16 April 2012

'Depentocracy' in the Turks and Caicos Islands is Under Siege

Turks & Caicos Weekly News
Vanessa Narine

Leader of the PNP Clayton Greene told the Weekly News that democracy in the TCI is under siege.

He said: “This latest attempt by the Governor to rid the PNP of its party headquarters is yet another blow to democracy. 

“If parliament is to work, then political parties must send people there. If we do not have at least two political parties, we can have no opposition. 

“The implications of this latest act and the negative effect it will have on our country demands that we all, including the leadership and supporters of both political parties, rise in unison and send a clear and united message to Waterloo that we will no longer sit back and allow our institutions of democracy to be dismantled, not least by the very people who claim that further institutional building is necessary.”

According to him, the recent issue of the proceedings by the Attorney General against the PNP is unnecessary and ill conceived. 

“The reality is that the bringing of this claim is another attempt by the Governor to break the will of the Progressive National Party.

“The Governor is hell bent on silencing to voice of the Progressive National Party and by extension the voice of a significant number of people in this country,” he said. 

Greene contends that the Governor is determined to destroy the PNP that he will see the party’s headquarters, which stands as one of the symbols of our democracy as much as parliament does, bulldozed before he allows the people of this country to express a real choice at the next elections.

“I say that with particular regret,” he said.

Greene pointed out that the TCI has been without representative government for almost three years and there have been no date set for elections.

He added that in the absence of any form of representation the people are being saddled with unbearable taxes; while the administration is at the same time legislating for the removal of large sums of money from the peoples pension fund. 

“The pseudo representative bodies namely the Advisory Council and the Consultative Forum are appointed by an unelected Governor,” Greene posited.

He stated that in carrying out his functions the Governor is not required, as a matter of law, to accept the advice of either body. 

“In the past the Governor, by way of example only, has acted so as to deny the Consultative Forum the opportunity to debate the Budget,” Greene said.

He pointed out too that what was, before the suspension of representative government, a constitutional right to a jury trial has been removed from the constitution with the result that citizens and residents are no longer guaranteed the protection from the might of the state that jury trials provided.

The PNP leader said: “History requires us now to come together as leaders and officers of political parties and as Turks and Caicos Islanders to fight for the common good of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Our forefathers did not make the sacrifices that they did only to have us, who are by and large better educated and better resourced, allow the promise and potential of the Turks and Caicos Islands to be ripped from us because we are too politically entrenched to come together for the common good.”

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