Islander status bill talks reveal ‘outcasts with no right to vote’

Providenciales, 01 Sept 2015 – Tropical Storm Erika forced the postponement of the public meetings being hosted by the Ministry of Border Control but not before there were sessions in Provo, Grand Turk and Middle and North Caicos.

During the Provo meeting at the Gus Lightbourne Gym there was a bold perspective brought to the panel; it came from a Turks and Caicos born Haitian.

“Here it is, you educate yourself and do the best you can do to be accepted as your peers, you may excel as if you want to, but my rights is still being deprived from me because my own Turks and Caicos Islanders still cannot see me as a Turks and Caicos Islander. I see you as one, but you refuse to see me; that’s the problem.”

The proposal for a Turks and Caicos Islander Status Bill outlines the pathways to citizenship; current law would never allow a person to become a Turks and Caicos Islander simply because they are born in the islands nor does it allow for those born here to foreign parents, by choice at the age of adulthood, to choose to become a Turks and Caicos Islander as is the case with some other jurisdictions.

There are many islanders who believe, that is the way the law ought to stay and yet others, like the young man at the meeting in Provo, who believes they are being marginalized in the only home they know.

“I can’t even purchase land for me to go open a business – me and some people was trying to come up with a business – but I was told I need a Belonger Card, I am not a Turks and Caicos Islander; I therefore cannot even start a business venture, but this is my country as you are saying it is the only country I know. In my own country I am being an outcast, I have no rights, I cannot vote.”

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