#TurksandCaicos, February 22, 2021 – The avalanche styled defeat for the ejected People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) is more than an indictment on the party’s performance as government, it is also an incredible charge issued by the Voters of the territory to the now governing, Progressive National Party (PNP). This fact is not lost on Washington Misick, the new premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands who told the Governor he must get to work quickly.
“We did expect a comfortable majority, but didn’t expect to have such a sweep. It also places a tremendous responsibility upon us. Cleary, the public is going to be expecting a lot very fast, so we look forward to working with you to give you a sense of where are heads are and how we can collaborate together so that we can deliver an efficient service for the people of our Turks and Caicos Islands,” said Washington Misick while sat in the board room of the Governor’s Office in receipt in his instruments of appointment; he was joined by his wife Delthia, new first lady of the islands.
The Governor and Deputy Governor agreed with his sentiments, plegding support for the democratic mandate given the PNP as the new government administration.
“On behalf of the Civil Service of the Turks and Caicos Islands, we commit to work with you and your government to ensure that you are able to deliver on your objectives for the betterment of the people of these islands. Your election has come at a critical time in our islands as we continue to fight the Covid-19 pandemic here in the islands and also as we work towards a complete re-imagination of our economy. So clearly, there is a lot of work that has to be done and my staff are willing, ready and able as you would know – you have worked with them in the past – to assist you and your government,” said Anya Williams, Deputy Governor and head of the Civil Service.
Minutes before, the chant in a different room, the great room at Progress House, the PNP’s headquarters in Providenciales was both a clever and clear and brought comedy to an already elated environment.
“What time is it? It’s 14 to 1! What time is it? 14 to 1!”
The slick saying taking root in a salute to the 14 Progressive National Party candidates elected to serve; only one seat not captured by the PNP in the General Election of Friday February 19, 2021.
The landslide win is resounding assurance that voters have given the PNP four years in governance and the cue for the fourteen elected members of parliament to begin the work which will steer the Turks and Caicos though and out of the economically and socially crippling Coronavirus Pandemic.
Premier Misick said he believes the Sharlene Robinson-led PDM Administration’s tone deaf handling of the crisis cost them electors’ support.
“We have a dynamite team who have been working and I want to tip my hat particularly to the two young men in Wheeland and Blue Hills, said Premier Misick amidst a burst of applause and cheers from party supporters in the room, he added, “I have never seen a woman to work harder than Rachel Taylor. We have a great team; the chairman (Calvin Green) came on early and helped to organize us. We had a lot of training in leaders and other, for our members. Each constituency had a very effective team. I think it boils down to organization,” said the elder statesmen who served from 1991-1995 as Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Three significant upsets in the Providenciales districts of Five Cays, Blue Hills and Wheeland considered PDM strong holds held by strong PDM men were game changing moments. A demonstration of a rejection of the PDM’s Agenda to embrace the PNP’s Citizen’s Contract.
“We organized early. Once we put out our Contract to the people we were very concise, very precise about what it is we wanted to accomplish. I also believe that the government missed an opportunity after Covid-19 to really focus on the best welfare interest of the people of these islands, I think those are the two major issues that created the kind of avalanche that we’ve seen here.”
The press conference was carried live on Facebook, Saturday afternoon shortly before the new Premier and Deputy Premier, joined by their wives and PNP Election campaign manager, Jas Walkin were due to be sworn in at the Office of the Governor.
Erwin EJ Saunders, in his first stint as an elected leader of the Turks and Caicos offered thanks and congratulated all actors in the election day event; describing the process as well-executed by all involved, including the now Opposition PDM.
“We certainly have received a mandate, bigger than we expected. We certainly now need to work for the country. I think it is a huge responsibility and people will be looking for us to work very quickly. So it’s going to be making sure that we get relief to people but based on the country’s finances. The most important thing to do very quickly, is to get an assessment of where we are and to get to what I call, rapid revenue recovery,” said Saunders, with wife Indrani at his side.
Though some 2,100 voters did not turn out to cast ballots in the 2021 General Election, the voter turn-out was strong at 76 percent.
The new cabinet will be sworn in on Wednesday February 24, 2021.
Photo Credit: Newsline TCI
CDB Approves Millions for Regional Improvement such as Health, Education and Poverty
#RegionalDevelopment#CDB, February 28th, 2024 – Projects for the improvement of water, renewable energy, education, health as well as budgetary support for governments in the region, are being financed with an approved USD$461 million by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). Included in the approval are The Bahamas with USD$125 million and Saint Lucia with 43 million. Additionally, as announced in a release from the Bank, climate resilience and poverty reduction will also be prioritized through the funding.
