By Vivian Tyson
Clergymen Rev. Dr. Conrad Howell said that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have been tricked by the United Kingdom Government, who was now ruling the country in an autocratic fashion.
Speaking at the Progressive National Party (PNP) rally the party headquarters on Airport Road on Friday, March 30, Howell said that Turks and Caicos Islanders had seen critical parts of their lives changed “with the stroke of a pen”.
“We have seemed, since 2009, to be governed by persons, who have no real appreciation for what we have achieved or our way of life. And to borrow from a current phrase in the Bahamas right about now, ‘truly, we have been had, bamboozled, run amok and lied to’. We saw systems, industries, policies and ideals changed by the stroke of a pen. Institutions that we held sacred and thought were blind, now seem to be biased and bent away from justice.”
Everything about our Turks and Caicos, has changed so much that it almost appeared foreign. And what seemed unimaginable and absolutely impossible only a half decade ago has shattered our vision and almost obliterated out dreams. The dismal cloud which contains the removal of our rights to representation, the oppression of our people and the denial of real participation in governance of our country – that is the absence of democracy and imposed autocracy and the determination to rewrite, with limitation, a future for Turks and Caicos, cannot be tolerated any longer,” Howell insisted.
Howell emphatically stated that based on their treatment from Britain, the TCI people should not stop at ensuring a return to elected government but to aim for the self-determination target.
“While we prepare for elections, it cannot be the goal. Elections must only be the method utilized to achieve our goals, being backed by a firm determination, to secure the rights of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands; the preservation of their freedom, recognizing the supremacy of God, with a national commitment to self-discipline, patriotism, unity and an abiding respect for Christian values and the rule of law,” he said.
He also stated that Islanders should pledge a commitment to diversify the country through sustainable social, educational and economic development in the people’s interest, while embracing persons and opportunities that shared the common goal of Turks and Caicos Islands’ people. The clergyman also pointed out that Turks and Caicos Islanders should apply any means necessary to safeguard itself from all forms of the threat to its existence, whether domestic or foreign.
“I am determined to see to the achievement of the desired goal of Turks and Caicos, and to secure the same by any God-given means. We stand at the beginning of what is now a new opportunity to shape our destiny, and we must do so vigorously. The days at hand, our initiative must be urgent because procrastination is exceedingly costly. We have survived in, and enjoyed these Turks and Caicos (islands) for the last 300 years, and know what it takes to make it work,” Howell emphasized.
He continued: “At the UN Conference last year, I put it this way, ‘since we have had to do it for the last 300 years and since that the metropolitan cities, especially that of London think that they know best for us; one size does not fit all’. If we had learned how to survive on these rocks, then we ought to know to move it forward. We know how to make Turks and Caicos move ahead. Further, we found that Turks and Caicos only moves ahead when Turks and Caicos Islanders are making the necessary decisions. We have to do what we must, so that we can achieve what we desire.”
published in SUN,Turks and Caicos Islands on 17th of April 2012