, there were a total of four presidents. I will briefly highlight the issues, problems and challenges faced by each president.
The first President was Captain Henry Alexander Forth (1848 – 54).
President Forth started schemes to increase salt production, which was the mainstay of the economy. This was done in South Caicos and salt production was also developed on West Caicos for the first time. He also declared West Caicos a port of entry to facilitate the salt trade. Under his watch, the Grand Turk Lighthouse was established in 1852. President Forth also started The Forth Masonic Lodge, The Royal Standard and Gazette weekly newspapers, which were used as propaganda machines for the government.
He also contemplated the establishment of a public bank and a public market but they did not materialize during his tenure. He also established the first Board of Education a demonstration of his commitment to education. He successfully paid off the remaining debt owed to The Bahamas by the TCI.
President Forth had a poor relationship with most senior staff and also with Judge Duncombe. This was further aggravated when he suspended the Police Magistrate Williams Hamilton and the Stipendiary Magistrate Francis Ellis. These individuals were later reinstated by the Secretary of State. Many also felt that President Forth was abusing his powers. This gave rise to questions about his integrity resulting in a petition for his removal. This was overruled by the Secretary of State.
President Forth had previously served in Tasmania and was described as being of the ‘old colonial school’ of public administration. Yet he was sent to the TCI to run the political affairs of the country.
Second President William Robert Inglis (1854 – 62) replaced President Forth. He was a former Stipendiary Magistrate in The Bahamas. He faced unprecedented resentment from the Bermudian settlers, who were totally opposed to anyone who had previous connections with the TCI separation from The Bahamas. As a result he was not well received. He actually started on a very bad note by attempting to regulate the salt industry, which previously was a very sore issue.
He brought further resentment when, in 1859, he imposed a law to enforce order at Council meetings. Members who were brought to order twice by the chairman were fined $10. This resulted in mass resignations of members. President Inglis also had serious problems maintaining law and order. He did not think twice to use force to bring stability to situations he felt could get out of hand. As a result of his abuse of power, the Colonial Secretary concluded that the president contributed significantly to the moral, social and intellectual decay of the TCI. This resulted in his departure in December 1862.
Third President: Alexander Wilson Moir (1862 – 69)
He took up office on November 14, 1862. He also had some immediate successes. He opened the short lived Public Bank in 1864 as well as the Public Market on Grand Turk. He also expanded agriculture in the Caicos Islands and realized that salt alone could not sustain the TCI economy. This was done in an attempt to diversify the economy and to reduce the high cost of food importation.
President Moir also changed the traditional leasehold system that characterized the salt industry to a new freehold tenure of ownership. He felt that this old system stagnated the growth of the industry. His new approach saw the islands experiencing a brief period of prosperity where annual exports of salt reached a record $124,000 in 1865.
President Moir was also on the verge of becoming the most popular president but disaster struck. The hurricane of 1866 devastated the salt industry, destroyed homes and caused loss of lives in Grand Turk. The economic base of the country was wrecked. President Moir left in 1869 to take up an appointment in the Virgin Islands.
The fourth president was Captain Melfort Campbell (1869 – 73). He came on the heels of an economic downturn in the country. Unfortunately his first order of business was retrenchment. This was a very unpopular move, particularly following the recent hurricane. The country was experiencing serious cash flow difficulties. As a result, payment of salaries to civil servants was usually three month in arrears.
Several civil servants survived by discounting promissory notes to local merchants. On top of this, the price for salt on the global market had declined. Although the Crown had provided some assistance and the Public Bank had provided loans, this did not better the situation. The country continued to drift into debt. Revenue collection was down. The islands had to survive on revenue from taxation. This was not sustainable.
The situation in the TCI led the Governor in Chief, Sir J.P. Grand from Jamaica to make two assessment visits to the islands, one in 1872 and another in 1873. During his second visit, the Legislature took the decision to beseech the British government to annex the islands to Jamaica. By Order in Council, this was done on January 1, 1874.
There are several lessons that we can learn from the Presidency. Firstly, there was failure on the part of the Presidency to consult with the local population on issues that could impact their lives. As a result, the local population generally felt that they were at a distance. Another drawback was the fact that all of the appointments were done from the outside. This caused further resentment. These appointments were paybacks by HMG for what they termed outstanding service.
