#Providenciales, December 15, 2018 – Turks and Caic0s – From the Fanciful to the Absurd: The PDM sleepwalks into the second half of its four-year mandate.
Real change is achieved by real leadership, and real leaders are authentic, possess self-knowledge and humility. These are the qualities of a true leader as reflected in the words of Douglas MacArthur: “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”
The roof is on fire and the PDM is playing follow the leader. Ministers and other elected PDM representatives are going along uncritically with the imperial leadership style of the Premier and dancing to her beat. Leaders who exercise power and authority responsibly do not command; they help people identify what changes are required in their principles, behaviors, performances and priorities to accommodate changing conditions and embrace new demands. But, the Premier’s style of leadership is ineffective and dangerous. It portrays cowardice, insecurity and a lack of empathy. It hinders people’s ability to anticipate and react to changing circumstances.
But then again, the current state was predictable from the onset of the many absurd promises outlined in the PDM’s manifesto. These seem to have been based on astrology – the divination of outcomes rather than objective achievable output. This is obvious from the PDMs obsession with numerology reflected in the “Change Document”, which reads like a child’s wish list at Christmas time. The numerous repetitive “flights of fancy” are, broadly speaking, included under the four broad headings below:
- 20 Anchor projects for real change
- 10 Pillars for Change
- 12-Point law enforcement priorities
- 10 Institutions and Infrastructure For Real and Meaningful Change.
I encourage every thinking voter to find the Change Document on the internet and read it now having the benefit of 20:20 vision and discover the pile of ‘cockamamie’ it is. Understandably, in the heat of the moment and after a period of necessary austerity under the PNP to upright the economy, the rhetoric of the PDM must have sound like an utopian redemption. But what appeared to be an ushering in of utopia has turned out to be “fool’s gold”- a mirage in the desert. Alas, it was the PNP’s courageous decisions that laid the foundation upon which the PDM would attempt to overlay its faulty pillars that continues to power the economy. The four corners of that foundation are, annual economic growth of 4+%; dissolution of $170m debt in record time; BBB+ credit rating; and increased investor confidence which remains strong despite the machinations of the PDM against sound economic principles, and whimsical actions in contradiction to their campaign promises. It is useful to draw the public’s attention to their ten pillars as a measure of their performance. They are listed below and reflects some of the most egregious failures of any political manifesto. You be the judge.
- The promise of Citizen and Community Empowerment for Real Change.
Under which the promise of safe neighborhoods; stamp and import duty rebates to assist first time homeowners; bank mortgage forgiveness and moratorium on foreclosures; equal pay legislation; streamline Labour and Immigration for efficiency and partnership with the private sector for job creation and training; increase caregiving assistance to the sick and elderly; poverty eradication; after school support to single parents; and a pension fund for hospitality workers.
- Border Control, Security, Law and Order
A comprehensive national security strategy with major focus on border protection, immigration controls and crime prevention; 12-point crime plan; oversight of policing under a commission; develop a Chinese investment policy; will ensure that there is adequate funding to ensure that the persons serving custodial sentences receive the best care and rehabilitative opportunities.
- Jobs and Economy
Creation of a Jobs Policy; promote “shop locally” in support of the Agri Industry; encourage the development of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) through a designated desk; encourage and develop a maritime tourism plan that will facilitate the sailing and yachting community; conduct comprehensive fishing industry review; promote and sponsor local music production, marketing and distribution; review the reserved business categories and empower the Public Service to police it to ensure compliance with the Laws; pre-approve concessions designated Special Development Areas (SDAs); provide legislative and other support for greater participation and protection of TC Islanders in the construction and music industries; introduce a stimulus package that seeks to provide immediate jobs
- Progressive Youth Development
Youth – Better You Program that will have at its heart national volunteer service; encourage entrepreneurship in the schools’ curriculum; reintroduce the Sports Commission; reintroduce the TCI National Track & Field Championships between the Islands.
- Education Transformation and Training
Transform the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College into the leading National Institution for training, education and research; improve the administration of education by training nationals in educational management; ensure that all schools have proper sporting facilities; support the introduction of a Teacher Liaison Program in all schools throughout the Islands; introduce the teaching of Civics at all educational levels.
Address the major challenge of access to healthcare and will recognize groups that currently already use the services, those who require special consideration and the apparent restrictive NHIP registration policy; redevelop and refocus healthcare in the TCI beginning with Primary Health Care and preventative measures.
- Environment, Land use and Planning
Return responsibility of land management to an elected official; introduce sustainable funding for protection of the environment; introduce a comprehensive national anti-litter campaign styled the “Spic and Span Program” and will assist in the management of the environment through alternative sentencing measures; commission and complete an environmental awareness audit; upgrade environmental legislation consistent with 21st century needs; develop and implement a sustainable National Physical Development Plan; complete the Crown Land Audit; develop and implement an environmental culture archive.
- Infrastructure, housing and Planning
A comprehensive national drainage plan; create Public Zones for free Wi-Fi; a comprehensive review of the Port Management and Ports area country wide; proper road safety database and management system; a Public Transportation Authority/Department which will oversee personal cabs and bus services for residents.
- Institutions for Real Change
Erect a purpose-built community college and vocational and hospitality training school; high performance sports complex and culture centre; The Heritage and Cultural Commission with a multiculturalism department to assist in the management of the many cultures living among us; a Sports Commission for the effective and efficient management of sports in these Islands.
Stronger governmental systems through constitutional advancement and strong local government; a national symposium to create a national plan/vision; seek immediately to commission a review of the physical working condition of civil servants and will prepare an aggressive repairs plan to improve the physical working conditions of the civil service; a review of the compensation package offered to Civil Servants is a priority to a PDM administration; will implement policy to ensure that there is a structured performance appraisals program for promotion and training; hold structured periodic meetings with civil service; immediately commission a review of the physical working condition of civil servants and prepare an aggressive repairs plan to improve the physical working conditions of the civil service.
We make commitments to others all the time. However, sometimes circumstances over which we have no control prevent us from keeping some promises. What is unacceptable is knowingly making promises that cannot be kept or worse, that we have no intention of keeping. It really boils down to how many promises one knowingly breaks, and how one responds when one is unable to deliver on an achievable promise. Failure to keep our promises is a clear and unequivocal reflection of our view of the recipients of those broken promises. It is especially egregious for someone in public office to break promises made to followers. It speaks to the trustworthiness or lack thereof of the leader. “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” Matthew 12:37. The PDM administration has broken just about every promise in its 2016 manifesto, especially those it promised to deliver within the first 100 days in office. The PDM administration needs to show some respect for the electorate, admit its failure, explain why and apologise for those broken promises to date and for those promises which it knows by now is unrealistic and unachievable. An unachievable promise is a comfort to fool. The people of the Turks and Caicos deserve better.
Press Release: Leader of the Opposition