Ewing says TCI ready for independence
NEWLY elected leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP), Dr. Rufus Ewing, contends that the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is ready for independence.
Ewing, speaking at a press briefing at the PNP Headquarters..., noted that the party has taken a resolution to support the move towards independence.
He made it clear that the PNP is pro-independence and going forward any moves the party makes will take into consideration an independent TCI.
The PNP Leader acknowledged that there are a few things that can be improved on before the step towards independence is taken.
According to him, the people need to be educated on the pros and cons of independence.
However, he reiterated that the TCI has long been ready to assert itself independent of the United Kingdom.
Ewing stated that before any decision is taken the views of the people have be taken into consideration, adding that the new PNP will move towards an approach that seeks to increasingly involve the people of the TCI in decision-making.
When asked about a possible timeframe for the attainment of independence, the PNP Leader noted that because this is something that needs to be approached strategically, setting a timeframe would be premature, particularly considering that the return to democratic rule has not been confirmed to happen this year.
Ewing said in going forward, independence has to be planned and strategically implemented in stages to achieve the vision leaders have for the TCI.
He maintains that independence is not to be rushed.
In a prior interview in April, Ewing made it clear that independence is ultimately up to the people, adding that developmental milestones that are advanced by an elected government will indicate the country’s readiness for independence.
“My duty is to prepare the people for that day,” he said then.
10 YEARS AWAY
Former PNP Leader and retired politician Daniel Malcolm addressed the issue of independence in an interview with the Weekly News in the latter part of March.
He contends that the TCI is too young for independence, but noted that achieving a measure of self-determination is a move in the right direction.
“We are at least 10 years away from being ready for Independence…we must develop our country and our people so that when we move to Independence we will do so from a position of strength,” he said.
However, Malcolm, like Ewing, stressed that TCI must prepare for that eventuality down the road.
“Self-determination is where the government and the people of TCI, and other territories like us, make advances toward greater political, social and cultural determination or say within the framework of their own situation,” he posited.
The former PNP Leader was recently been invited to join the Special Committee of experts with regard to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples.
This endeavour is supported by the Decolonization Unit of the Department of Political Affairs, which is part of the United Nations (UN) Secretariat, via monitoring the implementation of the Declaration, hearing statements from the non-self governing territories, organizing an annual regional seminar and making recommendations regarding the dissemination of information on the decolonization process.
Governor Ric Todd in addressing the issue of independence in the past has said unequivocally that the United Kingdom would grant independence to the TCI, if that were the choice made by the TC people.
Permit me some space on your website to enlighten the people of the TCI to what is taking place under the interim administration. I also want to sensitize members of the Advisory Council and the Consultative Forum.
When the PDM administration left office in 2003, all key positions in the government were localized, this continued under the PNP. Concerted efforts were made to train local people and build capacity among our people to ensure they are capable of doing their jobs.
This development has been drastically reversed by the British over the past three years. Frankly speaking the actions of the British Government is tantamount to naked modern day racism.
The above strong statement is supported by the following analysis from TCIG press releases and other well-placed sources.
The results of these decisions are far reaching for any elected government and for the long term sustainable development of the TCI. This trend will also undermine any efforts towards independence. Both PNP and PDM are now talking about nation building. The PNP for certain is pledging to take the TCI independent. None of these proposals are feasible with the brain drain of TCI natives, the removal of local capacity and depriving the islands of an inner ability “to run its own affairs”.
What will happen to all of these replacements after elections are completed and there is a localized Turks and Caicos government? Can this be considered a long-term trend of replacing career civil servants with these replacements? Mind you some of the persons going home were lazy and dysfunctional and probably should never have held such positions of responsibility in the first place. They in some limited cases almost justify these incorrect steps being taken by the interim government.
By and large in all cases where bad apples are weeded out and the good ones going home, there are locals, natives, persons with huge experiences in government and education, who can replace the outgoing persons. Mr Governor, CEO, CFO, the Public Service Commission, which is supposedly “local” and has the final say, must know that these decisions cannot be justified on any level. In 60% of the cases here, you are all being totally racist.
Finally, one must ask the British government a serious question: “Did you come to wipe out corruption of the former government or did you come to install a latter day apartheid system?”