The Presidents had no training in public administration and thus generally ruled as if they were totally in charge. It gave the impression that, because the TCI was viewed as a small colony, anyone could run its political affairs. Other than the attempt by President Moir, little attempt was made to diversify the economy. We still face a similar situation today. With the collapse of the salt industry after the hurricane of 1866, the collapse of the Presidency followed closely. The economy was in dire need of a stimulus package, which was not readily available at the time.
These 25 years under the Presidency provided the opportunity for the TCI to set the stage to become one of the most prosperous countries at the time. The TCI was on the verge of becoming a country of global significance and influence. This did not materialize because of poor leadership, high level corruption in government, bribery, dishonesty, deceit and political patronage.
Little attempt was made to empower the local population. Furthermore, the local population resented the installation of leaders from the outside who were given autonomy over them. Little was done during the period to improve the infrastructural development, educational and health facilities. These important essential services were critical to the continued growth and sustainability of the Presidency.
With the regional and international trade relations that we had going on at the time, we lost the opportunity to form strong economic partnerships that could have provided more meaningful benefits to the TCI. We lost an opportunity to use our salt to become an economic hub and an economic bargaining power, thus attracting other global partners to our shores. This could have resulted in more diversification of our economy.
We lost an opportunity to form global political networking despite the limited technology that was available at the time. We lost an opportunity to unite the TCI so that it could become a ‘country’ rather than a group of individual islands still considered to be separated in one instance by ocean and in another by banks.
Finally, the Presidency was an opportunity missed because, during those 25 years, we had the opportunity to begin our quest for self-determination. Unfortunately, no thought was even given to this critical issue. The financial gains that were derived from the salt trade in particular created a hunger for power and wealth, leading to widespread corruption, greed, dishonesty and the eventual demise of the Presidency.
History has repeated itself in 1986 and again in 2009. This is true of the TCI because of our failure to understand the importance of our own history. We will continue to make these same mistakes over and over again if we do not take time out to learn the lessons that history continues to teach us.
Queen’s Counsel Carlos Simons says if he becomes leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP) and Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, he will fire Special Prosecutor Helen Garlick and her Special Investigations and Prosecutions Team (SIPT). Speaking on Robert Hall’s Expressions call-in programme on Radio Turks and Caicos on Monday April 23rd, Simons said the SIPT was nothing more than a “gravy train” and that they should really be called the “Garlick Time and Money Team”. The prominent lawyer, who is running for leadership of the PNP at its upcoming convention, said: “Here we have a situation in which the British Government is forcing us to pay millions of dollars to Helen Garlick and their other lawyers to investigate so called crimes that were committed on their watch and to recover land, every acre of which was doled out over the signature of their Governor (Richard Tauwhare). At the same time as we are paying these millions of dollars to Helen Garlick and other British Government lawyers, public servants and others are being laid off and the people of Grand Turk have to line up at the public tank with buckets for water.Now just ask yourself, what is wrong with that picture? And the answer is everything.” Simons said that on the one hand the British are “terrorizing and traumatizing” the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands with their own money and on the other hand they are “driving the rest of us into poverty”. He added: “It is morally wrong. The only reason it is not legally wrong is because the British have made the laws. They call it the SIPT. But it’s really nothing more than a gravy train. Its name ought to be the GTMT- The Garlic Time and Money Team. But I promise you this- the day I take office is the day Helen Garlick gets laid off. That gravy train they’re riding will not just be stopped; it will be brought to a screeching halt. I will not spend on dime, no not one dime of TCI taxpayers’ money on Helen Garlic. The events they are investigating took place under the watchful eye of their Governor, the investigation was recommended by their Commissioner, it is being conducted by their lawyers, applying laws that they themselves have recently made. But it’s all being paid for with our money. That is not justice and I will see justice done or I will die in the process. So the day I take office, I will be saying to the British Government is relation to Helen Garlic, not in my name and not on my dime. You hired her, you pay her. Otherwise she can pack her bags and go home. I just don’t roll like that.” Simons also called on Governor Ric Todd to withdraw the international arrest warrant against former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Michael Misick. “Imagine issuing an international police warrant with our money as though they’re hunting some kind of genocidal maniac and as though they had nothing to do with the circumstances. It is an affront to this country as a whole. I call upon the Governor to rescind that warrant today. If he does not I will the day I take office,” Simons added. Meantime, Simons said in a separate press release that he was “outraged” by the recent statement