On behalf of the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I would like to thank the Almighty God for a peaceful day of proceedings on March 22nd. I would also like to extend to the voters of the Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill Constituency, our gratitude for their continuing support and their vote for Ms. Amanda Missick. Her resounding victory at the polls this past Friday is seen as a clear mandate by the people of the Turks and Caicos for the Progressive National Party Government to continue its work in the best interest of our country.
We the Government would like to reassure the Turks and Caicos Islands, that we will continue to uphold the honour and dignity of the office to which we have been elected and will continue to strive towards a brighter future for our nation, in accordance with our manifesto and in consultation with the people of these islands Indeed many more challenges lie ahead but with the help of the Almighty God none are insurmountable.
During the By-election season, strong sentiments and opinions by supporters of both of our political parties have unfortunately resulted in defamatory remarks being made against the character of those holding political office. I condem this behaviour as these practices damage the image of all Turks and Caicos Islanders. I am making a request to all persons, to desist from engaging in such behavior on the social or other media and to give all whom we have elected to lead us, the respect that they deserve as they represent the best interest of the people of the Turks and Caicos. I call on supporters on both sides of the aisle to rest partisan politics aside and to rally together to provide support to the Government and to continue to forge stronger links that will make us a force against which no enemies can move.
Now is the time for us to work together in unity, as we stay the course and move full speed ahead in the right direction to fulfill our destiny which awaits us on the new horizon. May God continue to bless our Turks and Caicos Islands.
PNP united on former premier’s talking points
Published on March 28, 2013 ,TCI News Now.
The Progressive National Party (PNP) is apparently now unified behind specific “talking points” that are being spoken to by the party and its supporters and are seemingly being orchestrated by its former leader Michael Misick.
The principal point being made was the primary platform of the PNP during their 2012 general election campaign and that is the issue of independence and preparing the TCI to separate itself from Britain.
This was addressed in each and every letter received from Misick and was spoken to by Premier Rufus Ewing on his return from last month’s Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meeting in Haiti. In Ewing’s view, all the Caribbean nations, including those who are currently one of the 14 British overseas territories, must not only achieve independence but must also form republics and not be associated with the Commonwealth of Nations.
The second talking point spoken to by Misick and Ewing is the forthcoming prosecutions of former PNP cabinet ministers and others. Both Misick and Ewing have said that the prosecutions are a farce. Misick said this is because he claims that laws were changed and he personally cannot receive a fair trial and will fight returning home until that is resolved, while at the same time proclaiming his willingness to return to the TCI by private plane instead of waiting for his extradition from Brazil to be completed.
Ewing has not explained why he feels the imminent trials are a “farce”, as he called them in a recent letter to Britain’s Overseas Territories Minister Mark Simmonds.
The third talking point that is being spoken to widely by PNP members and supporters is their view of the overstepping of authority by Britain. This is being described by Ewing as an abuse of power and corruption on the part of William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary. The tone of this talking point echoes similar comments made by Misick in each and every letter he has written.
One of the principal points aired by Ewing was the looming imposition of value added tax (VAT). On this issue, both political parties and the business community were united in asking for VAT to be abandoned.
Both Hague and Simmonds responded to Ewing’s speech to CARICOM heads by accusing him of failing to address the reasons why VAT and other measures were necessary.
In particular, Ewing failed to explain that the TCI is bankrupt and became bankrupt due to the actions of the PNP administration from late 2003 through August 2009, when Britain imposed direct rule.
Further, Hague said that Ewing not only failed to speak to this problem that brought British direct rule but also ignored the consolidated loan of $260 million guaranteed by Britain and the support of numerous British advisers who, in three years of direct rule, have been able to raise government revenue and cut expenses to a break-even position.
Britain imposed certain milestones that had to be achieved before direct rule could be withdrawn and an elected government returned. However, the final milestone yet to be reached was the pay down of the loan, which must be refinanced by 2016 when the British guarantee is lifted. Britain requires the TCI government to submit an acceptable financial plan, which has not yet been achieved by the PNP government in its almost five months in power.
