TCI News

TCI: Josephine Connolly – My Farewell Speech

#Grand Turk, January 31, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – Thank you for the indulgence Mr. Speaker in allowing me to address this house in a personal explanation.

Mr. Speaker I became involved in politics late in life. I did not have a history of active political activism being content to run my business and leave the running of the country to those who were prepared to deal with the challenges of running for public office. Politics as we used to call it.

But by 2012, Mr. Speaker, I had become so frustrated by what I saw as the continuing mistakes of successive governments both PDM and PNP I felt that if I thought I could help my country I should at least try. Stop complaining about the darkness, but light a candle as the leader of the opposition would say.

Mr. Speaker my message struck a chord with the public because despite being a political novice I was elected in 2012 and served as a loyal member of the opposition for four years.

In 2016 I was elected as the second all Island member and was appointed Minister of Education in the new PDM government.  I had I believed finally reached a point where I could do some good. Unfortunately my tenure in cabinet office was short and I believe it was always meant to be short.  During my time in politics I have always spoken my mind, I am too old and experienced to be bullied or intimidated by fast loud talk.  I believe that as the people voted me into office, then my first loyalty is to the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands.

As disappointed as I was and as unfair I thought my dismissal I stayed loyal to the party and those who voted for me. I did not leave the party, but stayed a loyal back bencher.

Mr. Speaker I hoped as an independent member I could speak freely and keep the elected government to their election promises.  But it has become obvious to me that it is difficult, if not impossible, for an independent member to significantly influence government for the betterment of the people of the Turks & Caicos Islands.  In fact as an independent member I seemed to have attracted more than my fair share of criticism.  The recent orchestrated social media campaign against me, was meant to discourage me and spread strife and disharmony.  Mr. Speaker as an aside I would just like to thank the many people of the Turks & Caicos Islands who have contacted me to say “do not be discouraged” your support is incredibly heartening.

Mr. Speaker I am of the view that this campaign says more about the authors and Mr. Speaker I intend to follow the words of my friend Michelle Obama….when the internet trolls go low I go high.

Mr. Speaker I no longer believe I can help my people as an independent member of the House of Assembly.  The profusion of bad news from last week, the riots in the jail, the continued incursion onto our shores by illegal migrants and the announcement that the biggest employer on the Island is closing down tells me that our people desperately need help.  And Mr. Speaker let me repeat that was just last week’s bad news.

To help our people I need to surround myself with a team of individuals who respect each other’s strengths and do not fall into the trap of the personality cult and most importantly focus on the needs of the people of this country not the latest Facebook post.

I have decided therefore Mr. Speaker to join the Official Opposition.  I will now take my rightful place in this Honorable House.

 

Thank you Mr. Speaker.

 

 

 

 

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