from the owner of Beaches TCI to the Jamaica Observer revealing plans to increase his Jamaican staff in the TCI by 150 workers. “I am similarly outraged that the Interim Government of Governor Todd could countenance such an arrangement. The quote attributed to Mr. Stewart in the Observer to the effect that he is happiest when he is in a position to provide jobs for Jamaicans who deserve to have employment so that they can take care of themselves and their family”, is at best insensitive and at worst offensive because the jobs he is referring to are being provided in the TCI at the expense of TCI workers, who equally need jobs to feed their families and who have a greater entitlement to those jobs,” Simons said. He said it is clear that the Interim Administration which ought to be protecting the TCI workforce has abandoned its responsibility to do so. “How else can you explain laying off hundreds of public servants but at the same time allowing a private sector employer to import hundreds of foreign workers without first offering those opportunities to the laid off public servants and other unemployed TCI workers? I call upon the Governor to release immediately the details of this scandalous arrangement so the public can see what his government is up to and to forthwith reverse the decision to allow this to happen,” the Queen’s Counsel added.
published in SUN,Turks and Caicos Islands ,25th of April 2012
Her Excellency, Navanethem Pillay High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais Wilson
52 rue des Pâquis
Ch-12011 Geneva Switzerland
Dear Madam Commissioner,
SEEKING OHCHR INTERVENTION IN TURKS AND CAICOS POLITICAL SITUATION
I am the former Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a country located in the Caribbean and which is a colony of the United Kingdom.
I would like to bring your attention to, and seek your assistance regarding,a number of human rights violations that have been taking place in the Turks and Caicos Islands in general, and to me and some of my former Cabinet ministers in particular, because of the stand taken by our political party,the Progressive National Party (PNP), and my Administration which was in office from 2003 to 2009, on advancing and achieving independence for our country.
The violations have been conducted by the British Government and their Interim Administration in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It is my submission that their actions contravene the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights plus a number of other international conventions to which the British are a signatory.
BELOW ARE EXAMPLES OF THE CONVENTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN VIOLATED
(1) UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights
Article 2 states: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race,colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”
In my view, the British Government has violated this article. They have discriminated against the citizens of the Turks and Caicos Islands because of the colour of their skin and because of our status as a colony. They have also discriminated against the Turks and Caicos Islands citizens because of our desire to seek self-determination. They have taken away a number of our rights under this declaration or refused to grant us some.
Article 7: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”
Article 8: “Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competentnational tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.”
Article 10: “Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”
Article 11(1): “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial a which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.”
Article 11(2): “No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.”
Article 12: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
Article 17: “(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.”
Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression;this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Article 20: “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.” (2) “No one may be compelled to belong to an association.”
Article 21: “(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.”
(2) The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Furthermore, the British Government and by extension the Interim Administration, are also in violation of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Article 1 reaffirms the right of self-determination; Article 14, the right to a fair hearing; Article 25(a), the right and opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives, and Article 25(b) grants the right to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors.
In the Turks and Caicos Islands we have not had elections for almost 3 years, although they were constitutionally due two years ago. As such, for the past 3 years the islands have been a virtual dictatorship, operating without an elected government.
Furthermore, the British-appointed Governor has sole executive and legislative powers and in addition, he appoints the Prosecutor and all of the Judges, who have no security of tenure and therefore rely on the Governor and the British government to renew their contracts, creating automatic room for abuse.
(3) UN Charter
In addition, the British are in violation of the UN Charter.
Chapter 1: Purpose and Principles. Article 2. “To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”
Chapter XI: Declaration Regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories. Article73. “Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:
(a) to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the people concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement,their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;
(b) to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the people, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its people and their varying stages of advancement.”
