Post By-Election Statement by Albray Butterfield, Jr.
published in TCI Post,on 31th March 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
By Albray Butterfield, Jr.
26th March 2013
Post By-Election Statement and Letter to:
Hon Premier Ewing,
Hon Amanda Missick,
Mr Oral Selver
First and foremost, let me give thanks to our awesome God for granting us Turks and Caicos Islanders the courage and stamina to endure seven long months of a hard fought political campaign, a general election, endless Supreme Court battles of election challenges, a by-election, and several occurrence of external political interference by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (“FCO”) and Waterloo. True democracy was on display for the world to see, as we exercised our democratic franchise to self-governance. Today I am proud to say that we as a people are well on our way to one day achieving our national aspiration of political independence.
CONGRATULATIONS are in order to Honourable Amanda Missick for her successful unquestionable victory in the general election of 9th November 2012, and again in the by-election of 22nd March 2013, in the constituency of Cheshire Hall, Richmond Hills and Kew Township – electoral district 7 of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Hon. Amanda Missick’s margin of victory in the by-election spoke loud and clear that “We The People” of Cheshire Hall, Richmond Hills, Kew Township and by extension the Turks and Caicos Islands support and have full confidence in The Honourable Premier Dr Rufus Ewing, his leadership and the direction he is taking the country. Hon Premier Ewing’s stellar management of his professional “Team PNP” and the long hard fought political campaign demonstrated his managerial and leadership abilities necessary to navigate the Turks and Caicos Islands through this current tempestuous period in our history, which will eventually lead us into a prosperous future.
Congratulations are also in order to Mr Oral Selver for running a stand-up, clean and respectful hard fought political campaign. He demonstrated true strength and courage, as well as helping to usher in a new generation of honourable persons seeking to enter public office. I would encourage Mr Selver to stay the course and continuing to support his community.
Honourable Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, you have no reason to hang your head down as a result of the defeat of your political fraternity at the polls. You stood strong throughout the entire political campaign, and you gave the incumbent a real fight. In your concession speech/press statement to your political fraternity supporters, you showed the nation and the world what it is to possess political maturity by opening your speech with sincere congratulations to Hon. Premier Ewing on his victory and for also retaining the government of the day. Continue to represent the people, as you progress in your political endeavours.
Now that the issue of our political governance has been decided; the euphoria of victory among the victors has subsided; the shocking disappointment of defeat has finally settled in among the defeated; we should have by now returned to the realities of life, and realise that we have to reunite in order to fight for our economic prosperity, constitutional rights, and democratic and political freedoms. This cannot be achieved if we continue to allow ourselves to be divided on important issues that are in our national interest. The same way we united to fight the FCO and Waterloo against the implementation of Value Added Tax, we now have to do the same to fight for our socioeconomic prosperity and freedoms.
Hon. Premier Ewing, you have been given an unmistakable and clear mandate of what and how the electorate are expecting you to govern. At the moment, you possess tremendous political capital, PLEASE SPEND IT WISELY AND DO NOT SQUANDER THIS ONCE IN A GENERATION OPPORTUNITY, OR YOU WILL BE A ONE TERM PREMIER. King Solomon gives some sound advice that if followed, will avoid various pitfalls while in office. King Solomon advised: “Where no (wise) counsel is, the people (nation) fall, but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” – Proverbs 11:14 (KJV). Hon. Premier, it is recommended that you encompass yourself with wise counsellors from both sides of the political divide; blind partisan counsel will only lead you and your government down the same primrose path as your predecessors. You have been elected to govern this nation of all political persuasions, race, and creed.
The Lord instructed Habakkuk to: “… Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” – Habakkuk 2:2-3 (KJV).
