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Over 6,000 All Island Votes up for Grabs; more voters, less candidates

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#TurksandCaicos, February 17, 2021 – There are nearly 900 or 11 percent more voters registered to participate in this upcoming general election and there are many more votes up for grabs, at least 5,000, due to a reduced number of political parties contesting in the 2021 national poll.

Historically, governance in the Turks and Caicos Islands volleys back and forth between the two main political engines:  the People’s Democratic Movement, PDM and the Progressive National Party, PNP. 

Once again, the All Island district is a formidable race with five individuals nominated per party and eight independents offering At Large.

With no PPP or PDA in the picture, and if voter turn-out remains in the 80 percent range, there are  literally thousands of votes available to the candidates hoping to be among the five most popular. 

In 2016, some 29,233 votes were cast in the At Large district or category, of which 5,069 were spent on the 11 candidates nominated either with the PDA (4) or Independent (7).

Leading the All Island candidates for two consecutive general elections was Sharlene Robinson; who in 2016 became the country’s first woman premier.  Robinson, as PDM leader drew 3,204 votes; which was actually 223 votes less than the previous run off in 2012.

Robinson also outdistanced the second finisher in 2012 by more votes than in 2016, where Josephine Connolly was within five votes of the popular Sharlene Robinson.  In 2012, Rufus Ewing was second popular and was bested by Mrs. Robinson with 175 more electors giving her the nod.

In 2016, Josephine Connolly, now starring on the PNP ticket after defecting from the PDM, had lost very little ground with 3,023 votes recorded in 2012 and 3,019 votes in 2016; a mere four point difference.  It reflects a steady showing for Connolly, who is striving for a third term in office.

Hugely popular Derek Taylor slumped between 2012 and 2016 by 451 votes.  Taylor, a former chief minister secured 3,191 votes in 2012 and 2,740 electors supported him in the 2016 election.  The question is, does this senior statesman have what it takes to cross the finish line in at least fifth place to serve again?

Karen Malcolm comes from a mighty clan and this kind of national popularity is believed to have been the main impetus for her in a cushy fourth place overall for All Island in 2016.  It was Malcolm’s first bid for elected office as a PDM candidate, earning 2,725 votes. 

The 2016 fifth All Island Candidate was one of four PNP members who held onto a seat after a crushing defeat to the PDM on December 15 that year. 

Also a former chief minister, Washington Misick suffered a steep fall in popularity securing 772 less votes in 2016, than in the previous election where he was well over 3,000 votes.  Barely getting through with a mere 21 votes over the sixth place finisher, Misick assumed Leader of Opposition business in the House of Assembly with the resignation of Rufus Ewing as PNP Leader.  By 2019, the Progressive National Party returned C. Washington Misick officially to the helm.

 Noteworthy for the PNP is that two of the former independents, who between them secured over 2,400 votes are at the forefront of the 2021 General Election campaign.

Jas Walkin is the PNP’s Campaign Manager; in 2016 Walkin had support from 834 electors. 

Michael Misick, former premier for the PNP had 1,629 voters cast ballots in his support of his bid, though he was embroiled in a corruption trial.  The trial, due to the passing of Justice Paul Harrison earlier this month, is on shaky ground.  Its future will be known by March 1, 2021.

As for which political party will claim victory and steer the Turks and Caicos over the next four years, that is difficult to say.  Grassroots members from both sides contend it will be a landslide in their party’s favor, laced with upsets and shockers. 

Swing voters and more neutral observers agree that it will be a tight race which is threatened both by possible voter apathy and fears linked to Covid-19. 

Turks and Caicos general elections are Friday February 19; polls open from 7am to 9pm with times varying based on island and one’s category as voter.

Photo Caption: TCI Elections office, voter simulation exercise and explainer video 2021.

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RTCIPF Observes World Down Syndrome Day

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On March 21st, 2024, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force joined the international, regional and local communities in observing World Down Syndrome Day. 

Officers showed their support by wearing brightly coloured and mismatched socks to raise awareness. 

The head of the Safeguarding and Public Protection Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police Grantley Williams, Training Manager Mrs Odessa Forbes and Media Relations Officer Denyse Renne visited the SNAP Centre and interacted with the students.

In a message to the TCI community, the RTCIPF noted that stereotypes perpetuate stigma and hinder inclusion, preventing individuals from reaching their full potential. 

Instead, the RTCIPF calls for individuals to foster an environment of acceptance and support where everyone is valued for who they are. 

By breaking down barriers and challenging misconceptions, we can create a more inclusive society where individuals with Down Syndrome are empowered to live fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to their communities and, by extension, the TCI. 

As law enforcement officers, we must protect and serve all members of society, regardless of their abilities. 

Let’s work together to ensure that individuals with Down Syndrome are treated with dignity and respect and that their rights are upheld.

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CARICOM speaks out on Climate Change, looking to May meeting to amplify call for Climate Funding

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March 3, 2024

 

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) remains on the frontlines of global climate crisis, an issue the Region has been aggressively advocating on for the past thirty years. Despite the many commitments and promises of international partners, the window of opportunity to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is rapidly closing.

Heads of Government are concerned that while COP 28 was widely regarded as a historic event, with the completion of the first global stocktake (GST), on progress in achievement of the Paris Agreement goals, the outcomes of GST show that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise and the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of Parties will not keep global temperatures below the 1.5 degree goal enshrined in the Paris Agreement.

Heads of Government also expressed concern to be heading to COP 29 where a New Finance Goal will be articulated to replace the 100bn goal, which has not yet been met, even as developing countries require trillions to deal with the escalating impacts of climate change. Developed country parties have not provided enough finance at scale, technology and capacity building support required to help developing countries tackle their pressing needs to build their resilience, especially in adapting to the adverse and increasingly catastrophic impacts of climate change. The clear absence of definitive timelines for action and quantitative commitments for scaling up of investments, and particularly adaptation finance emerging out of COP 28, cause great concern to our Region.

The Conference noted that Small Island Developing States (SIDS), recognized as the most vulnerable group of countries and a special case for sustainable development, have been facing strong push back against the recognition of their special circumstances especially in the context of climate finance. There is limited international support for special allocations for SIDS within financing arrangements and available climate finance from international and private sources is limited, expensive and too onerous to access.

In light of the preceding, Heads of Government called for CARICOM to take a strategic, unified and coordinated approach to ensure that the Region remains influential in the climate and development arena through engagements with key partners and advocacy groups.

They called for renewed focus by the Region to advocate for inclusion of forests, nature-based solutions and blue carbon into market mechanisms with the aim of articulating clear regional positions and strategies.

Heads of Government reiterated the call for improved readiness programmes, simplified approval procedures, a change to the criteria for determining access to low-cost finance, and for the adoption of programmatic approaches to address the bottlenecks in accessing finance.

The Region reiterates its support for the Bridgetown Initiative’s call to expand capital adequacy of international financial institutions.

Heads recognized that the Fourth International Conference on Small Island Developing States, scheduled to be held in Antigua and Barbuda, 27 – 30 May 2024, will be an inflection point for many of these discussions to be articulated. As such, the Region remains committed to participating in the Conference at the highest level.

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South Caicos Development Plans shared with Washington-Misick led Administration

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On Monday, 12 February 2024, the Premier led a delegation to tour the island of South Caicos to view the ongoing public and private sector projects, involving the remodelling and rebranding of the airport terminals, historical districts, and the East Bay Hotel.

The tour of the various developments reinforced the Government’s commitment to collaborating with stakeholders to boost the island’s activity and economy.

Photos courtesy of the TCI Office of the Premier

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