For countries that have adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the first Optional Protocol to the Covenant gives the option of recognizing the Human Rights Committee as qualified to receive and examine communication from individual people. When people or groups of people have exhausted local remedies, the Protocol allows them to petition the Committee directly about their government’s alleged violations of the Covenant.
EXAMPLES OF THE SPECIFIC VIOLATIONS AND ABUSE IN THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
In the Turks and Caicos Islands, we are faced with the following:
1. Denial of our right to self-determination and our right to freely and without fear conduct open national debate in that regard.
2. Denial of our right to hold free and fair elections.
3. Denial of our right to fair trial.
4. Denial of our rights to freedom of expressions and assembly.
5. Introduction of retroactive criminal legislation with the view of securing convictions.
6. Persons were compelled to testify against themselves at a Commission of Inquiry and that information was subsequently used to charge individuals. This is a violation of Article 14 of The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
7. There is no independence of the Judiciary:
a. The Governor is the sole authority in the colony in that he is the sole person that makes executive decisions, he alone makes legislation and he alone appoints the Prosecutor and the judges. The current governor is RicTodd.
b. Governor Ric Todd has said at a public meeting that all of the accused former ministers are guilty and will be convicted.
c. Furthermore in an article that appeared in the Miami Herald online on the 9th of April, Governor Todd was quoted as saying that “the elected government has deliberately and systematically stolen the assets of the people of the TCI for personal gains”.
In this light, I and former Ministers who have been accused of corruption can never get a fair trial. How can we ever get a fair trial when the person that has the sole power to appoint the Prosecutor and judges in the colony is making such pronouncements before a trial?
8. There is also interference with the right to a political life,with Governor Ric Todd and his Attorney General Huw Shepheard bringing legal action to unlawfully confiscate our party headquarters and to demolish it.They are systematically trying to eliminate my party, the PNP, from the political life in the Turks and Caicos Islands by arresting and charging most of the senior members including the new Leader who is a lawyer who has never one day served in any Government in the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is my belief that the reason for this is to silence the party because its public stance has been to seek independence from Britain. It is also my belief that despite the public stance of Britain about liberty and equality for all, it is their desire and objective to retain the colonies and to pursue a purely commercial ambition from them without regard for the human rights and political will of the populations in those countries. It is well known that the British territories in the Caribbean have natural beauty and sunshine, excellent tourism opportunities and many prospects in terms of financial services, all of which can be turned to ultimate profit for the British. It is further my belief that as the British economy nose dives in the world recession, Britain is taking an opportunistic position in relation to its colonies and former colonies purely for commercial and financial gain, ignoring the harmful effect of their actions on those countries and their people.
9. The Governor has abused his powers and has had land confiscated from individuals who received land lawfully.
10. Abolishing of our right to trial by jury in order to secure convictions.
11. The Governor has changed a number of laws and procedure and has made it retroactive in order to secure a conviction of the persons accused.That is why he can speak with certainty that we will all be convicted. If a crime was truly committed why could the accused not be tried under the system that has tried thousands of prior cases. Why change a whole legal system to convict persons on charges that are politically motivated?
It is my submission that the whole Commission of Inquiry, the criminal charges, the change in the laws, the abolishing of the jury system, the suspension of elected government in the colony was all because my party and I seek to move our country to independence, which Britain does not want, for the reasons mentioned further above.
The best way for the British Government to stop my party’s movement was to drum up charges of corruption. That would allow the Governor to make the changes that they have made to secure a conviction against me and my colleagues. More disturbingly, charges of corruption are emotive and frightening to the people. These charges allow the British government to pursue almost any device in order to secure a conviction, including the suspension of democracy.
In summary we are being politically persecuted because of our political belief, being that we want to live in an independent Turks and Caicos Islands. Moreover, the political persecution is also set in a context of apparent racial superiority, on the part of the British.
The above are a number of human rights violations that have been inflicted upon the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, a colony of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom as a permanent member of the security council has an added responsibility to uphold international laws and treaties especially those involving human rights. It is a blatant double standard when they talk about human right abuse and violations in other parts of the world and they themselves are chief offenders in their colonies.
