With the continuing anticipation of elections yet this year, the TCI electorate is directing its attention to those who have indicated an interest in running. Also, speculation and networking is on the rise, with the names of potential candidates the main subject.
Harold Charles, the former owner of Sky King airline, has indicated an interest in running as an independent candidate running at large. Charles, who was born in Haiti, has lived in the TCI for many years and is a belonger. During the Michael Misick years, he sold his airline routes to Lyndon Gardiner of Air Turks and Caicos for an undisclosed amount. Charles has been reported to be attending meetings populated with Haitian-born belongers, who are likely to be his support base.
Also indicating a desire to run as an independent is Consultative Forum member and TV talk show host, Rev Courtney Misick of Kew, North Caicos. Misick had been connected with the North Caicos Branch of the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) when Floyd Seymour was the PDM leader. With the leadership now returned to Derek Taylor of Grand Turk, Misick has confirmed his political role will remain independent. Misick is interested in running at large and told TCI News Now he anticipates financial support adequate to sustain an at large election try.
Newly resigned radio talk show host and former Progressive National Party (PNP) elected member of parliament, Robert Hall is vying for approval by the PNP to run under their banner at large.
Leading the pack at the PNP is former medical director of the TCI, Dr Rufus Ewing, who resigned effective March 31.
Formerly associated with the PDM, where his father Hilly Ewing is a senior stalwart, Rufus Ewing has already taken to TV and radio, beginning his campaign to corner the PNP leadership, which he believes will lead him to an at large seat and the country’s premiership.
Also in the PNP camp is attorney Carlos Simons QC, who has apparently moved from his conservative right position in the party to a left of centre position. His new platform is to terminate the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT), rescind the arrest warrant for Michael Misick and, as with Hall and Ewing, prepare the TCI for independence. Sources indicate that Simons has been carefully lining up delegates who will support him in the yet to be announced PNP convention planned for sometime this month.
Local speculation also has Don Hue Gardiner, local Digicel chief E.J. Saunders, and new attorney Mark Fulford as possible PNP candidates. Almost certain to run is former deputy premier Royal Robinson, as well as his son Jamal, who resigned his post as disaster operations manager. The junior Robinson has made it known he is interested in one of the two Grand Turk district seats.
According to PDM national chairman Ruben Hall, a party convention will definitely be held in June. While the meeting was thought to be scheduled for Grand Turk, where leader Derek Taylor resides, some believe it may now be held to Provo for economic reasons.
The oldest party with the oldest candidates, PDM has been reforming itself with a slate of candidates including those that won the government 18 years ago in the 1995 election. This includes Clarence Selver, Samuel Harvey and several others. Former PDM chief minister Oswald Skippings, now a pastor, has told his church to replace him, as he plans on returning to politics.
Chairman Hall has said that, to date, the party has seven people interested in running for the five at large seats. This includes party leader Taylor himself and possibly Hall. Current PDM treasurer Dwayne Taylor, who served with Derek Taylor, is also expected to run.