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IFES Statement on TCI Elections: ‘Successfully Conducted During Challenging COVID-19 Pandemic’



FULL STATEMENT:  An independent team of elections experts from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) conducted an in-person technical observation and assessment of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ (TCI) February 19, 2021, general elections. This included a range of in-person and virtual consultations, and individual visits to all polling stations throughout TCI with the exception of South Caicos Island. This represented 30 of the 33 polling stations set up in Providenciales, North Caicos, Middle Caicos and Grand Turk. IFES also monitored traditional and social media around the election and its aftermath.

The House of Assembly consists of 19 members, 15 of whom are elected and four appointed. Of the 15 elected members, 10 are elected to represent geographic districts in 10 single-member constituencies, while five members are elected in a single “All Islands” district. In 2021, 47 candidates (nine female and 38 male) contested these 15 seats.

The 2021 elections were conducted following recent legislative reforms in December 2020, and in the midst of a COVID-19 spike on TCI. Despite these challenges, the election administration authorities developed and implemented successful protocols to reduce potential exposure and/or transmission of the virus, and to improve the efficiency of the polling process (for example, by breaking voters into separate stations based on the first letter of their last name, and by dedicating two hours at the start of Election Day to “vulnerable and other priority electors” who could be assisted as needed). Election authorities also conducted extensive poll worker training, including around health protocols, which contributed to the safe and smooth running of the elections.

An Elections Oversight Committee chaired by TCI Governor Nigel Dakin brought together different parts of the government, including health authorities, to discuss and resolve challenges around election preparations during the pandemic. This is viewed as a best practice for these elections generally and should be continued. Consideration could also be given to establishing additional consultations and resolution mechanisms with political stakeholders.

Polling stations were adequately staffed throughout the long polling hours, and election workers carefully implemented COVID-19 mitigation measures. Some minor inconsistencies and variations in application of procedures were observed in some polling stations, but party agents were present in all polling stations visited and generally reported satisfaction with the polling process and the officials administering it. Some polling stations opened slightly late but stayed open late to compensate. Some polling stations included accessibility measures such as adjustable polling booths and ramps, but voters who have low vision or are blind, deaf or hard-of-hearing may have required assistance. Election administrators went to significant lengths to enfranchise prisoners who were eligible to vote.

The distribution of polling sites across TCI, including in areas with very small numbers of voters, was a positive reflection of the election administration authorities’ commitment to ensuring all registered voters had an opportunity to cast a ballot.

These elections saw widespread use of social media by both political parties and independent candidates to campaign, given restrictions on gatherings and curfews. This resulted in more direct appeals that may have been more effective and efficient at reaching more voters. Undecided voters could attend virtual rallies at will. Both political parties maintained active social media campaigns and hosted virtual campaign events. However, disinformation was prevalent throughout the campaign, including via fake WhatsApp messages that spread quickly.

The right to vote is set in the Constitution and is dependent upon reaching the age of 18, being resident in TCI, and being a Turks and Caicos Islander. This latter qualification means that out of an estimated population of approximately 43,000 people, only 8,581 are eligible to select members of the House of Assembly. This is a challenge that will be further elaborated in IFES’ final election assessment report.

While health concerns dampened the usual festive mood around Election Day, there was an atmosphere of quiet confidence and respect for the electoral process throughout the day. Stakeholders had earlier reported confidence in the process established to address any tensions or disputes that might arise during or after Election Day. This confidence was reflected in the relatively strong voter turnout of just over 75 percent. There were a few requests for recounts in constituencies; however the general air of cordiality that characterized the process throughout the day continued. Final results were announced on February 20.

This statement is preliminary and not conclusive. The electoral process will be followed through until conclusion of any potential recounts and/or legal appeals. A final report with recommendations for electoral stakeholders will be submitted to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office by March 31, 2021. IFES wishes to thank all officials and stakeholders who assisted with the mission and took time to engage with us.


Register of Interests of the Members of the House of Assembly 



#TurksandCaicos, September 29, 2023 – The Integrity Commission advises that the Register of Interests for Members of the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022 has been completed.