I am therefore asking your good office to intervene as a matter of urgency and to ensure that every country complies with their international obligations no matter how powerful they are.
I end by quoting Martin Luther King Jr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Galmo Williams, the last premier to rule the Turks and Caicos Islands before the British takeover, is urging Turks and Caicos Islanders not to lose sight of the visions of the vision that the Progressive National Party has for the country and so, they should stay the course with that party.
Speaking at a PNP rally at the party headquarters on Airport Road in Providenciales on Friday, March 30, the former premier said that it pained him to see how the country was currently being run and the role some locals play in its political and financial capitulation.
“It pains my heart how some of our own are trying to down-press the PNP, but the PNP will never give up. For God’s sake; for the country’s sake; for your children’s sake, never give up. It doesn’t matter where we are now, but it is about where we want to go. I believe with all my heart of hearts that our best days for this country are yet ahead.
“It doesn’t matter where we are now, but let’s look at where we want to be. When we look at our young people, when we look at all the money that we spent on education, and when we look at investment and other opportunities that we have given to our young people; when we look at tourism and the infrastructure that we have put in, we can say that the PNP is the way to the future,” insisted Williams.
He pointed out that the scores of young people that the Turks and Caicos had educated through scholarships at universities overseas, and the strides made in development and tourism, would enable the country to get back on track and power to greater success.
“So, let no one from nowhere, no colour, no creed, to tell you what we, as Turks and Caicos Islanders, cannot be. We can be whatever we want to be. We can go wherever we want to go. So, for God’s sake, for your sake, for your children’s sake never give up,” Williams urged.
The former premier told the gathering that he was happy to have been catapulted to the rank of party leader and premier, having joined the elite class of individuals such as Norman Saunders and Bob Francis, while stressing that his elevation was due to the people love and confidence in him.
“I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to share that office (Premier and PNP Leader) of the highest position of the party and our country of our great leaders like the Honourable Norman Saunders, Bob Francis and all of the leaders of the PNP. At the age of a little bit over half a century, I think it is a great opportunity, and the reason I was given that opportunity was because of the support of the people from Cheshire Hall, Long Bay and of course, all of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
published in SUN,Turks and Caicos Islands on 17th of April 2012
Clergymen Rev. Dr. Conrad Howell said that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have been tricked by the United Kingdom Government, who was now ruling the country in an autocratic fashion.
Speaking at the Progressive National Party (PNP) rally the party headquarters on Airport Road on Friday, March 30, Howell said that Turks and Caicos Islanders had seen critical parts of their lives changed “with the stroke of a pen”.
“We have seemed, since 2009, to be governed by persons, who have no real appreciation for what we have achieved or our way of life. And to borrow from a current phrase in the Bahamas right about now, ‘truly, we have been had, bamboozled, run amok and lied to’. We saw systems, industries, policies and ideals changed by the stroke of a pen. Institutions that we held sacred and thought were blind, now seem to be biased and bent away from justice.”
Everything about our Turks and Caicos, has changed so much that it almost appeared foreign. And what seemed unimaginable and absolutely impossible only a half decade ago has shattered our vision and almost obliterated out dreams. The dismal cloud which contains the removal of our rights to representation, the oppression of our people and the denial of real participation in governance of our country – that is the absence of democracy and imposed autocracy and the determination to rewrite, with limitation, a future for Turks and Caicos, cannot be tolerated any longer,” Howell insisted.
Howell emphatically stated that based on their treatment from Britain, the TCI people should not stop at ensuring a return to elected government but to aim for the self-determination target.
“While we prepare for elections, it cannot be the goal. Elections must only be the method utilized to achieve our goals, being backed by a firm determination, to secure the rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands; the preservation of their freedom, recognizing the supremacy of God, with a national commitment to self-discipline, patriotism, unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the rule of law,” he said.
He also stated that Islanders should pledge a commitment to diversify the country through sustainable social, educational and economic development in the people’s interest, while embracing persons and opportunities that shared the common goal of Turks and Caicos Islands’ people. The clergyman also pointed out that Turks and Caicos Islanders should apply any means necessary to safeguard itself from all forms of the threat to its existence, whether domestic or foreign.