The sort of “vision” the Lord instructed Habakkuk to inscribe plainly upon tablets, you have outlined such a vision in your political manifesto titled “Going for the Gold: A Plan For Prosperity”. The Turks and Caicos Islands electorate have read your vision and elected to run with it; and on Friday 22nd March 2013, the appointed time has come for you to commence implementing that vision, hence, the electorate have granted you forty-eight months to bring the vision to fruition. Your four months honeymoon, and the period of getting familiarised with your new appointment came to an end on 22nd March 2013. Therefore, I plead of you to tarry no longer, time is of the essence, the electorate have been crying for strong, prudent leadership; the nation is now in your hands. Only your performance during your tenure as Premier will determine how kindly or harshly history will judge you, and whether history will label you as an Armorbearer of the United Kingdom’s Pharaoh at the FCO, or our modern day Moses, or Joshua as outlined in the biblical canon books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua.
We the people will continue to hold you up in prayer, as you continue to seek Gods guidance during your tenure as Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“UNEASY LIES THE HEAD THAT WEARS A CROWN”; William Shakespeare; 1597.
Press Statement from Premier Ewing Re By-Election
On behalf of the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I would like to thank the Almighty God for a peaceful day of proceedings on March 22nd. I would also like to extend to the voters of the Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill Constituency, our gratitude for their continuing support and their vote for Ms. Amanda Missick. Her resounding victory at the polls this past Friday is seen as a clear mandate by the people of the Turks and Caicos for the Progressive National Party Government to continue its work in the best interest of our country.
We the Government would like to reassure the Turks and Caicos Islands, that we will continue to uphold the honour and dignity of the office to which we have been elected and will continue to strive towards a brighter future for our nation, in accordance with our manifesto and in consultation with the people of these islands Indeed many more challenges lie ahead but with the help of the Almighty God none are insurmountable.
During the By-election season, strong sentiments and opinions by supporters of both of our political parties have unfortunately resulted in defamatory remarks being made against the character of those holding political office. I condem this behaviour as these practices damage the image of all Turks and Caicos Islanders. I am making a request to all persons, to desist from engaging in such behavior on the social or other media and to give all whom we have elected to lead us, the respect that they deserve as they represent the best interest of the people of the Turks and Caicos. I call on supporters on both sides of the aisle to rest partisan politics aside and to rally together to provide support to the Government and to continue to forge stronger links that will make us a force against which no enemies can move.
Now is the time for us to work together in unity, as we stay the course and move full speed ahead in the right direction to fulfill our destiny which awaits us on the new horizon. May God continue to bless our Turks and Caicos Islands.
PNP united on former premier’s talking points
Published on March 28, 2013 ,TCI News Now.
The Progressive National Party (PNP) is apparently now unified behind specific “talking points” that are being spoken to by the party and its supporters and are seemingly being orchestrated by its former leader Michael Misick.
The principal point being made was the primary platform of the PNP during their 2012 general election campaign and that is the issue of independence and preparing the TCI to separate itself from Britain.
This was addressed in each and every letter received from Misick and was spoken to by Premier Rufus Ewing on his return from last month’s Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meeting in Haiti. In Ewing’s view, all the Caribbean nations, including those who are currently one of the 14 British overseas territories, must not only achieve independence but must also form republics and not be associated with the Commonwealth of Nations.
The second talking point spoken to by Misick and Ewing is the forthcoming prosecutions of former PNP cabinet ministers and others. Both Misick and Ewing have said that the prosecutions are a farce. Misick said this is because he claims that laws were changed and he personally cannot receive a fair trial and will fight returning home until that is resolved, while at the same time proclaiming his willingness to return to the TCI by private plane instead of waiting for his extradition from Brazil to be completed.
Ewing has not explained why he feels the imminent trials are a “farce”, as he called them in a recent letter to Britain’s Overseas Territories Minister Mark Simmonds.
The third talking point that is being spoken to widely by PNP members and supporters is their view of the overstepping of authority by Britain. This is being described by Ewing as an abuse of power and corruption on the part of William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary. The tone of this talking point echoes similar comments made by Misick in each and every letter he has written.
One of the principal points aired by Ewing was the looming imposition of value added tax (VAT). On this issue, both political parties and the business community were united in asking for VAT to be abandoned.
Both Hague and Simmonds responded to Ewing’s speech to CARICOM heads by accusing him of failing to address the reasons why VAT and other measures were necessary.
In particular, Ewing failed to explain that the TCI is bankrupt and became bankrupt due to the actions of the PNP administration from late 2003 through August 2009, when Britain imposed direct rule.
