18 August 2009

Deposed Premier Addresses Colonial Coup in Turks & Caicos Islands

Deposed Premier Galmo Williams of the Turks and Caicos Islands made his final address to the people of the territory on 14th August 2009 in anticipation of the impending unilateral suspension of the constitution by the United Kingdom, the administering power of the territory. The announcement of the suspension of democratic governance was subsequently made on 16th August 2009. Overseas Territories Report, our sister publication, has released its analysis of the crisis of democracy in its article "Re-colonising the Colony," which is available from overseasreport@gmail.com. The statement of the deposed Premier follows:

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands; Friday, August 14th, 2009 – “My fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, my days in office as your Premier and as the Representative in Parliament for all the people of Long Bay Hills are almost over, as I have every reason to believe that the much talked about coup that the Government of the United Kingdom has been planning for the Turks and Caicos Islands is about to be executed, but I assure you that my days of service to my country, will never be over.

In my life time I will never hold a position higher or take an oath more sacred than that of your Premier, but know too, that there is no title I will wear more proudly than that of citizen of these our Turks and Caicos Islands.

Let me at the outset publicly thank both my Cabinet and my Parliamentary colleagues(on both sides of the isle) and the hundreds of civil servants and political appointees and others with whom I have served over the last several years and in particular since I became your Premier last March, for the dedication and competence they have brought to the service of our country. But let me however express my deepest gratitude and thanks to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands (particularly the people of Long Bay Hills), because it was you who gave me this great opportunity to serve.

During my time as Premier we have faced great challenges together, and we know that there will be greater challenges in our future, but I am convinced now more than ever that the Turks and Caicos Islands will successfully meet whatever challenge and uncertainty the future might bring, for as the grand children of slaves, left abandoned on these barren shores centuries ago, we, together with those who came later on, have turned these Islands into something that we can all be proud of, and indeed something that our once delinquent masters, have stated that they will do anything (“except a return to slavery”) to repossess.

Our government has brought more development to Turks and Caicos over the last six years than at any other time in our history. We have educated more of our people at university level than at any other time in our history. We have made more provisions for the health care and welfare of our people than at any other time in our history, and we have created for our country one of the most respected brands in the tourism industry the world over.

Despite these many accomplishments, however, this last year has been a challenging one for our country, one filled with set backs, but rather than cause me to loose heart, these setbacks over the last year has made me more certain than ever of the inner strength, the ingenuity and decency of our people, for, in this last year, we have watched our economy take tremendous body blows as the economy of the United States to which it is linked, and indeed the world economy was brought to its knees. As we all know, these economic challenges could not have come at a worst time for of country, coming as it did at a time when our country was hit by two back to back devastating hurricanes, Hanna and Ike, in less than one week and coupled with this, we have also had to simultaneously withstand the negative impacts of a commission of inquiry.

And now, today, our country is being invaded and re-colonized by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance.

As the legitimately and duly elected leader of this country, I strongly object to the recommendations outlined in the Report of the Commission that the Governor now seeks to bring into force. I do not support permitting non-Belongers the right to vote, and I wish to go on record as stating that I am opposed to the recommendation of trial by judge alone rather then a trial by a jury of your peers. My government and I also object to the removal of the House of Assembly, thereby leaving the people of these Islands voiceless and without representation.

But I am convinced that this coup d'état committed against the legitimate government of our Turks and Caicos Islands by the United Kingdom puts them on the wrong side of history, for I can assure you that this action which they have taken against us was not done because it is the right thing to do nor because it is necessary, but rather it is being taken because they are able to do such things in a country of our size and status.

We as a people however, should be comforted by the thought expressed by Abraham Lincoln when he said that government of the people, for the people and by the people shall never perish from this earth, for I am comforted in the knowledge that our little Turks and Caicos, under God, shall indeed have a new birth of freedom.

As a people we must reunite on the basis of democratic principles, so that it could be said of us both in dark nites and in bright days that we have found and have kept our faith.

To all those with whom I have worked over the last several years I say go forth in the knowledge that we have done a lot of good, and to those who will come behind us I say the work must go on, because the cause that drew so many before you to public service still endures and the dream must never be allowed to die.

I will continue to keep a watchful eye over our non-elected Governor and his non- elected cabinet as they go about their unknown agenda. I implore all Turks and Caicos Islanders to hold them accountable for their actions.

We must all play our part in our communities to move ahead together as one nation. Together we work and together we progress. I thank God for this opportunity to serve my country at this time. May God continue to bless you all and may he continue to bless our beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands.”

Hon. Galmo Williams
Premier and MP for Long Bay