“I am determined to see to the achievement of the desired goal of Turks and Caicos, and to secure the same by any God-given means. We stand at the beginning of what is now a new opportunity to shape our destiny, and we must do so vigorously. The days at hand, our initiative must be urgent because procrastination is exceedingly costly. We have survived in, and enjoyed these Turks and Caicos (islands) for the last 300 years, and know what it takes to make it work,” Howell emphasized.
He continued: “At the UN Conference last year, I put it this way, ‘since we have had to do it for the last 300 years and since that the metropolitan cities, especially that of London think that they know best for us; one size does not fit all’. If we had learned how to survive on these rocks, then we ought to know to move it forward. We know how to make Turks and Caicos move ahead. Further, we found that Turks and Caicos only moves ahead when Turks and Caicos Islanders are making the necessary decisions. We have to do what we must, so that we can achieve what we desire.”
published in SUN,Turks and Caicos Islands on 17th of April 2012
Former Progressive National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament Wayne Garland said that Turks and Caicos Islands people have allowed themselves to be brainwashed by the British into mounting a campaign geared at crushing each other to the detriment of the country.
Garland made the statement at the PNP rally held at the party’s headquarters on March 30, 2012, where he was one of the speakers.
“We, as a people; we, as a country have been oppressed for the last three and a half years. We have been seriously oppressed, but what I want to talk to you about is about us a people coming together, and also, as a people standing up for one another. We are not being what we used to be – having one another’s back. It doesn’t matter whether you are PNP or PDM, the most important thing for us is that, we are Turks and Caicos Islanders.
“Over the last three years, we have backstabbed, we have backbite, and we talked about one another. We only wanted to see who are going to be arrested. We only wanted to see who are going to be put in prison. But let me tell you something, when we start to wish hate on one another, we are wishing hate on ourselves.
Every single one of us, from Salt Cay, way down to West Caicos, interlocked one way or the other. We have ties by family one way or the other. So every time you wish hatred on one, we wish hatred on our own. If we are going to move ahead as a progressive nation, we need to let go of the hate. We need to let go of the hypocrisy. We need to let go of trying to backstabbing one another and this genuine hate for one another,” Garland warned.
Garland told reminded the gathering that Turks and Caicos Islanders once banded together despite political affiliation, but in recent time they have allowed a cutthroat attitude to fester among them, causing the country great pain.
“We are one people. We are our brothers’ keepers. It doesn’t matter whether you are blue, brown, purple or green; we are one people. We used to live well, what happened? We allowed some British oppressors to come in and drive a spear between us and separate us as a people.
“Now look at it, whose living good? Who is living in Grace Bay in high-rises? Who can go to the stores and buy the best quality foods? We used to be like that, we can be like that again, but like I say, we should be willing to make some sacrifices,” he implored.
Injecting a bit of biblical flavor into his presentation, Garland stressed that the torrid period that the TCI was currently going through paralleled to that of the 40 days of testing that Jesus Christ went through during what is now known as the Lenten season.
“We have been tested for the last three and a half years. We have been prosecuted for the last three and a half years. It is now time for us to open our eyes and be resurrected. It is time for us to stand and take our country back. It is time for us as young people not to sit back idle anymore, but should be able to look anybody in the face and say ‘this land is ours, and we are going to take it’. Don’t be afraid, young people,” Garland pleaded.
Garland also blasted the Attorney General Chambers for making attempts to seize and destroy the PNP Headquarters, while emphasizing that any attempts to yank the structure from that party would be fiercely resisted.
“This building behind us is an institution, this is a mark, this is something that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into. This is a symbol for us as a party, and I will be damned if any white man or British oppressor think they can come here and take it from us. It will be a cold day in hell first. Nobody is going to mess with this institution…this belong to us.
“Today, it may be the Progressive National Party Headquarters; tomorrow it could be the PDM Headquarters. Today it could be ‘Ma Jane’s shop down the road’, the next day it is going to be ‘Sister Ashley’s house up the street’. We have to open our eyes and see what they are doing to us. They are pitting us one against other,” Garland told the audience.
published in SUN,Turks and Caicos Islands on 17th of April 2012
The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) kicked off its political campaign Wednesday night, April 11, with a high-energy rally at its headquarters down town Providenciales, to drum up support among its base and the wider public in anticipation for elections this year, also using the event to express its readiness to take the reins of government once again.
