COCKBURN TOWN, Turks and Caicos Islands, Monday, October 15, 2012 – Three years after having its local government suspended after Britain stepped into control over its overseas territory, the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) constitution has finally come into effect.
This marks the beginning of the end of direct-rule by the United Kingdom government ahead of TCI general election next month. The UK re-took control over three years ago in the wake of a major corruption scandal and began a controversial reform programme designed to improve transparency, accountability and public financial management. With what were termed as the eight milestones largely achieved country’s new constitution has now been proclaimed.
TCI governor Ric Todd said the country was significantly more transparent, accountable and financially better run now than in the past.
“We now have a modern Constitution that is the result of wide consultation including a Turks and Caicos delegation who visited London in the summer of 2011 to help ensure that it reflects the wishes of both the citizens of the islands and Ministers in London,” he said
The former OT’s minister from the Foreign Commonwealth Office Henry Bellingham had announced that sufficient progress had been made to allow elections and the governor said he was impressed by the “diligent preparations” of the local political parties. .
“We have an experienced international observers coming to our Islands for the elections. They will be here to ensure that 9thNovember passes off as intended as a free and fair democratic election. I welcome their presence and look forward to receiving their reports over the weekend after polling day,” he added. “The Government’s work does not now stop until after the election results are announced and a new administration is in place.”
Todd stated that the new constitution will help the incoming administration govern fairly and transparently, and in tandem with the other legislative enhancements.
“The education programme launched last week by the Supervisor of Elections will ensure that all citizens eligible to vote are fully informed on the new electoral system and the choices they will be asked to make on the Electoral District and All Island ballot papers,” he said. ““The building blocks for successful elections are now in place and we all eagerly anticipate the return to elected government here in the Turks and Ciacos Islands.”
The interim administration had taken over TCI following the suspension of parts of the previous 2006 Constitution after the Sir Robin Auld Commission of Inquiry found that there was “a high probability of systemic corruption in government and the legislature and among public officers in the Turks & Caicos Islands in recent years.” Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)