#GrandTurk, Turks and Caicos Islands – Monday July 9, 2018 – A reminder of her vow to voters was a core part of the presentation by Hon Josephine Connolly following the June 18 delivered Speech from the Throne; but larger than those points were repeated criticisms of the PDM Government by Connolly for its performance this first 18-months.
“Mr Speaker the one thing I did not hear in the Throne Speech as long as it was, was an admission of the failures of the last eighteen months. And why Mr Speaker, because the last eighteen months have been an unmitigated disaster. No amount of spin, no amount of dissembling, no amount of finger pointing , no amount of dog eat my homework excuses can remove from the lives of the people of this country the consequences of the complete, utter and abject failure of this government.”
Debate on the Throne Speech did come, but not until nearly two weeks after the Governor of the territory expressed the plans of the PDM Administration in a 45-minute speech delivered at the ceremonial Opening of the House of Assembly.
A re-ordering by the Premier, Hon Sharlene Robinson of the agenda, pushed the official response by the Opposition Leader and debate on the Speech back by 11-days. A move, Hon. Connolly slammed as immature.
“…To move from the worrying lack of courtesy in this house, to an atmosphere where we can disagree without being disagreeable and where the shuffling of the order paper is not political gamesmanship, but a reflection of the priorities of the country.”
The second All-Island Member of Parliament, who in June 2017 had her position as Minister of Education revoked by the Premier and who is now considered an Independent Parliamentarian, noted the islands and cays still wallowing in damages and destruction from the September hurricanes.
“If you were to travel through the nation’s capital the evidence is there. This Government has not invested a visible dime in restoration works post the hurricanes. Mr. Speaker, the vulnerable are still in a vulnerable state. And Mr. Speaker, while I understand and appreciate the need for strategic management the establishment of the Task Force was publicized months after the passage of the hurricanes. I guess, Mr. Speaker this task force is positioned for, God forbid, the next disaster.”
Hon Connolly on Friday June 29 during House of Assembly pointed to hole-filled public buildings, mold-poisoned public offices and islanders she commended for resilience but expressed her concern that some of those islanders may face medical issues in the long term.
“Look at the building in which we are sitting, cast your eyes outside at the adjacent building (I notice the hole in the roof was covered this week) but the effect of mold in that building is so transparent Mr. Speaker that I would not be surprised if the public servants occupying the lower floor have lung issues in the future. The residents of Salt Cay, South Caicos, Providenciales are still begging for some measure of relief. So Mr. Speaker, unless there is an alternate meaning of the word ‘swift’ as outlined in the dictionary, pardon me if I do not subscribe to the government’s view of swift.”
Hon. Josephine Connolly, who also now occupies seating nearer the Opposition PNP in the House of Assembly, explained that her desire is for the Government-of-the-day to do more than make rosy promises, but to ensure that election season promises are kept.
“My vision is that the promises I made at the time of the election will become reality so that our nation will not perish. A vision that government should put the country’s interests first, ahead of special interests, family and party bosses. A vision based on the conviction that planning and government decision-making should extend beyond the next election cycle. A vision that our financial resources cannot continue to be used up for the short-term gain and benefits of a privileged few. A vision that sees government ministers as strong individuals who understand that they have a voice to use in Cabinet, not only at election time and will not be threatened but stand tall and strong. A vision that the people see through the propaganda of loyalty to this leader or that party, the overriding loyalty has to be to your country and your people.”
The PDM Administration was accused by Hon. Josephine Connolly of having no vision and suffering from partisan loyalty to the detriment of better service to the Turks and Caicos Islands.