Hague pointed out in a letter to Ewing that there needs to be not only additional taxes but further cuts in spending. Ewing and finance minister Washington Misick and several other PNP ministers have seemingly turned their backs on this requirement and are promising the territory new infrastructure, more government jobs and a growing public sector.
Mike Misick Calls For Independence Referendum – Hits Out At Hague’s ‘Contemptuous’ Response
Published in TCI Weekly News,by VANESSA NARINE,on 25th March 2013
FORMER Premier, Michael Misick, on Wednesday, called for an independence referendum in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
He said: “If you [William Hague] are so confident that the Turks and Caicos people want to remain British, why don’t you carry out a referendum on the question as you just did for show in the Falklands or as Scotland is doing in 2014?
“That referendum and only that referendum will determine the true desire of the Turks and Caicos people.”
The embattled former Premier, still in Brazil, responded in a letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Secretary of State, William Hague, who, in a March 12 letter, replied to concerns raised by current Premier, Dr. Rufus Ewing.
He said: “I also think that because of Dr. Ewing’s stance, and indeed the PNP party’s stance, our country should be moving towards independence….no matter how much you [Hague] and the British government put misinformation out there to hide your true agenda and to cover up for your incompetent officials, it will not change the facts nor the hearts of Turks and Caicos people that the British has worn out their welcome in the Turks and Caicos Islands and their days are numbered.
“The clock is ticking and political independence and freedom for our people cannot be stopped.”
Misick also charged that the contempt that British officials at the highest level have for the Turks and Caicos Islands and its people is astonishing.
He said: “I read with amazement your letter of arrogance that is in the public media to our Premier Hon Dr Rufus Ewing.
“The contempt that British officials at the highest level have for Turks and Caicos Islands and its people is astonishing, and the second such letter where a public dressing is handed down to the leader of our country because of his public stand that the local elected Government should be able to govern including allowing the elected Parliament to enact legislation for the benefit of our people and our country.”
According to Misick, British officials are doing everything in their power to undermine Dr. Ewing’s Government.
He said: “The evidence is in all of the confusion about the elections and misrepresenting the true facts that transpire with my tenure as Premier of our country.”
According to him, British officials are hiding facts they do not want the people of the Turks and Caicos or the world to know.
Misick said: “The fact is that the British government has destroyed the Turks and Caicos economy, its judicial system and eroded the rule of law over the past four years.
“The borrowings that you refer to in your letter were borrowings that your British occupation government did to prop up an illegitimate interim regime and to spend tens of millions of dollars in a political motivated investigation to politically persecute me and my colleagues because of our views.
“No elected Turks and Caicos Government should have to pay back money that you borrowed.
“You talk about Robin Auld, a sole handpicked commissioner by the British government to carry out their instructions in a Commission of Inquiry whether outcome was predetermined.
“If there was nothing to hide than there should have been a transparent Commission of Inquiry with at least a commissioner with eminent judges from the Caribbean included on the panel.”
Misick stressed that what is clear is that the relationship between the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British government is over.
He said: “It is now not based on mutual respect but based on a bullying and arrogant superiority complex that should be relegated to the dust bin of history….you should manifest your claim of belief in democracy and act honest, transparent and behave responsibly.” (VANESSA NARINE)
Since the closure of the Carnival Cruise Port in Grand Turk, many persons far and near have asked me if I have any idea when the Cruise Port is likely to reopen.
Well folks, I have made inquires into the matter and I have been reliably informed that the Cruise Port will reopen on or about the 1st of April 2013.
I hope this information is able to take care of the concerns of those who inquired.
By way of background, the Cruise port was close after it was revealed that symptoms of a virus suffered Grand Turk residents was linked to the Cruise Port. There were various speculations as to the cause of the virus but in the absence of credible information , we are not going to speculate.