Ali Addresses the Issue of Violent Music in the Region
#CaribbeanMusic#Violence#IrfaanAli, February 28th, 2024 – “As Leaders of this region, we have to take this situation very seriously, and ensure the lyrics of the region, is the lyrics of Bob Marley, the lyrics of positivity and the lyrics of positive living and positive change,” said the president of Guyana Irfaan Ali at the 46th CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting on February 25th, addressing the issue of violent music in the Caribbean region and the influence it has on people’s action.
He speaks against violent lyrics, adding that the region is more than capable of producing music that positively influences people.
According to the American Psychological Association, in reference to a study published in the journal of Personality and Social Psychology, violent lyrics are linked to increased negative emotions and thoughts that can lead to aggression.
Saunders “surprised” by move to Backbench; promises to address the nation this week
#TurksandCaicosIslands, February 28, 2023 – Surprise was one of the main emotions rolling off of E. Jay Sauders, All Island Elected Member, when he spoke to Magnetic Media Tuesday afternoon. The brief phone interview came only minutes after he confirmed to the media around 3 p.m. that he had been removed from his post as Deputy Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands by Washington Misick, TCI Premier.
“I am a bit surprised– I sit here at the pleasure of the Premier, the Premier acted in a certain way and it is his right to decide who he wants and doesn’t want in his cabinet and that’s the position that he took.”
The biggest question now is who will replace Saunders as the Premier’s right hand man, Magnetic Media spoke to a high-profile source around 3:30 pm who told us: “The Premier hasn’t made a decision in that regard as yet so there’s nothing yet to announce.”
It’s likely, the source told us, that the Premier will take on the Ministry of Finance himself, having had experience with that ministry in the past.
Sure enough minutes after that conversation a press release came from the Office of the Premier announcing that he is the new Minister of Finance, Investment and Trade; the statement also bid Saunders goodbye.
“I wish to thank Honourable Saunders for his service these past three years as my Deputy and for his stewardship in the ministries he served,” Misick said.
It comes as no surprise to residents however and a firestorm of comments followed the announcement,
“This is so wrong!!!” said one resident.
It was a sentiment fielded by Magnetic Media over a dozen times.
“He is running this country and this party with his silly feelings. And with Washy age, he need to relax himself.”
Another predicted, “This will hurt the PNP in the next election for sure, plus with the current conflict of interest matter pending with Washy and the Integrity Commission, this was not the best move at this time for him to be both Premier and Minister of Finance.”
The booting is the second high-profile shuffle in the Washington Misick-led PNP Administration following the removal of Akierra Missick, Elected Member for Leeward from her post as Minister of Physical Planning and Infrastructure Development in 2023.
That shakeup went totally without explanation, similarly, no explanation has come from the Premier’s office this time either, but it follows a leadership challenge at the party’s national convention just days prior.
Saunders had attempted to go against Misick for the head of the PNP party but could not get enough votes to push the challenge through.
As a former CEO of DigicelTCI, E. Saunders initially served as the Health and Human Services minister as the country clawed its way back to health after a brutal Coronavirus Pandemic. He was then appointed, by Misick, to the ministry for Finance, Investment and Trade, setting and achieving lofty goals including the achievement of a $400 million yearly revenue two years into his tenure and the removal of the Turks and Caicos from the EU Blacklist of non-compliant tax jurisdictions.
Now with one year left before a new general election is called, Saunders, in his own words, will join the rest of the backbench of politicians.
Also feeling the “stick” is reported to be Jas Walkin, the man Washington Misick appointed to lead his winning general election campaign in 2021. Walkin had put his name forward for party leader but hurriedly withdrew it. Reports of a suspension have been shared via social media with residents expressing disdain at the possibility.
The consensus from many, they’re not surprised and also not happy about the removal of Jas.
For now, Saunders is focused on moving,
“Depending on how quickly I can get through the packing up of my office, I’ll do a Public Address tomorrow, but no later than Wednesday,” he promised.
The demotion also means a significant pay cut for Saunders from the Deputy Premier’s $175,000 base salary and $60,000 in allowances to the $97,000 base salary and $10,200 in allowances which is paid out to Members of the House of Assembly, where he will continue to serve as an All Island Elected member.
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