NEWLY elected leader of the Progressive National Party (PNP), Dr. Rufus Ewing, contends that the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) is ready for independence.
Ewing, speaking at a press briefing at the PNP Headquarters on Wednesday, noted that the party has taken a resolution to support the move towards independence.
He made it clear that the PNP is pro-independence and going forward any moves the party makes will take into consideration an independent TCI.
The PNP Leader acknowledged that there are a few things that can be improved on before the step towards independence is taken.
According to him, the people need to be educated on the pros and cons of independence.
However, he reiterated that the TCI has long been ready to assert itself independent of the United Kingdom.
Ewing stated that before any decision is taken the views of the people have be taken into consideration, adding that the new PNP will move towards an approach that seeks to increasingly involve the people of the TCI in decision-making.
When asked about a possible timeframe for the attainment of independence, the PNP Leader noted that because this is something that needs to be approached strategically, setting a timeframe would be premature, particularly considering that the return to democratic rule has not been confirmed to happen this year.
Ewing said in going forward, independence has to be planned and strategically implemented in stages to achieve the vision leaders have for the TCI.
He maintains that independence is not to be rushed.
In a prior interview in April, Ewing made it clear that independence is ultimately up to the people, adding that developmental milestones that are advanced by an elected government will indicate the country’s readiness for independence.
“My duty is to prepare the people for that day,” he said then.
10 YEARS AWAY
Former PNP Leader and retired politician Daniel Malcolm addressed the issue of independence in an interview with the Weekly News in the latter part of March.
He contends that the TCI is too young for independence, but noted that achieving a measure of self-determination is a move in the right direction.
“We are at least 10 years away from being ready for Independence…we must develop our country and our people so that when we move to Independence we will do so from a position of strength,” he said.
However, Malcolm, like Ewing, stressed that TCI must prepare for that eventuality down the road.
“Self-determination is where the government and the people of TCI, and other territories like us, make advances toward greater political, social and cultural determination or say within the framework of their own situation,” he posited.
The former PNP Leader was recently been invited to join the Special Committee of experts with regard to the implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples.
This endeavour is supported by the Decolonization Unit of the Department of Political Affairs, which is part of the United Nations (UN) Secretariat, via monitoring the implementation of the Declaration, hearing statements from the non-self governing territories, organizing an annual regional seminar and making recommendations regarding the dissemination of information on the decolonization process.
Governor Ric Todd in addressing the issue of independence in the past has said unequivocally that the United Kingdom would grant independence to the TCI, if that were the choice made by the TC people. (Vanessa Narine)
published in TCI Weekly News on 12th of June 2012