However the Ministry of Health, along with the Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing and officials of Carnival apparently worked together to deal with the situation. Carnival apparently made the decision to close the port pending investigations into the matter by Health Officials.
The Ministry of Health recently put out a press release stating that reports of the virus are on the decrease.
It appears that the situation has improved rapidly and Carnival is now confident that the Cruise Port will reopen by April 1 2013. JG
Tonight I called the Hon Dr Rufus Ewing and congratulated him. This is democracy and the people have spoken and we will respect the voice of the people.
I wish to publicly thank Hon Oral Selver and the hard working Team. I also wish to thank the many voters who supported us by casting their vote for Hon Selver and those who called to offer words of inspiration and encouragement. We are not distracted from our vision to set this country in the right direction neither is our spirits dampened. We understand that even disappointments have its reasons and purpose and we trust the all – seeing God who knows all things.
I am personally stronger by this test and I am proud of today’s PDM. We will remain a viable alternative and we will continue to represent our people. We are stronger, energized and united. We fought a hard fight and we are more than satisfied that we have done our very best.
Now that the Elections of November 2012 is settled, I ask all of our supporters and the people of these Islands to let’s accept the results with dignity so that this country can move on.
I continue to ask God’s blessings on these our Beautiful By Nature Turks and Caicos
As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands I, on February 10, 2012, wrote to the Rt. Hon. William Hague, First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, requesting without prejudice, the recall of the Chief Financial Officer, His Excellency the Governor and the Attorney General. In my letter to Rt. Hon. Hague I outlined the concerns of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and cited reasons why those persons named should be recalled. My dissertation on the past and current state of the affairs of the Turks and Caicos Islands that was presented to CARICOM, also articulated my concerns and those of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands indicating the need for intervention and assistance from our regional neighbours.
As Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands and as someone who was elected to represent the people of these islands, I am disappointed but not surprised, that I am being chastised by the Foreign Minister for exposing the facts and representing my people. I take exception to this and at the same time, stand by my position on both of the matters in question.
In my address to CARICOM I stated that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands acknowledged that the allegations of corruption and maladministration of the previous administration necessitated investigation. The Commission of Inquiry was presided over by a single Judge, Sir Robin Auld. After hearing evidence in those proceedings, Sir Auld concluded that there was a “High probability of systemic corruption amongst the Ministers, members if the legislature and public officials in the TCI” as a result of these conclusions our constitution was suspended. What was indeed unfortunate, but an indisputable fact, was that this conclusion was drawn without including the then Governor Richard Tauwhare, the TCI Head of State who was at the time entrusted with the responsibility for good governance and who was responsible for presiding over and signing most, if not all of the transactions that were cited in the commission of inquiry report as being corrupt.
The professional integrity and dignity of many hard working and dedicated Turks and Caicos Islanders, including our first Premier and Ministers, are now under question, because of the conclusions of Sir Auld. Furthermore, the fate of all accused persons now rest in the custody of a system designed to entrap and secure conviction of some whilst, at the same time, others walk free in exchange for money and information. It is also obvious that the accusations made against former members of government have moved from an alleged “high probability of corruption” by Sir Auld to what amounts to a verdict of “corruption” by the Secretary of State and the Governor. In these circumstances, I cannot state with any degree of confidence that the system of justice as it relates to the accusations of malfeasance is fair, as all of the actions thus far by those entrusted with investigations and administration of those accused, seem to be directed more at securing convictions at all cost and by all means, especially of persons of a particular political affiliation, rather than the pure pursuit of justice. I support the laws of this land being upheld, and the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” must be adhered to and the system of justice must be fair and balanced irrespective of who the accused is, from where he hails and what political party he or she is associated with.
I have no need to misrepresent the facts about the past or present as the facts are there for all to see.
