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103 Days since the TCI General Elections; A Review of the Results

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#TurksandCaicos, June 2, 2021 – Only time will tell if the newly elected, Washington Misick-led Progressive National Party government will manage to keep voters as enamoured throughout their term as they were on voting day.  When the dust had settled, the tally revealed that the PNP captured 14 of the 15 electoral districts in a record-setting win for the yellow party on General Election day, February 19, 2021.

The victory is aptly described as an avalanche of a win for the PNP; a second time for Washington Misick as democratically elected leader of the Turks and Caicos Islands and a resounding rejection of the People’s Democratic Movement, led by first woman premier, Sharlene Robinson.

In the Coronavirus pandemic, voter turn-out figures were expected to be lower than in previous years due to the threat of the contagion. In the Turks and Caicos, health protocols established by the Elections Office worked well; no outbreak was reported at any polling station.

Prior to the pandemic, voter apathy was anticipated to be high.  The Elector’s List, which could have swelled to around 10,000 voters grew by only 849 people between the General Elections of 2016 and 2021. 

In the 2016 election, there were 7,732 voters registered. In 2021, there were 8,581 people registered to cast votes.

As Opposition Leader, Charles Washington Misick dismissed the narrative of voter disinterest and it seems he was onto something.  The 2021 slate of candidates for the PNP proved to be attractive; drawing 55 per cent of the popular vote in the constituencies and taking all five of the All Island seats in the at-large category.

What the Polls Reveal

Turks and Caicos Elections Office at this stage does not categorise voters who are voting.  While demographically there is a break down in voters by sex, age and residential district; there is no dissection or distinction of voters at polling time. 

What we do know, in reviewing the official results published on February 21, 2021 is 2,121 voters were a no-show.  One quarter of the voters stayed home; leaving the job of deciding the political future of the Turks and Caicos to 6,460 people or 22 per cent of the overall population of the islands.

We also know that voter turn-out was lowest in Blue Hills, with 65 per cent participation; a staggering 349 voters did not turn out.

Here, Randy Howell of the PNP ended a two-term run for Goldray Ewing; and did something which was rare for his party.  He won a PDM stronghold; only the second time in election history – according to CaribbeanElections.com – this had been accomplished by a PNP Candidate.

The Cheshire Hall & Richmond Hill district, which is the most populous constituency, also recorded one of the lowest voter turn-outs at 69 per cent and 407 voters staying home.  Douglas Parnell, former leader of the PDM was topped by Sammy Been; a former MP and Cabinet Minister who had previously won in Grand Turk.

All, but two other electoral districts were in the 70 percentile range when participation was rated.  North and Middle Caicos (ED-4) had the highest voter turn-out at 86 per cent.  South Caicos (ED-3) followed closely with a voter turn-out of 85 per cent. 

Both seats were captured by the Progressive National Party candidates; Arlington Musgrove in Electoral District 4 and John Malcolm in Electoral District 3, respectively. 

The highest participation by voters on the islands of Grand Turk and Providenciales were also to the PNP. 

Grand Turk North, (ED-1) supported Otis Morris on the PNP ticket.  Morris ran in a constituency which had voted for the PNP in the preceding run-off but for George Lightbourne.  Lightbourne departed the PNP months earlier; it was not an amicable parting and one which escalated to litigation over how the new leadership of the PNP was selected; not elected. 

George Lightbourne entered the political fray of the 2021 General Elections as an independent candidate in the All-Island category where he secured the third highest number of votes; 162 behind Courtney Missick, who had 280 votes and Jacqueline Lightbourne who performed best among independents and had 300 votes.  

PNP Sweeps in Provo

Three-time Member of Parliament and a former Deputy Premier; Akierra Missick continued to make a strong impression on her district:  Leeward & Long Bay or ED-5. 

Electoral District 5 had the best turn-out in Providenciales; just under 80 per cent participation with 182 voters missing out. Of the 709 votes cast, Misick secured 460 nods of approval for a third term in the House of Assembly.

In the closest race, which also became the most grueling one for those counting and re-counting the ballots; Electoral District 10 was the biggest upset.

Exit poll interviews exposed that newbie, Kyle Knowles, invigorated younger voters. He had 697 people to sway in the months leading to the General Election.  Not an easy task, as these were electors known for being staunchly and consistently in support of the PDM and its incumbent, Delroy Williams. 

With three voters over his political rival, at least two of whom had turned up in the final hours of the polling day, which closed to Covid-19 free electors at 6 p.m., Knowles pulled off the victory.  It was a complete sweep for the Progressive National Party in Providenciales. 

