Statement by Michael Misick, former Premier of Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos - After losing the leadership contest within my own Progressive National Party (PNP) last year, I had decided to remain quiet and support the new leader Clayton Greene and allow him to tackle the issues at hand.
However, in the face of the complete destruction of my beloved country at the hands of the British government, Dictator Gordon Wetherell and the Turks and Caicos Islanders who sit on the two puppet bodies, the so-called Consultative Forum and the Advisory Council, I can no longer remain quiet.
First, let me put things in perspective for those who would blame me and my administration for the mess that the country is now in.
When the PNP took over the reins of government, the national budget was $90Million and the GDP was about $200 million. When we left office some six years later, the national budget was in excess of $250 million and GDP was over $700 million. It is an undeniable fact that we attracted and presided over unprecedented growth economically, politically and socially.
Using the income from the growth, we invested heavily in infrastructure like the causeway and road works in North, Middle and South Caicos. We invested in building a port in North Caicos, the National Stadium, the Downtown ball park in Providenciales. We also invested in road works and other public infrastructure in Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
We invested tens of millions of dollars modernizing our education system, extending and upgrading schools and providing scholarships and opportunities for higher learning for an unprecedented number of young people all throughout the Turks and Caicos Islands.
We invested in the health of the nation by making sure anyone that needed medical attention, received it, whether abroad or at home. We built two state-of-the-art hospitals.
We built institutions like TCI New Media, the Airports and Civil Aviation Authority and the National Health Insurance Board.
Not only did we balance our budget six years in a row, we had a surplus budget six years in a row.
We increased the pay for civil servants and the police by nearly 50 percent.
We hired additional civil servants and government workers in all of the Islands to ensure delivery of government services to all.
We were never late with, or missed, payments to government workers.
People who had done business with the government were paid, and paid on time.
We attracted billions of dollars in foreign investments. Construction was booming and everyone was working.
Belongers were being empowered through land grants and other business opportunities.
These are only but a few reminders of where we came from before the UK’s unnecessary invasion of our country.
Now, almost three years later, unemployment is almost at 30 percent, there is no investment taking place, crime is at a all-time high, Civil Servants are being laid off left, right and centre, there is a climate of fear, freedom of speech is being suppressed and journalists are being intimidated for speaking out.
In all of this, the British and its Dictatorship government still will not take responsibility for their actions that have killed the buzz that the PNP created and killed our economy. They are still blaming past governments, when the truth is that they have being in power for three unsuccessful, destructive and chaotic years.
Just like US P resident Barack Obama has to now take responsibility for the wars in Afghanistan, and Iraq and the failing US economy, the British has to take responsibility for the depression that they have caused in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This Interim Administration that is being led by Gordon Wetherell and includes the Advisory Council and the Consultative Forum, is the worst government that the Turks and Caicos Islands has ever seen. This Interim Government has been such a spectacular failure, that even those who called for them to come to the Turks and Caicos Islands, are now angry and disappointed with them, crying out for them to leave and are prepared to expel them from this beautiful by nature country.
It was never this bad; not even under the PDM. Even the PDM was a better government than this interim administration.
To add insult to injury, after borrowing $260 million that our children will have to pay back, they have mismanaged that money so much that the first time in the history of our islands, Provo Power Company (PPC) was forced to turn off almost all of government offices electricity because of lack of payment.
It’s a crying shame!! That would have never happened under my watch as leader of the PNP, neither would it have happened under the PDM.
Ultimately this is our country. No English man can run our country better than us. No English can care for our people the young and the old like we do. Their interest is in getting a career promotion at our expense.
This brings me to the finally matter that I would like to address that is constitutional changes.
My people of the Turks and Caicos Islands, let’s stop pussy-footing around while the rest of the world is passing us by. Our future does not lie with Britain. Let us stop wasting time and warming up harmony.
Let's seek our independence NOW!!
For those who long to go back to the 2006 Constitution, I say to you as the person who led the team that negotiated it, that the 2006 constitution was good for that time. It’s almost six years later, and so we need a more advance constitution than that.
The British has made a mockery of this process. First by suspending the Constitution, secondly by appointing an incompetent person to carry out an exercise that should have been done by a panel of distinguished persons from within our country; and now lastly by inviting people other than those parties that truly represent the population to a fruitless talk in London.
We should demand the same respect as the British people. Just like the British people, only a few short months ago, had a referendum on whether to change their voting system, we the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands should have a referendum first on whether we want to remain a British colony, and secondly, on any proposed Constitution.
Only through a referendum can the true will of the people be established.
Finally, I say to my countrymen, there has been too much in-fighting. While we fight among ourselves the gains that were made by both political parties are being lost.
The British administration is systematically transferring the wealth of our country into the hands of a few British elite.
It’s time for us to stand up and fight back because we have everything to lose.
Let's conquer our fears. Let's us embrace the democratic winds that are blowing around the world. Let's say and show to the world that the British are hypocrites. They cannot speak with a moral voice on democracy in Libya or Syria when they have taken away our right to choose a government with no date or deadline for elections.
When here in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the very thing America when to war for their independence over, Taxation Without Representation, is happening 300 years later again, but now to us.
We must call on president Obama the leader of the free world to use his influence with the British to intervene on our behalf.
President Obama made a great speech at the British parliament about freedom and democracy for Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Libya but what about us in the Turks and Caicos Islands which is only 500 miles off America’s door step. What about us?
May God bless us and may He bless our beloved home land!