I speak directly to my people of the Turks and Caicos Islands to say that The Progressive National Party (PNP), of which I am Leader is an institution of the people, by the people and for the people. The label of corruption may justly or unjustly be placed upon individuals within any institution or organization, the clear distinction needs to be however made that the institutions or organizations themselves should not bear this label. I therefore resent the attempts by the Governor’s Office and the Foreign Office to repeatedly tarnish the name of any political party or group, by labeling it as being corrupt as it influences the minds of voters and prejudices the image of new officers of such parties.
It is my belief that the constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands was partially suspended, to exclude representative democracy in the legislative and executive arms of government so as to avoid interference by the local populous whilst the Interim Administration went about the many reforms that they desired to have implemented. It is well known that the Turks and Caicos Islands has been responsible for its own financial upkeep for decades without assistance from the United Kingdom, save for DFID grants in the past and EU grants as of recent. I cannot say that our lives have been made easier with the UK guarantee of a 260 million dollar loan that Turks and Caicos Islanders are now required to repay in a very short period or that we necessarily agree with the decisions made as to how that money is being spent. If the Interim regime had focused on expanding our economy in addition to employing less drastic cost cutting measures, then we would be in a much better financial position than we are now. The fact that our national debt is more than 3 times what it was in 2009 highlights this situation! In a nutshell, had better financial strategies been implemented there would have been no need for a loan guarantee nor would there have been a need for the yet to be repealed VAT initiative. Though we are grateful for the Secretary of State’s decision not to enact the VAT bill on April 1, 2013, the cries of our people through a resounding vote for repeal by a democratically elected House of Assembly are still being denied and democracy is still yet to be served.
During the reign of the Interim Administration a slew of legislations were drafted and enacted, including the 2011 Constitution. These pieces of legislation sought to achieve, among others, the following objectives:
1. Empowering the Governor with greater power and influence over the executive and legislative arms of government.
2. Total control and influence over financial matters
3. Enhancing good governance and greater accountability for persons in public life
4. Improving the chances of conviction of those accused of malfeasance by enactment of Trial without Jury and Hearsay laws to be used retroactively
5. Dismantling of the system of political patronage
It was stated clearly by the Secretary of State that he has full confidence in the Governor despite our overwhelming lack of confidence in the leadership of the present Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is also widely known that the Attorney General has been absent from duty for several months now and the many public failures of his office in the past several weeks have brought question to his level of competence and leadership. I therefore stand by my request for the recall of the Governor and the Attorney General and also the summonsing of Governor Tauwhare to the Turks and Caicos Islands to speak to the allegations against ministers for which he was a possible co-conspirator.
As Premier of this country, my responsibility is to ensure good governance whilst creating a higher quality of life for my people, and to make representation in their best interest. Given the many governance challenges being experienced by the UK and the lack of transparency and accountability on the part of UK appointed officials to the TCI, I will also not hasten to use the UK Government as a yard stick upon which to measure good governance. I proudly say that I was born and raised here in the Turks and Caicos Islands and that I share the dreams and aspirations of my people.
The future of the Turks and Caicos Islands is bright, but there are many challenges that we have to overcome as we govern in the best interest of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. My responsibility as Premier of this country is to represent the interest of the electorate, like the Secretary of State does for his electorate which I am sure takes precedence over ours. I will continue to respect his office but will also continue to represent, to speak, to act without fear or favour, in the interest of my people.
In regards to our position of independence, it is without a doubt independence is indeed our destiny. It may or may not come under my leadership, but whenever it comes, it will be by an act of the determined will of Turks and Caicos Islanders. When the timing is appropriate the question on independence will be asked through a referendum and I am confident that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands will be given the same opportunity as those in the Falkland Islands to answer the question as to whether it is their wish remain a UK Dependent territory.
I call on all Turks and Caicos Islanders to stand for what is right and what is just for all Turks and Caicos Islanders. I call on all Turks and Caicos Islanders to be vigilant, be honest and dedicated to the future of a brighter, prosperous nation that we can continue to proudly call our own.
Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands
N.J.S. Francis Building, Pond St, Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos Islands