October 19, 2021

Defeated Dr. Rufus Ewing resigns as PNP leader; quits politics

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By Todeline Defralien From The Sun Turks & Caicos

Former Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing has resigned as leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP) after losing his At-Large seat and leading the party to a crushing defeat in the December 15th general elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Ewing made the announcement during a press conference at the PNP’s headquarters on Airport Road, Providenciales, on Friday December 16th. He also revealed he will be quitting politics.

Ewing told the media that on Friday December 16th he called Premier-elect, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, leader of the victorious People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and congratulated her after conceding.

“The people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have spoken and have indicated their wish for a change in governance,” said a sombre-looking Dr. Ewing. “The outcome of this election is a clear indication that democracy is alive in our islands. I wish to express my gratitude to all of the candidates from all parties who nobly put themselves forward for service to this country.”

Ewing, who ran on a campaign of taking the Turks and Caicos Islands “to the next level”, said he accepts full responsibility for the party’s election loss.

“I wish to now state that as the leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP) I take full responsibility for the party’s loss, and as such, I have made the decision to honorably tender my resignation as party leader with immediate effect,” he added.

Analysts have regarded Ewing’s loss as a rejection of his soft leadership style and the PNP’s off-target campaign, which, among other things, relied heavily on a social media blitz instead of interacting with the party’s base and promoting a message that resonated with voters.

Over the past few weeks, PNP rallies, including the last before the election (Wednesday, December 14th) were poorly attended and several of its events, namely youth rallies in Grand Turk and Providenciales, flopped.

The former Premier got 2,234 votes, placing seventh in the field of 21 At-Large candidates. Among those who received more votes than Ewing were PDM first-timers Karen Malcolm (2,725) and Robert Been jnr. (2,314).

Attorney-at-law Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, who led the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) to its first election victory in 13 years, and who created history by being this country’s first female premier, received the most votes in the At-Large category (3,024), followed by the PDM’s Josephine Connolly with 3,019, then her party colleague Derek Taylor who got 2, 740 and Karen Malcom.

Former PNP Finance Minister Washington Misick was the only successful PNP At-Large candidate, coming fifth with 2,234 votes.

The former premier added: “I can say with all confidence that my administration can indeed be proud of its achievements and its record. History will credit us with the full economic recovery of our country. History will also show that the Progressive National Party conducted the affairs of the people of this country with the highest standard of integrity.” The party will have the opportunity to rebuild in readiness to govern in 2020.”

When asked why he resigned, Ewing said, “There are several reasons. One, the failure of the general elections with me not being elected, is an indication of my failure to deliver the party and myself to be elected into office, so I take responsibility for that. Secondly, to be the leader of a party, obviously I would not be able to stand in the House of Assembly as leader of the party because the leader of the party ought to be the person who is an elected member of the House of Assembly so they can stand as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Assembly. It doesn’t make sense to have me as leader of the party and then the leader of the Opposition in waiting yourself in the general election. We need to rebuild. We need to regroup and to look forward to the future.”

Ewing said he will leave it to the PNP’s constitution and the county’s constitution as to who will be the next Leader of the Opposition in Turks and Caicos Islands.

Ewing said he did not expect the PDM to win by such a large margin.

“I knew it was a tight race and I thought that we had a good chance of winning, but I always knew that our chance of losing was dependent upon two things; one, voter turnout among PNPs, and two, PNPs sharing their votes would have determined whether or not we would have won or lost.”

Ewing also admitted that over the past four years the PNP’s accomplishments were not communicated as effectively as they should have been.

The PDM, which went into the elections with seven seats to the PNP’s eight, picked up two local seats that were held by the PNP (Ralph Higgs in North and Middle Caicos and Doug Parnell in Cheshire Hall) and they gained one more At-Large seat, giving them four of the five country-wide constituencies.

The PDM winning candidates are: Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Derek Taylor, Josephine Connolly and Karen Malcolm (At-Large) and Sean Astwood in Five Cays, Delroy Williams in Wheeland, Goldray Ewing in Blue Hills, Doug Parnell in Cheshire Hall, Ralph Higgs in North and Middle Caicos, and Eddie Astwood in Grand Turk South.

The PNP winning candidates are: Washington Misick (At-Large), Akierra Missick, Leeward and Long Bay, Ruth Blackman in South Caicos and George Lightbourne in Grand Turk North.

For more on this story go tot: http://suntci.com/defeated-dr-rufus-ewing-resigns-as-pnp-leader-quits-politics-p2552-108.htm#sthash.KrC34hGX.dpuf

IMAGE: Miami Herald Sharlene Cartwright Robinson

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