Committee adopts recommendations on the territory
TCI NATIONAL AGENDA
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands TKCA 1ZZ
Tel: 1 (649) 231-7471; Fax 1 (649) 941-8516:
Delivered by Rev. E. Conrad Howell
23rd June 2015
Distinguished and honoured Excellency’s, greetings to you and blessings be upon you from peoples the Turks and Caicos Islands. My being here is a clear indication of our determination to utilize every right and proper means to achieve our goals while working through every challenge that we face. As such, we thank you for hearing us today.
Turks and Caicos is an archipelago of 40 low-lying coral islands in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas. The island of Providenciales, known as Provo, is home to expansive Grace Bay Beach, with luxury resorts, shops and restaurants.
We believe that in his pursuit of the new world, Columbus in 1492 landed in Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands. We have often herd that only two decades later Ponce de Leon set foot on the Islands in 1512, and then five hundred and thirty years later, in the super powers race to orbit the earth and reach the moon, the later Senator John Glen as an astronaut, was found in his space capsule in February of 1962.
Nevertheless, amidst all this, and all else that we’ve come to learn through the passage of time, it seems easier to speak to the issues from the perspective of taking the credit acclaimed by our place and position of ownership over time, then to demonstrate responsibility for the steady progress and assistance in the aspirations of the TCI people throughout the years.
History shows that both Spain and the UK had been more concerned about the real estate of the Turks and Caicos than the improvement of the lot of its people, and while I say so cautiously, it is demonstrated in their dealing subjectively on these matters.
After Columbus, the Spanish monarch ordered the removal of the people of our lands. Then through and because of the Bermudian for raking salt, the UK annexes the Bahamas and TCI somewhere between 1695 and 1766, only to come with a separation order in 1848, allow for a presidency – which lasted for 25 years with five different presidents and concluding with a diminishing salt economy unable sustain the responsibilities it was mandated to. So, in 1873, we were passed off to Jamaica to Govern.
In the era of the United Nations, Jamaica becomes Sovereign in 1962, Turks and Caicos is handed off to Bahamas again. Bahamas becomes Sovereign in 1973, TCI gets a Governor.
Both Dr. Trevor Monroe in his “TCI National Integrity Systems study 2009”, and Dr. Carlyle Corbin in his “Recolonizing the Colony 2014: The case of the Turks and Caicos,” note and spoke briefly to the fact that up 1976, Turks and Caicos Islanders had little experience in governing.
“. . . In the first place, the TCI had relatively limited experience in the operation of institutions of governance. The TCI separate Office of Governor was established in the 1970s, along with the first Constitution for the colony. Other small, Caribbean island states at similar stages of constitutional development had centuries of experience in these governance institutions. . .” Dr. Trevor Monroe – TCI National Integrity Systems study 2009, pg 16.
We celebrate the last forty years of TC Islanders governing with limited experience in the Institutions of Governance, because of what we had able to achieve without the wide experience we would wish we had.
It took determination on the part of the local politicians, even when we were going against the grain to accomplish for and on behalf of the people, by the now “Most Excellent J. A. G. S. McCartney, first Chief Minister and only National Hero (deceased), and others in their various terms of leadership and challenge.
That determination and the deep desire not to repeat our pass, pushed politicians to budget big on Education Scholarship finding between 2003 – 2007, yet it is spoken of as a waste and in 2010 the Scholarship budget diminished to one percent (1%) of what it previously was.
These are just to mention a few.
I submit to you that the questions are unending based on what we hear and what we see as it relates to Liberty and Progress.
Ø As a UK Overseas Territory, the UK is responsible for Internal and External Security, we are not satisfied as a people that enough is done to curb what some of us call rising crimes, or refund of the repatriation cost.
Ø TCI Bank that was open and heralded in 2006, is now Liquidated, while Banks in the UK built from funds paid to Slave Masters, on the Abolition of Slavery continues and is supported.
Ø Waterloo, the Governor’s Residence and Office, celebrates 200 years since being built – It functions as the place of Administration for and on behalf of HMG, both in demonstration and thought.
Ø His Excellency heralded the eight hundredth year of the Megna Carta just last Monday, while a number of the real benefits were just removed as it relates to the TCI people.
Ø Obviously what we’ve seen Government Ministers trying to deliver amidst the bureaucracy intended to allow transparency, it demonstrates parallel governance.
Ø Austerity has given way to some savings yes, the economy has rebounded well. The necessary payments on the debt will be met before the bond matures and the UK will be loosed from its guarantor responsibility on the $260M loan guarantee. But, the old adage is proven true “While the grass grows, the horse staves.”
Ø Our systems of Governance need to change for the people and country, nevertheless, the parallel governance referred to creates real opportunity for local political destabilization, and makes to local leaders on job more difficult than it has to be.
Buoyant economies, with great opportunities, minus political guarantees or right of determination, makes for marginalization and destabilization. Nevertheless, we continue to diversify and strength as best we can.
The status quo has to change and we who believe we understand what is happening in the colonies or colony, counts on the Decolonization group to innovatively assist by:
1. Allowing a special resolution to look into what some of us call abuses and inactivity by the Administering Power,
2. Observe for yourselves, through a visiting delegation, the current state of political activity as it relates to your mission in the TCI,
3. Recommend that the other options such as Free Association or other option open to us.
We are a peaceful people, and will exercise whatever “means” are available and can be utilize to obtain our goals as a people.
