#Providenciales, November 29, 2018 – Turks and Caicos – Some political pundits have weighed in when asked, agreeing that the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Hon Sharlene Robinson would do well to take the advice of the Opposition Leader and to actually dissolve the House of Assembly and set up for general elections, early.
After all the PNP Opposition still has no party leader, appears to not be ready for an election race if one were set and getting things done in a post-2011-constitution Turks and Caicos takes an inordinate amount of time.
The Progressive National Party’s leader of business in the House of Assembly, in a media statement, recommended for this to happen just last week. Hon Washington Misick is chastising the PDM Administration for the disrepair of the NJS Francis Building, which is home to the House of Assembly, the Ministry of Finance and Office of the Premier. All tenants have to evacuate to accommodate a multi-million dollar renovation project.
While the focus is on the dilapidated NJS Francis Building, which is owned by the Turks and Caicos Islands Government; one cannot help but discuss the potential outcome of a snap election in the Turks and Caicos where it is the Premier’s prerogative to set an election date.
For fellow Caribbean territory leader, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda it was a move that gave his incumbent administration another term in office.
In News America’s on March 1, 2018 it was reported:
Browne ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labor Party, (ABLP), won the last general election three and a half years ago.
“We have performed and that’s why we can stand here before you today and ask for your support,” he told supporters at a rally Sunday night that was dubbed “Rebuilding Together-Safer with Labor.”
Gaston Browne, mere weeks later, went on to win in a landslide victory; securing 15 seats while the main opposition only managed to hold onto one.
Given that sort of an outcome, perhaps the calling of an election before time is not a bad idea for the PDM in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The facts are that the Opposition PNP, which managed to hold onto only four seats in the December 15, 2016 election race, remains without a leader. Rufus Ewing, the former leader and former premier resigned the day after the major loss.
Right now, the PNP is reportedly aiming to tidy up some elements of its party constitution and preparing for a caucus in late January when it will hold a leadership race. The leadership selection is delayed, as it had originally been announced for this month, November 2018.
However, when asked if she would ring the bell early, PDM Party Leader and Premier Sharlene Robinson said that she is uninterested in bringing the general election forward.
“Snap election? Why would I do that? People have to accept their losses. The PDM went through a period where we lost three general elections. Three. We went along. Yes we challenged, yes, but we allowed people to govern and we did not incite people to a state of hopelessness and despair and even pushing people on the radio recently, inciting violence. You have to understand that when a government does well, you do well as a citizen. Governance is difficult in the system that it is, but when you have an Opposition that is inciting people after two years, for a building that was crumbling on their watch it is nothing short of petty and childish. Snap elections? They will wait their turn.”
The Premier was speaking to Magnetic Media in a one on one interview on Wednesday November 28, 2018.
Still, those scholars of strategic politics have expressed to us that a ‘snap election’ has the potential to be a solid move if, the PDM were to win.
The PDM, as a re-elected Government would gain up to 48 additional months to ensure that their Change Document is completely fulfilled, setting them up for a possible third straight victory at the polls.
Photo Caption: Sharlene Robinson, January 2017 becomes first woman Premier of Turks and Caicos Islands