Published on July 30, 201 in TCI WEEKLY NEWS  


Progressive National Party (PNP) leader Dr Rufus Ewing (L) and Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) leader Oswald Skippings

A change in the positions of the two TCI political parties vis a vis Britain is being seen as the fallout from an invitation issued to the two party leaders to attend the summer Olympics in London. The invitation was also scheduled to include meetings with British Department of State and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials.

The leaders of the Progressive National Party (PNP), who have been advocating their position of taking the TCI independent of Britain, have now welcomed the offer of an all expenses paid trip to attend the world event. 

However, PNP leader Dr Rufus Ewing is not taking his deputy leader, attorney Carlos Simons QC, with him, deciding instead to be accompanied by Royal Robinson, a former member of the Misick-led PNP government.

The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), led by Oswald Skippings, decided to decline the invitation to attend the Olympics.

In a television interview, Skippings said that he did not receive the itinerary on time to make the decision to attend. He was scheduled to be accompanied by his deputy and former member of the Consultative Forum, Sharlene Cartwright Robinson. 

However, Governor Ric Todd has denied that the PDM was issued the travel itinerary late and released a summary of the correspondence between the Governor’s Office and the PDM officials. Nevertheless, the PDM maintains this is not true. During the Skippings interview, the party leader said that he did not feel the meetings with British officials would be productive because they would be distracted by the Olympic events.

After taking over as PDM leader recently, Skippings was asked if he agreed with Britain’s suspension of the constitution and of the elected government. Skippings responded, “We had no choice and if we had to make that decision again, we would do the same thing.” 

It was former leader of the PDM, Floyd Seymour, who sent evidence of widespread corruption to Britain’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) in late 2007. This evidence, used by the FAC, forced the FCO to call a Commission of Inquiry, which resulted in the imposition of direct rule by Britain in August 2009. 

After Seymour stepped aside and returned to private life, new PDM leader Douglas Parnell led several missions to London, where they met with FCO officials, members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, officials of the Westminster Foundation, as well as other persons and entities interested in the TCI and regional issues. Parnell has now followed Seymour into private life, not contending for any party position at the June convention in Grand Turk. 

Former PDM leader and former Chief Minister Derek Taylor, who lost to Skippings at last month’s convention, reported he was working with members of the interim government.

Two days before leaving for London, PNP leader Ewing said he was looking forward to meeting with the British officials. “Even if we agree to disagree this will be productive,” he said.

The PDM, under none of their leaders, has ever favoured independence and has expressed disappointment that the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) has not moved swiftly enough. The party has, however, favoured earlier elections and a return to democratic rather than direct rule.

Supporters of both parties now report disagreements with their respective leader’s positions on the London trip.




Governor Must Confirm Election Date.By Carlos Simons

On Monday,07th of May the Governor published Quarterly Milestones Update. The Governor is aware that these Updates are highly anticipated for one principal reason: any indication they might give as to a date for elections. Like people anywhere who have been disenfranchised, the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands yearn for the return of their universally recognized right to elect and be governed by their own representatives. The British Government knows this as well: it is the same principle that they went to war for in Iraq, and continue to fight for and promote around the globe. Yet it is one they continue to deny in the TCI.

As for the 7 May Update, the words that caught most people’s attention were these:
“It is clear that while significant progress has been made in many areas, further work remains to be done before UK Ministers can judge significant enough progress to allow them to reinstate the Constitution, thus triggering fresh elections.”
Most people see this as a walk-back from the previously clear indication that elections will be held before the end of 2012. It appears to be part of a continuing pattern of borderline deceptions that include leading us to believe that HMG would bear the cost of SIPT!
It is a reckless and dangerous way to conduct the serious business of governance. As I travel around the Islands in my campaign for the leadership of the PNP, I sense a rising tide of frustration with the Interim Administration’s fixation on Milestones progress as opposed to the welfare and well-being of real people. The growing attraction of full independence is fed by this frustration as much as it is by the arrogance, insensitivity and double standards that have come to characterize the British mission here.
In my first address as Chairman of the Consultative Forum, I said that the best job the Forum could do for the people of the TCI is to work itself out of a job as quickly as possible. I resigned more than two years ago to undertake the far more important work that I am currently doing, and almost three years on the Forum is still firmly in place with no apparent end in sight.
So we are halfway through the year and suddenly doubt has been cast on the widely accepted belief, created and encouraged by the Governor and his bosses that elections will be held before the end of the year.
Many people will find that disappointing and discouraging and the only way to repair the damage now is for the Governor to expressly confirm that elections will be held before the end of the year, to name the date and to make the Milestones fit that date. They are after all his milestones, not ours!
Having had the opportunity to gauge the mood of the people, I have come to the view that an early date for elections is the single most important item on our agenda of things to be settled with the British. If that continues to be denied I will, as Leader of the PNP, and after close consultation with my Party’s Executive and with their support, devise and pursue such strategies as may be necessary to restore this most basic of human rights to the people of the TCI.

posted in SUN TCI,on 11th May 2012