Further, Hague said that Ewing not only failed to speak to this problem that brought British direct rule but also ignored the consolidated loan of $260 million guaranteed by Britain and the support of numerous British advisers who, in three years of direct rule, have been able to raise government revenue and cut expenses to a break-even position.
Britain imposed certain milestones that had to be achieved before direct rule could be withdrawn and an elected government returned. However, the final milestone yet to be reached was the pay down of the loan, which must be refinanced by 2016 when the British guarantee is lifted. Britain requires the TCI government to submit an acceptable financial plan, which has not yet been achieved by the PNP government in its almost five months in power.
Hague pointed out in a letter to Ewing that there needs to be not only additional taxes but further cuts in spending. Ewing and finance minister Washington Misick and several other PNP ministers have seemingly turned their backs on this requirement and are promising the territory new infrastructure, more government jobs and a growing public sector.
Education minister attacks Jamaican newspaper
Published on March 28, 2013 !TCI News Now.
The minister of education, youth, sports and culture, Akierra Missick, said she is “appalled” at a recent article published in the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper which, she said, sought to sensationalize what was touted to be an interview on the TCI educational system.
According to the Gleaner, Missick is planning to scrap the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) curriculum and consider the British education system for all schools in the TCI, a move that would place the jobs of some 250 Jamaican teachers in jeopardy.
In a statement on Wednesday, Missick said that the cabinet recently agreed a stakeholder consultation to garner views , recommendations and comments on various aspects of TCIs educational system including:
• Curriculum Development
• Security issues
• Ordinance and Policy issues
According to the minister, there will be several avenues for the public to participate in this consultation. It is from this initiative that the ministry hopes to garner ideas that will help to steer the TCI toward the ultimate goal of the development of a graduate that is able to stand as a global citizen and make a mark in his/her country’s development.
However, Missick would only go so far as to say there were no “immediate” plans to send home 200 teachers.
“Any action concerning the well being of the children of the TCI, will be carefully planned and in their best interest,” Missick said.
The minister reiterated what she described as her mandate to develop local talent in an effort to reduce the overall dependency on expatriate labour. The minister said she is also keen on expanding opportunities and options for high school graduates to matriculate to the best universities and complete programs in the shortest time possible.
“This may mean introducing other types of assessments,” she said, in an apparent reference to a different curriculum and/or examination system.
Turks and Caicos Tourist Board monitoring Grand Turk Cruise Center closure
Published on March 27, 2013
By Caribbean News Now contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — The Turks and Caicos Tourist Board has assured the public that it is closely monitoring the situation in Grand Turk surrounding the closure of the Cruise Center and the subsequent cancellation of cruise line calls.
Discussions are ongoing with all the relevant local authorities and stakeholders, including the Public Health Department and the Grand Turk Cruise Center. These groups are working in close partnership to identify and address the situation as rapidly as possible.
The Carnival Cruise Center was closed down earlier this month following an outbreak on the capital island of Grand Turk of 25 cases of a sickness that causes vomiting and diarrhea.
Carnival is now excavating the sewage system at the center trying to locate the source of the problem and has told local workers that it will not reopen the port until the problem is resolved.
In the meantime, local residents said they have long been aware of what is causing the virus and sickness epidemic on the deep water capital island. Approximately two years ago it was revealed that ground adjacent to the port was saturated with sewage water. The problem, sources say, has continued and Grand Turk residents who work at the port continued to complain about the stench, which seems constant at one portion of the complex.
They have reportedly complained to government but no action has been taken. This, it seems, is due to the arrangements made when the port deal was agreed to by the previous the Progressive National Party (PNP) administration. The port ownership remains in the hands of Carnival Cruise Lines.
The cruise sector, which accounts for a majority of visitors to the Turks and Caicos Islands, is a vital cog in the tourism industry of Grand Turk and the Board said it is cognizant of the impact of those affected.
Commenting, Ralph Higgs, director of the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board, said, “We are following the situation as it unfolds and are in active discussion with the most senior executives involved in the ports operation. We understand the severity of the impact of the center’s closure not only to the local business community of Grand Turk but to those guests who have selected to visit our shores via cruise line. We understand that the stakeholders are diligently moving toward identifying the issues and re-opening the center.”