It is noted that the UK has the ability to impose Orders in Council on its Caribbean Territories, if the Territories are reforming as suggested. It is of note that those words say, “CARIBBEAN TERRITORIES.”
Is it to imply that we are less equal?
We are deviant and need to come into conformity?
Or that we in particular have resisted good will?
What I do know, is that we in the Turks and Caicos, wish to make our own decisions, determine our own destiny, and enjoy prosperity and justice for all just like any other group of people on the face of the earth.
We pay our way, no matter the cost,
We believe in the right of others according to law,
We believe in what the UN Charter and (Decolonisation) Declaration 1514.
So we believe and accept the golden rule – Do to others as you would have them do to you.
There is no better time than now. There is danger in Delay.
Just as the Worker counts on his union, just as the voter looks to him MP, those colonies wishing to be decolonized, look to the decolonization committee.
Published on Jamaica Gleaner (http://jamaica-gleaner.com)
Munroe still awaiting Turks and Caicos' response on Sandals matter
Published: Thursday | February 28, 2013
More than a month after Professor Trevor Munroe wrote to the governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) regarding the recovery of US$12 million from Sandals Resorts International, the questions raised by the noted academic are still unanswered.
Munroe, who wrote to the TCI governor in his capacity as executive director of National Integrity Action (NIA), told The Gleaner on Monday that the governor's office confirmed receipt of his missive, but nothing else has been received addressing the substantive issues he outlined in the letter dated January 24, 2013.
"Following the acknowledgement of receipt of my letter, we have received no further correspondence from the TCI governor's office," Munroe noted.
The NIA describes itself as a Jamaica-based non-governmental organisation "whose objective is to build integrity and combat corruption". Munroe had wrote to Governor Ric Todd in response to a news release issued by the governor's spokesman dated January 23, 2012, titled 'SIPT recover a further twelve million'.
RESPONSE LIKELY COMING
However, Neil Smith, the TCI governor's spokesman, told our news team yesterday that it is unlikely that the concerns raised by the professor would not be addressed.
"I am sure he will," said Smith when asked if Governor Todd would respond to Professor Munroe's letter. "It is most unlikely that the office won't respond," Smith added.
In the missive to the TCI governor, Munroe noted that "one aspect of public concern and attention relates to a fundamental principle of the rule of law and of democratic governance, namely, that there should be one law for the rich and for the poor, one law for the connected persons and for the man in the street".
He added: "In the matter between Sandals and the Turks and Caicos Islands government, NIA and every well-thinking citizen must acknowledge that each individual and entity must be considered innocent until proven guilty before a court of law; equally, that no illegitimate consideration should preclude any individual or entity, however well connected and however much a contribution they have made, from having their day in court to establish innocence or to be found guilty."
In closing, the professor said he was seeking assurance from the governor that the fundamental principles long upheld in the British justice system were in no way being undermined by the agreement reached by the TCI's Special Investigation Prosecution Team (SIPT) and Sandals Resorts International, whereby the former recovered US$12 million from the latter "without any admission of liability by the company, its directors and/or officers".
United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation
Resolution on the Turks and Caicos Islands
adopted on 23rd June 2015
Taking note of the working paper prepared by the Secretariat on the Turks and Caicos Islands and other relevant information,
Taking note also of the statement made by the representative of the Turks and Caicos Islands at the Caribbean regional seminar held in Managua from 19 to 21 May 2015,
Recalling also the dispatch of the United Nations special mission to the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2006 at the request of the territorial Government and with the concurrence of the administering Power,
Noting the decision of the administering Power to suspend parts of the 2006 Constitution, the subsequent presentation of a draft constitution for public consultation in 2011 and the introduction of a new constitution for the Territory, as well as the election of a new territorial Government in 2012,
Aware that the 2014 report of the Constitutional Review Committee, which was submitted to and considered by the House of Assembly, is under consideration by the administering Power,
Recalling that, in March 2014, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community received an update on the situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands, which they will continue to monitor, and that they expressed their support for the full restoration of democracy in the Territory on terms driven by its people,
Acknowledging the impact that the global economic slowdown and other relevant developments have had on tourism and related real estate development, which are the mainstays of the economy of the Territory,
1. Reiterates its support for the full restoration of democracy in the Territory and the work of the Constitutional Review Committee in that regard, and notes the efforts of the administering Power to restore good governance, including through the introduction in 2011 of a new constitution and the holding of elections in November 2012, and sound financial management in the Territory;
2. Notes the positions and repeated calls of the Caribbean Community and the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries in support of a democratically elected territorial Government and of the full restoration of democracy in the Territory as decided by its people;
3. Also notes the continuing debate on constitutional reform within the Territory, and stresses the importance of participation by all groups and interested parties in the consultation process;
4. Stresses the importance of having in place in the Territory a constitution that reflects the aspirations and wishes of its people, based on the mechanisms for popular consultation;
5. Requests the administering Power to assist the Territory by facilitating its work concerning public outreach efforts, consistent with Article 73 b of the Charter, and in that regard calls upon the relevant United Nations organizations to provide assistance to the Territory, if requested;
6. Welcomes the active participation of the Territory in the work of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean;
7. Also welcomes the continuing efforts made by the territorial Government addressing the need for attention to be paid to the enhancement of socioeconomic development across the Territory;