Although 159 voters did not participate in Wheeland or ED-10, voter turn-out was at 78 per cent, considerably above average.

It concluded with Knowles getting 273 votes to Williams’ 270.

Never before in the history of the islands had a party won so firmly against its contender. 

PNP Party Leader and now Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, C. Washington Misick described the results as a strong show of support for his party, the deep level of disappointment in the now ejected party and a commanding message from the people of the TCI, to get to work.

May 30, 2021 marked 100 days since the February 19 General Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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Bahamas News

Prime Minister Hon. Philip Davis pledges to govern in the interests of all Bahamians

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#TheBahamas, September 19, 2021 – During his ceremonial swearing-in today as the nation’s fifth Prime Minister, Hon. Philip Davis pledged to govern in the interests of all Bahamians and to consult widely with the Bahamian people.

The best way to make progress as a nation is to bring people together, said Prime Minister Davis, who was presented with his instruments of Office in ceremonies held at the Baha Mar Convention Centre, on Saturday 18 September 2021.

Prime Minister Davis was officially sworn in as Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas on Friday 17 September 2021 at the Office of the Governor General.

“We will uphold the constitution and the rule of law, and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, so that it’s not one rule for one set of people, and another for another set of people,” said the Prime Minister.

“There is much work to be done; but I know that by working together we can succeed and build the kind of prosperous, independent Bahamas that our founding fathers dreamed for us.”

Prime Minister Davis said that while there are big challenges ahead for The Bahamas, his team has the right vision and policies to take the country forward.

The Prime Minister said the new administration is coming into office at a time when the Bahamian people are hurting as never before.

The country faces many crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an economy in decline and deeply concerning challenges in education, said Prime Minister Davis.

If everyone works together towards a common purpose, in the common interest and for the common good, great things are possible for The Bahamas and its people, said the Prime Minister.

But no government can do great things on its own, Prime Minister Davis added.

“I am sure that my government can only succeed if we partner with the Bahamian people,” said the Prime Minister.
“We are going to listen, we are going to consult widely and we are going to bring people together.”

_
18 September 2021
Office of the Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
Contact: opmcommunications@bahamas.gov.bs
Website: opm.gov.bs

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Caribbean News

North Caicos man beheaded in what could be TCIs most bizarre murder case yet

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#TurksandCaicos, September 18, 2021 – Explosive talk show host Courtney Misick lost his brother last weekend in a bizarre killing which raised alarm and left residents flabbergasted at the extreme violence, which pointed to a heinous killer being at large in North Caicos.

While police have now made two arrests; giving one suspect bail and holding another on suspicion in the gruesome killing, the pastor, farmer and former election candidate publically questioned the time it took for investigators to arrive at the scene.

He said, in a string of Facebook posts, that it was some six hours before police got there.

Royal TCI Police confirmed the body of the male found in a home in Kew North Caicos; that they got the call at 5:45pm.

“The Police can confirm that the body of a man was found inside a house in Kew, North Caicos and that the body was decapitated. Although formal identification procedures have not yet taken place, the body is believed to be that of 57-year-old old Isaac Missick. The Police are in contact with the next of kin at this difficult time,” informed a Thursday press release.

Rev Misick, at 11:30pm on Saturday posted that investigators from Provo had finally arrived; another team got in on Sunday morning.

Family was disappointed with North Caicos police manpower “wasting hours guarding the crime scene” instead of “looking for Mack-B’s killer.”

Isaac “Mack-B” Missick was beheaded and worst of all, his head could not be found at the scene of the crime.  People were dumbfounded by the monstrous nature of the killing and the family was activated to mount their own hunt for the body part.

There was no success, however, for the family and friends of Mack-B.  Relatives spent the day on Wednesday in Kew battling heat, the blazing sun and swarming mosquitoes in an effort to find the head.

Mack-B’s sister, niece, cousins and eldest son travelled to North from Providenciales determined to give it a try, said Orville Selver, a cousin of the deceased who also described the scope of the search: West of the victim’s house, in the bush from Hall town, to Henfield town, near the house of Mack Bs mother, who died in May this year; on Forbes road and near all the old wells.

The search party which began at 9am fanned out in two groups;” some went on the north side and others went the south side into the deep woods,” he said.

Meanwhile police were questioning two suspects in the case, now ruled a murder.  It is the TCI’s sixth homicide for 2021.