THE TANGLED WEB OF BRITISH DECEPTION IN THE TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
By Hayden Boyce – Publisher & Editor-in-Chief,in SUN TCI,on 25th of March 2013.
One cannot help but be amused and bemused by how these British operatives, the latest of them being Dr. Philip Rushbrook, the director of strategy in the office of Governor Ric Todd, are trying to continue spinning and their way out of the unholy mess which they have created in the Turks and Caicos Islands and about which they continue to be in absolute denial.
It is rather disingenuous to say the least, that persons of the caliber of Hon. William Hague and now Hon. Mark Simmonds would allow themselves to first, be misled, and secondly to be blindly drawn into this silly debate about what the Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing said to the recent CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Haiti.
After reading and parsing the Premier’s speech, there can be no question whatsoever that what he reported to CARICOM was an accurate representation of what happened, and indeed what continues to occur, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
What is perhaps most unfortunate in the circumstances, is that none of Hon. Hague, Hon. Simmonds or Mr. Rushbrook can point to any specific part or parts of the Premier’s speech in which he “substantially misrepresented” the past and present situation in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Instead, and true to form, they have made a broad and general characterisation to CARICOM and the rest of the world, which in and of itself, is a gross misrepresentation of what the Premier stated.
For any correspondence coming from officials in such high office to at least be taken seriously by CARICOM or anyone with common sense, it should be stacked with undisputable facts and the itemization of those particular “misrepresentations” which the Premier is alleged to have made.
In the absence of any such specifics of rebuttal, these honorable men are inviting reasonable and sensible persons to arrive at the conclusion that the Premier lied to CARICOM and, as they were at pains to add, to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Nothing, on critical examination of the facts Dr. Ewing pronounced, could be further from the truth.
The letter from William Hague, who is an honorable man, is uncharacteristically and disappointingly weak and skimpy for someone of his stature.
For example, Mr. Hague talks about the British Government providing initial funding for the Providenciales International Airport many years ago, but makes no mention of the fact that the new $10million expansions are being funded by the operations of the airport and with no help from the Brits.
He also mentions the appointment of a Chief Financial Officer to assist with the finances of the TCI, but fails to tell CARICOM that they had to recall the said CFO Hugh McGarel-Groves because he was an under-performer and a spectacular failure.
His explanation about VAT and the reasons why it will not be introduced, was patently pathetic and failed to mention that nearly 100 percent of the business community in TCI were opposed to it, along with the two political parties.
Mr. Hague also stated that former Premier Michael Misick is “resisting return” to TCI, but he did not tell CARICOM that Misick has repeatedly said he wants to return home voluntarily and that he has written that he wants to waive extradition.
These are but some of the fundamental weaknesses and flaws that are contained in Mr. Hague’s letter to CARICOM; but Mr. Hague is an honorable man.
It therefore is quite sad, to say the least, that Mr. Hague, Mr. Simmonds and these other honorable men are seeking to assassinate the Premier’s character and inflict a vicious assault on his credibility, and that they are seeking to do so in the Caribbean political arena.
It is equally disturbing that by virtue of their written words, they are behaving as though the average resident of the Turks and Caicos Islands cannot read and understand, and that they cannot relate to the accuracy of the Premier’s statement which was pregnant with facts. Indeed, if the Premier can be faulted for anything, it should be that he did not give CARICOM leaders more details.
Analysts and observers may very well and rightly come to the conclusion that the only reason this approach is being taken by these honorable British operatives is because the Premier struck a positive chord among his CARICOM colleagues who perhaps finally would have gotten a true sense and clear picture of what is really going on in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It can be argued that Premier Ewing may have embarrassed the Brits in the presence of Caribbean leaders by exposing their shenanigans. It can be also posited that as far as the real issues in the Turks and Caicos Islands are concerned, the Brits, who have been controlling the narrative regionally and internationally for far too long, may now feel that they are losing the public relations battle.
