October 23, 2020

Unprecedented postponement of Turks and Caicos general elections

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john_skippings2By John Skippings From Caribbean News Now

April Fool! Well, not exactly April to be sure; October 27 in the Turks and Caicos Islands was October Fool’s day. And while the prank was on the Turks and Caicos voters, the shame is on and his Progressive National Party (PNP) government.

In what is more like a gang that couldn’t shoot straight caper, ’s party – some would say rather typical of his previous four years of governing – on October 27 announced general elections for December 5. Then they were hastily cancelled just two days later, on October 29. Only in Haiti, in our region at least, have I heard at least recently, of a general elections postponement.

And no, it was not because the Survey Monkey poll was at the time showing the opposition People’s with a very healthy 40-point lead over his Progressive National Party. At least I do not think so.
Per the government’s release, the new date is “to be discussed”:

Turks & Caicos Islands Government Press Office

NOTICE

STATEMENT BY HE THE GOVERNOR CONCERNING THE ELECTION DATE

It has been brought to my attention that the Proclamation, fixing the election date for 5 December 2016, will not give officials sufficient time to prepare for the election, as envisaged by section 26 of the .

Whilst the date of 5 December would be compliant with the constitution, in consultation with the Premier, it has been decided that it would be most expedient to postpone the date for the election. I am in discussion with the Premier as regards the new date. I will shortly sign an amended Proclamation giving effect to this decision.

I would propose that consideration of whether or not to amend the Elections Ordinance should be on the agenda for Cabinet once the House has been recalled following the election.

Issued in the name of the Governor, HE Dr John Freeman.

Per the release, the December 5 date “will not give officials sufficient time to prepare for the election”. Especially considering the unusually large number of Independent candidates to fit on the ballet paper, and the calling for elections ahead of the constitutionally mandated period – which is legal –determining if everything would be in place prior to announcing a date for elections, should have been the obvious thing to do.

The Turks & Caicos Sun newspaper “understands that the postponement stemmed from confusion and uncertainty over the calculation of the number of working days after the dissolution of the House of Assembly that an election can be called.”

Whether the cause for the postponement is one, or both the above, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, leader of the opposition and of the People’s Democratic Movement, quite understandably referred to the postponement as “gross incompetence” on the part of Premier Ewing.

IMAGE: John Skippings is a former Director of Tourism and Chief Marketing Officer for the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board 1999-2003; and Tourism Marketing Consultant with the Montserrat Tourist Board 2004 – 2006. And has had a career in banking in The Bahamas and the US; he holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from Southeastern University in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]

For more on this story go to: http://www.caribbeannewsnow.com/topstory-Commentary%3A-Unprecedented-postponement-of-Turks-and-Caicos-general-elections-32365.html

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