Many may not know that the UK has taken over all governance of the Turks and Caicos Islands in August 2009. This happened without a vote from Parliament and without a vote from the people of Turks and Caicos. Many around the world call UK's actions in Turks and Caicos a coup.
When the UK installed its government back in August 2009, it assured the world that this was a necessary maneuver and that they will restore governance in two years, which elections could take place in June 2011. While many political parties in Turks and Caicos are counting on UK's word of restoring governance, the UK has made informal statements of its permanent placement in the islands.
The political parties in Turks and Caicos are energized to campaign and rally the people for an election as UK sits back not offering any assurances of any future democracy to this autonomous island territory.
In The Turks and Caicos Sun Times today:
A former Chief Minister, a former speaker of the House of Assembly, a retired banker, a prominent Queen's Counsel, the head of a telecommunications company, the current party chairman and a popular radio talk show host, are among those who are being discussed as potential leaders of the Progressive National Party (PNP).
The SUN can confirm that Washington Misick, Clayton Greene, Sandy Lightbourne, Carlos Simons, E. Jay Saunders, DonHue Gardiner and Robert Hall have either been approached and/or are interested in contesting the leadership of the PNP when the party's annual conference is held in August.
At this stage there is no clear front-runner, but the SUN understands that there has been some intense lobbying and canvassing going on within the party over the past few months.
The PNP held a meeting of the National General Council on Saturday January 16th. Except for Lightbourne and Hall, all of the other persons whose names are being bandied around for PNP leadership were present.
There were several items on the agenda, but the selection of a date for the party congress was the main attraction.
Some were hoping that the Congress/Convention to choose a new leader would have been brought forward, but their hopes were dashed when the current PNP leader and former premier Galmo "Gilley" Williams, who was elected in March 2009 after the resignation of the country's first Premier Michael E. Misick, made it abundantly clear that he will be serving out his term which ends in August.
In addition to the candidates interested in the PNP leadership, the meeting was also attended by constituency caretakers and a number of new persons who are interested in being candidates for the party whenever the next general elections are called.
The meeting started with opening Remarks by the National Chairman, DonHue Gardiner and remarks by the Party Leader, Galmo Williams, followed by reports from Chairpersons of Constituency Councils or the Caretakers of Constituencies.
Daniel was elected the new PNP Secretary General, following the resignation of Akeirra Misick, while Gordon Burton, is the new acting treasurer after the resignation of Floyd Hall.
Meantime, two days after the PNP meeting, a prominent member of the party, former Cabinet McAllister Hanchell, expressed outrage over the fact that the PNP is being infiltrated by "British puppets and backstabbers".
In a strongly worded press release, Hanchell stated: "My fellow PNP Brothers and Sisters your Progressive National Party (PNP) continues to be in danger of being undermined and infiltrated by individuals carrying out the British Government's and Gordon Wetherell's agenda of divide and conquer. The danger is serious and we have an obligation as PNP'S to preserve the party's interests. The strategy of the British Government is to maintain political divisions within and between the current political party structures and maintain their presence in our Country.
"You will recall in March 2009 former Premier Michael Misick resigned as Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, because of a lack of confidence expressed by the then PNP backbenchers of Parliament and some members of his Cabinet. "Since then the party has moved forward".
"Leading up to and after Misick resignation, well known Turks & Caicos Islander Attorney, Mr. Carlos Simmons, Q.C., played a very pivotal role in the process of dethroning the Misick Administration by advising the group and drafting letters and press statements for them. Some believe that the move was manufactured and masterminded by the British Government and Mr. Simmons acted as their agent to eventually overthrow the Government in a modern day coup d'état.
"Some members of the group have said that Mr. Simmons convinced them that the British Government was considering suspending the constitution after completion of the commission of inquiry and removing the Misick Administration and the only way of keeping this from happening was to join the opposition party "PDM" in a vote of no confidence in the Government in the House of Parliament. Others believe that Carlos Simmons acted out of self interest and for personal gratification.
"My Brothers and Sisters, it is now evident that whatever Carlos rationale and role was in the coup, his sole objective was to bring down the duly elected government headed by Michael Misick.
"It is a fact that Carlos has expressed his interest in becoming the next Leader of the Progressive National Party "PNP by way of anointment preferably or a hardly contested party election when constitutionally due. It is also a fact that Mr. Carlos Simmons attended a PNP closed session door meeting on January 16th, 2009. "He is currently serving as chairman of the British rule Gordon Wetherell consultative forum".
"The notion that a member of Gordon Wetherell's Advisory Council or Consultative Forum could attend or be allowed to attend our Party's (PNP) NGC sessions is an insult to and an outright disrespect for the Party. These people should be considered as traitors and we must expose them for who they are.
The analogy to be made here is simple, "could a member of the PNP attend a PDM congress meeting or vice verse? The answer is no". therefore the PNP should not tolerate blatant infiltration of such individuals of the opposition British Interim Administration.
"Furthermore article Article 7(2) of the Constitution of the PNP 2001 (as amended) provides that:"No person shall be qualified to stand as a candidate for election as Party Leader unless he has been a member of the Party for at least five (5) years or his candidacy has been approved by a two/thirds majority of the National Executive Committee."
"The British Government's occupation of our Turks and Caicos Islands and the imposed amended Constitution replacing democratically elected Government symbolizes Colonial Dictatorship. Therefore Mr. Simmons and all other appointed consultative forum and advisory council members should be rejected from holding executive positions in the party.
"We have to put and end to the relentless pursuit of Mr. Simmons and others like him becoming the Leader of our party and holding executive positions now rather than later, for if we don't, we will find that even after we are returned to democracy, the UK will still be in charge through the same people that have colluded with them to displace our democracy.
May God bless the Progressive National Party (PNP) and May God Bless the Turks and Caicos Islands. PNP ALL THE WAY!!!"