Distributing party campaign T-shirts with a call for elections this year emblazoned across the front, many of the speakers, including party leader Derek Taylor, announced that a PDM Government would reverse majority of the laws now being implemented by the Interim Administration, while easing the current economic and social burden now being faced by the populace.
Taylor announced that the 10-year vision that the PDM crafted for the country sometime ago, which would bring prosperity for all the people of the country, was still relevant, and would be used as a vehicle in the party’s pursuit for political office.
He said that the PDM would reopen the civil service for employment, while balancing the budget without putting the people under duress, a feat he said was accomplished in the past by that party. Taylor said also that he would introduce legislation to create a development bank so that local businesses would be able to access loans at cheaper interest rates, while seek to introduce an equal pay law, so as to create income parity in the respective categories within the job market.
Party members said the PDM would also revisit the InterHealth Canada contract, which they said was not serving the best interest of Turks and Caicos Islanders, especially those who had lost their jobs. They said also that the Immigration and Labour laws would also be put under the microscope so as to safeguard the borders, while giving Turks and Caicos Islanders a fair shake in the job market.
“We envision a Turks and Caicos Islands with long term economic stability, and that can only happen under a People’s Democratic Movement government. We are not going to have this nonsense again,” Taylor said, referring to the economic abyss in which the country has found itself. “And we are going to engage each other every step of the way. You are going to have a government that is open, that you can challenge, that you can honestly sit down and talk to.”
“We envision a vibrant economy of Turks and Caicos Islanders that are able to sustain and exceed the growth of the past. And we envision a Turks and Caicos Islands where a strong economy and social empowerment are the order of the day for all Turks and Caicos Islanders.
“We will introduce equal pay legislation, to ensure that all workers are paid based on the work performed rather than on race, colour, gender or national origin. This will give further emphasis to what have already been expressed in the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands,” Taylor said.
Addressing the issue of setting up a financial institution that would provide Turks and Caicos Islanders, especially those who would be able to access loans from commercial banks, with loans at cheap interest rates, Taylor declared: “In 2003, we had already engaged the Caribbean Development Bank; we had already engaged European investment bank, with the intention of making sure that Turks and Caicos Islanders and Turks and Caicos Small businesses are able to access loans at lower interest rate.
“We are going back and we are going to engage those two financial institutions – one in the Caribbean and the other in Europe with the intention of lowering the interest rate, and we are going to again legislation for a development bank.”
In the meantime, the PDM Leader lashed TC Invest for not serving the interest of small businesses, stressing that the interest rate that it was imposing was higher than that of commercial banks.
“TC Invest was not put in place to make a profit at the expense of our people. Yes, we have to take care of administration overheads, but there should be no reason why the interest rate from TC Invest should have been higher than the commercial banks.
Taylor said also that a PDM government would utilize the Small Business Enterprise Development Centre to provide training for small business entrepreneurs and those facing problems in their businesses.
On the matter of education, Taylor pointed out that monies collected from the private sector for scholarships would be placed in a special fund by his administration, that would go solely towards its intended purpose, instead of funneling into the consolidated fund, which he said was the current practice.
“We are going to make sure that the private sector contribution towards scholarships would be placed in a special fund as we had it before, in order that you can know exactly the contribution from the private sector towards scholarships, and we are going to make sure that the private sector businesses benefit from the same also.
“Under a Derek Taylor administration, you can go sleep and wake up in the morning knowing that the public purse is intact, and it would not be attacked. You can rest assured that there will be responsibility and accountability,” he said.
Among the other speakers at the event were National Chairman, Reuben Hall; National Treasurer, Dwayne Taylor; National; Secretary General, Euwonka Selver; her father and former deputy leader of the party Clarence Selver; Cheryl Astwood-Tull; O’Neil Delancy; and Samuel Harvey.
published in SUN,Turks and Caicos Islands 17th of April