“Today, the Police made an application to the court to seek an extension to the time Officers can keep the arrested man in custody. The court case was adjourned until September 23rd, 2021, during which time the man will be held in police custody. The man arrested on Suspicion of Murder on Sunday, September 12th, 2021, has been released on police bail pending further investigation.”

It will most likely go down as the most gruesome killing in Turks and Caicos history; the beheading of this beloved North Caicos construction worker on Friday or Saturday at his home in Kew.

Our interview of his brother, Rev Missick, unearthed that Mack-B said he had to go home, he did so but never returned to work on Friday September 10.  Upon being missed by some relatives, his cousin set out to check on him and the discovery was gut-wrenching.

Said to be a gory scene as the man, lay on the ground with no head.  While relatives believed the head was at the scene, they later learned that it was missing.

From Police: “This is a very distressing and complex murder that will take time to investigate. However, many specialist Officers are involved in this case, and they are doing everything possible to fully understand the events leading up to this horrific attack. North Caicos is a very close community, and the Police seek their assistance in providing vital information to progress the investigation.”

Isaac Missick, leaves behind a wife and two sons.

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Bahamas News

PRESS RELEASE: Prime Minister Minnis Thanks Bahamians for the Last Four Years

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#TheBahamas, September 18, 2021 – Free National Movement (FNM) Party Leader, Hubert A. Minnis thanked Bahamians for the last four years in tonight’s concession speech:

“Tonight I spoke with Leader of the Progressive Liberal Party Philip Davis and offered my congratulations to him and his party on their victory at the polls.  I offered him my best wishes as his Government now faces the continued fight against COVID-19, and the restoration of our economy.

I would like to thank the tens of thousands of Bahamians from across The Bahamas who voted for Free National Movement candidates.  I also congratulate the FNM candidates who won seats in the House of Assembly.  I am in that number, and again my gratitude goes out to the people of Killarney for making me their representative for the fourth consecutive time.

I will lead the Free National Movement into the House as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.  The Bahamas has a proud democratic tradition.  The people decide who serves as government.  Our party presented its vision for the future to Bahamians from the northern islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco, all the way to the southern islands of MICAL.

The people determined that they preferred the Progressive Liberal Party.  My party and I accept that result.  We are proud of our record the past four-plus years.

During our term we faced the most difficult times in Bahamian history.  In September 2019, Abaco, the Abaco Cays and Grand Bahama were struck by the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.  Hurricane Dorian was one of the strongest storms recorded on our planet.  It caused generational destruction to our northern islands.  Six months later, we were in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout each crisis my Government worked hard to assist the Bahamian people.  On the northern islands we have had to rebuild roads, water systems, schools, docks, bridges and other critical infrastructure.

In the pandemic, we provided tens of millions of dollars per month in food and unemployment benefits to citizens, along with tax credits to businesses.  We fought hard to secure more than half a million doses of three of the best vaccines in the world.

The FNM has a proud legacy.  We have governed The Bahamas over four terms.  Our philosophy is to use the resources of government to provide opportunity to those who have historically been without.  That is why we invested in free preschool, providing early education to thousands of children. That is why we invested in free tertiary education at the University of The Bahamas and BTVI.

That is why we created the Over-the-Hill initiative to benefit people in grassroots communities with tax concessions and development assistance.  That is why we invested record amounts in Family Island infrastructure.  That is why we created the Small Business Development Centre, extending millions of dollars to help Bahamians realize their dreams.

Our belief in the Bahamian people was also evidenced in the manifesto we ran on in this election.  We pledged a Universal School Meals Program, expanded access to afterschool programs, $250 million to Bahamian small businesses over five years, expanded access to Crown Land, support for the arts and agriculture and fisheries, along with many more policies for the people.

We did not win this time.   But I say to the next generation of FNMs that you should stay firm to this party’s founding ideals.  Always put the people first, and be honest in government.

The people have asked us to be the opposition.  We will ensure the people’s resources are spent properly. We will ensure there is accountability.  We will oppose when necessary. We will agree when the Government’s plans are in the best interests of the people.

I thank my wife Patricia and my family for supporting me during this term, and throughout my life.  I also thank the officers, members and supporters of the Free National Movement for their assistance and encouragement during my time as leader.

And to the Bahamian people, I say a warm and heartfelt thank you for my time being your Prime Minister.  You are a strong, hardworking and resilient people.  Hurricane Dorian did not break you. The pandemic has not broken you.

You trust in the God who has brought us this far.  Trust that He will bring us further to brighter times.  Again, thank you. And may God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

 

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