Members of the House of Assembly are required by the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution, Section 103(2), and the Integrity Commission Ordinance (the Ordinance), as amended, Section 52(1), to file with the Commission, Statements of Registrable Interests.  The Commission would, therefore, like to inform members of the public that, it has compiled the information contained in these Statements of Registrable Interests and has produced The Register of Interests 2022 for the Members of the House of Assembly, as at 31st December 2022.

The Register of Interests 2022 is now available for public inspection at the following locations:

  1. House of Assembly in Grand Turk
  2. Office of the Premier – Grand Turk and Providenciales
  3. Office of the Integrity Commission – Grand Turk and Providenciales (during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm from Mondays to Thursdays and 8:00am to 4:00pm on Fridays.)
  4. Office of the District Commissioner – Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Salt Cay and South Caicos.

The Register can be viewed at these locations during normal working hours or at a time that is convenient for the respective offices.

For further information or any assistance please contact the Integrity Commission:

By telephone at:  946-1941(Grand Turk Office) or 941-7847 (Providenciales Office) By e-mail at: or

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Bahamas News

Grand Bahama to be CARGO HUB, as Bahamas & Qatar ink MOU 



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer

#TheBahamas, September 29, 2023 – With moves to deepen ties, governments of The Bahamas and Qatar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to solidify agreements in principle surrounding the development of aviation and other related services.

This is according to Chester Cooper, The Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister and Minister  of Tourism, Investment and Aviation in a Facebook post.

This comes after The Bahamas Government in a press release on September 24th, revealed that Cooper,  was set to meet with the head of Qatar Airways to have talks regarding “multiple mutually beneficial aviation opportunities for both countries.”

The release also said the deputy prime minister and the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Investment and Aviation are working on “forging strategic partnerships with several Middle Eastern countries to strengthen ties to The Bahamas and the Caribbean,” and this new signing is indicative of such efforts.

Following the September 25th signing, on September 27th, Kenneth Romer, Deputy Director General  of Tourism for The Bahamas informed via Facebook some details of the agreement saying, “we have now established a framework for cooperation and formed strategic partnerships with Qatar Airways, Qatar’s Transport, Aviation and Investment Agencies and The Qatar Aeronautical Academy, that will benefit our country.”

Regarding further efforts for the improvement of The Bahamas, Cooper announced on Facebook again on Tuesday September 26th that both countries are working  to make Nassau a passenger hub for Latin America and the Caribbean adding that talks are being held for Grand Bahama as a cargo hub.

Additionally, as the press release informed, Cooper is preparing for an on ground visit of Bahamasair domestic operations by Qatar Airways Technical team sometime in October.

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Caribbean News

Guyana to build regional food hub



Rashaed Esson

Staff Writer


#Guyana, September 29, 2023 – Guyana is making moves to become the primary food production center for the Caribbean, going ahead with plans to develop a USD$14 million regional food hub.

In fact, as reported by the Observer, the facility has already been identified on the country’s Soesdyke /Linden Highway.

Guyana seems to really want this to become a reality and Zulfikar Mustapha, Agriculture Minister, expressed this, highlighting what Guyana has over its Caribbean sister Islands.

“We want Guyana to be the food hub, the primary production hub of the Caribbean so that we could supply the Caribbean.  What we have, our colleagues in the Caribbean don’t have.  We have arable flat land and abundant fresh water,” he said, adding that with the multi-million dollar US investment, the country can, “modernise the infrastructure, and start ramping up the productions.”

Also, the Agriculture Minister pointed out that the project is geared to make for a more competitive local Agriculture industry as well as developing high-yielding varieties, pest-resistant and climate-resilient varieties.

Additionally, in the facility’s development, Guyana, Mustapha said, will work with Belize.

In fact, with more on Belize’s involvement, Dr. Ashni Singh,  Finance Minister, informed that the Government is in talks with the Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley about sourcing inputs from northern Brazil and transporting them through Guyana to Barbados and vice versa.

Singh also reportedly revealed that the project will help develop the growing logistics industry in Guyana.

Considering regional food import cost, with this development, Guyana is the leading Caribbean Community country pushing ahead with plans to reduce the multi-billion dollar regional food import bill by 25 per cent by 2025, the Observer says.

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