What, therefore, we are seeing being played out here with this CARICOM issue is a typical and classic example of how certain Brits are known to operate. They are past masters of spin. They have a tendency to paint all with the same brush and their approach to problem-solving is that one size fits all. They don’t like to be challenge. You must either put up or shut up. Moreover, in Caribbean parlance, when they are “out to get you” they seem to be guided by the following famous passage in Alice In Wonderland:
“`Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.
`No, no!’ said the Queen. `Sentence first–verdict afterwards.’
`Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!’
`Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.
`I won’t!’ said Alice.
`Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice. Nobody moved.
`Who cares for you?’ said Alice, `You’re nothing but a pack of cards!’
While it may not be polite to call these British operatives a “pack of cards”, there is indeed much certainty in saying that they have employed the above tactic before on others here and in other British Overseas Territories and they are now seeking to repeat it with Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands Dr. Rufus Ewing. They are obviously on a mission to sentence him as a liar among his CARICOM colleagues, although there is no evidence to substantiate this.
There is, however, some consolation in the fact that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the leaders of CARICOM know better than to believe everything, in anything, that certain British officials here and elsewhere have to say.
In the words of Sir Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive!”
Mike Misick Calls For Independence Referendum – Hits Out At Hague’s ‘Contemptuous’ Response
Published in TCI Weekly News,by VANESSA NARINE,on 25th March 2013
FORMER Premier, Michael Misick, on Wednesday, called for an independence referendum in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
He said: “If you [William Hague] are so confident that the Turks and Caicos people want to remain British, why don’t you carry out a referendum on the question as you just did for show in the Falklands or as Scotland is doing in 2014?
“That referendum and only that referendum will determine the true desire of the Turks and Caicos people.”
The embattled former Premier, still in Brazil, responded in a letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Secretary of State, William Hague, who, in a March 12 letter, replied to concerns raised by current Premier, Dr. Rufus Ewing.
He said: “I also think that because of Dr. Ewing’s stance, and indeed the PNP party’s stance, our country should be moving towards independence….no matter how much you [Hague] and the British government put misinformation out there to hide your true agenda and to cover up for your incompetent officials, it will not change the facts nor the hearts of Turks and Caicos people that the British has worn out their welcome in the Turks and Caicos Islands and their days are numbered.
“The clock is ticking and political independence and freedom for our people cannot be stopped.”
Misick also charged that the contempt that British officials at the highest level have for the Turks and Caicos Islands and its people is astonishing.
He said: “I read with amazement your letter of arrogance that is in the public media to our Premier Hon Dr Rufus Ewing.
“The contempt that British officials at the highest level have for Turks and Caicos Islands and its people is astonishing, and the second such letter where a public dressing is handed down to the leader of our country because of his public stand that the local elected Government should be able to govern including allowing the elected Parliament to enact legislation for the benefit of our people and our country.”
According to Misick, British officials are doing everything in their power to undermine Dr. Ewing’s Government.
He said: “The evidence is in all of the confusion about the elections and misrepresenting the true facts that transpire with my tenure as Premier of our country.”
According to him, British officials are hiding facts they do not want the people of the Turks and Caicos or the world to know.
Misick said: “The fact is that the British government has destroyed the Turks and Caicos economy, its judicial system and eroded the rule of law over the past four years.
“The borrowings that you refer to in your letter were borrowings that your British occupation government did to prop up an illegitimate interim regime and to spend tens of millions of dollars in a political motivated investigation to politically persecute me and my colleagues because of our views.
“No elected Turks and Caicos Government should have to pay back money that you borrowed.
“You talk about Robin Auld, a sole handpicked commissioner by the British government to carry out their instructions in a Commission of Inquiry whether outcome was predetermined.
“If there was nothing to hide than there should have been a transparent Commission of Inquiry with at least a commissioner with eminent judges from the Caribbean included on the panel.”
Misick stressed that what is clear is that the relationship between the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British government is over.
He said: “It is now not based on mutual respect but based on a bullying and arrogant superiority complex that should be relegated to the dust bin of history….you should manifest your claim of belief in democracy and act honest, transparent and behave responsibly.” (VANESSA NARINE)