Prime Minister Notes Bahamas Intervention to TCI Problems

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ingraham_0455_1_Nassau, Bahamas – Members of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) propose to make representation to the British Government regarding recommendations in the Interim Report of the Turks and Caicos Commission of Inquiry, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham told Parliament Wednesday.

After reading into the record of Parliament the March 24 Statement by Caricom on the situation in the TCI Prime Minister Ingraham said, “ We are proposing that each of us, each country, will make separate representation to the British Government provided we can get the two political parties in the Turks and Caicos to agree upon a set of things.”

The Commissioner in the TCI recommended in the Interim Report “the suspension of the entire Constitution for an indeterminate period, to replace the democratic process presently provided by the Cabinet and the House of Assembly with direct rule from Westminster, acting through the Governor with, but not bound by, the advice of an Advisory Executive Council”.

Caricom in its Statement said, “ An Order in Council was subsequently made on 18 March 2009 and will be laid before the British Parliament on Wednesday 25 March 2009. The Order will continue in force for a period of two years from the date of its commencement unless it is revoked earlier, or continued in force, by a further Order in Council.

“Once given effect, the Order in Council will suspend certain provisions of the Constitution of the TCI relating to ministerial government and the House of Assembly.It will also remove trial by jury and enlarge the franchise to the disadvantage of the TCI people,” Caricom said.

Mr. Ingraham said, “In my discussions with both sides I gathered that they could agree upon some items. Whether they can agree upon all I do not know, but whatever they can agree upon are the things that we will undertake on their behalf and seek to persuade as best we can, if we can, the British Government to give some consideration to not proceeding for certainly not the length of time, and in some cases not undertaking some of the measures being proposed.”


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  1. UK poised to “take over” TCI

    The British government has laid in parliament the legislation under which it plans to take direct control of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

    The British government said it would take the action after a commission of inquiry reported that it had found “clear signs” of corruption in the dependency’s government.

    The TCI Constitution Interim Amendment Order is due to come into force on a date to be specified but it could be early as the next few days.

    The order

    According to the order laid before the British parliament on Wednesday, the exact date of British restoration of direct rule over the Turks and Caicos Islands depends on the governor, Gordon Weatherell, acting in his discretion.

    Once he publishes his date in the local government gazette, the main offices of state shall become vacant.

    In other words, the premier and his cabinet will be sacked, as will the leader of the opposition, speaker and deputy speaker of parliament, the cabinet secretary and members of the judicial and public service commissions other than the chairmen.

    The House of Assembly will be dissolved and MPs will lose their seats.

    Two year suspension

    All the powers of those officials will assumed by the governor for a minimum period of two years as several constitutional provisions will be suspended.

    Under the order, the governor can consult an interim advisory council of up to 12 members but is not obliged to accept its advice.

    The attorney general, the deputy governor and the permanent secretary for finance will be among the members of the council.

    A new consultative forum will effectively perform the role previously taken by parliament, making recommendations to the governor in areas such as legislation and policy.

    Members of the forum will come from key public officials and community representatives chosen by the governor.

    The current holder, Gordon Weatherell, who appears poised to take charge, is an experienced British foreign service officer, having served as high commissioner to Ghana in his previous role.

    The 52-year-old, who took up duties in the TCI last year, holds a doctorate in African Studies from Cambridge university

    Caricom

    The former premier Michael Misick had appealed to Caricom to condemn the British action as undemocratic.

    Caricom has now expressed concern over Britain’s plans to resume direct rule in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

    In a statement the regional grouping said the UK’s suspension of the islands’ constitution and the handing over of control to the London appointed governor threatens the democratic process in the territory.

    Caricom said the measures proposed by Britain go against the will of the people who elected the Turks and Caicos government.

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