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TCI: Court Justice reports: Votes Must Count; Two Candidates rank higher, but General Election results unchanged



#TurksandCaicos, June 10, 2021 – Two All Island Candidates got more votes than the final, official results showed and while this will not change the outcome of the general election, it does change how each person finished historically.  Both Jamell Robinson, an all island candidate on the PNP ticket and Karen Malcolm, an all island candidate for the PDM have moved up in placement because a block of voters were left out and off of their final tally.  This was concluded by Justice Carlos Simons, QC who accepted the request of the Governor to review the complaints of not one, but two candidates from the February 19 national poll.

“…His Excellency the Governor asked me to undertake this effort. Summarizing his email correspondence of 26 April and surrounding conversations, he noted the key objectives to be: a) Maintaining public confidence in the accuracy of the electoral process; b) Understanding the details that underpin Hon. Robinson’s complaint and whether and what remedy is/was available, and if there were courses of action open to him under the Ordinance that he could or should have utilized to ensure that this late challenge was not needed; and c) Produce a Report on this basis or any other basis necessary as befitting a matter touching and concerning the Constitution and the democratic process. 10. A day later His Excellency brought to my attention a similar complaint from Hon. Karen Malcolm and asked that I widen the scope of my inquiry to include that, to which I agreed,” outlined Simons in his report, which was made public on June 8, 2021.

 Justice Simons said Turks and Caicos was fortunate, this time around that the discrepancies in tallies for the concerned candidates did not change the overall election results, but strongly advises that changes be made and recommendations taken on how to ensure this never happens again. 

“We are lucky that in neither case was the diminishment of votes sufficient to affect the overall result of the election for either candidate or for their Parties. And in the absence of any evidence of fraud, it seems to me the proper response would be to see how the system can be made less vulnerable such human errors in the future. Before we go there however, I have been asked to consider what remedies the candidates might have availed themselves of under the Ordinance.”

Simons, a former candidate himself said what was most bothersome to him was that voters who would have wanted their voice to be heard in their selection of a candidate would have been missed out, had the candidates not questioned their individual and cumulative results. 

“The entitlement to vote is provided for by s. 55 (5) of the Constitution and s. 10 of the Ordinance. The issue in play in both cases here is important because each miscounted vote, or uncounted vote represents a denial, or at least a distortion of the electors’ right to choose their representatives in the House of Assembly. The fact that the numbers by which the votes of these two candidates were under reported were not sufficient to affect the overall outcome is not relevant to this fundamental consideration.”

In the case of Karen Malcolm, who was on her second run as an at large candidate; her final results after ballot counting left out all of the people who voted for her in North and Middle Caicos or ED4.  All 39 of the votes cast were left off the tally.  It takes her from the recorded 2,491 votes nationally to 2,530; she finishes in sixth place and as the top performing People’s Democratic Movement candidate; a step up from second. 

In the case of Jamell Robinson, he was shorted 82 votes and the shortfall came in The Bight, ED6.  It makes Robinson, as he had claimed, the second best performing candidate not just for the Progressive National Party but overall; falling second to Washington Misick, with his now confirmed 3,500 votes. 

The Governor in releasing the full report concludes that he accepts the findings and conclusions; explaining Justice Simons did the work pro bono.

“I accept all of his conclusions and recommendations as do the Candidates and the Supervisor of Elections.

Of importance to the two ‘All Island Candidates’, and to those who voted for them in two electoral districts, Justice Simons concludes that: Honourable Jamell Robinson and Honourable Karen Malcolm both polled more votes in ED6 and ED4 respectively than were recorded in the final election results.  The accompanying conclusion is also important because had those additional votes impacted the election results, then the impact would be significant.  That conclusion is however that the number of votes made no difference to the election result, in either case,” said the Governor in his statement on the Election Discrepancies Report.

Suggestions have been made by both Robinson and Malcolm on what “guard-rails” could be established to avoid any repeat and “These improvements will therefore be incorporated by the Supervisor of Elections in future elections,” advised Governor Dakin. 

The Governor reiterated, there was no election fraud and that electoral law is uninterested in the ranking of the five all island candidates; only that the top five finishers be counted as members of the House of Assembly and in this case, fortunately, all five of them are.

“In terms of whether the official election result – in terms of numbers polled – can be retrospectively changed, the answer is that it cannot. As far as electoral law is concerned, the Ordinance is entirely uninterested in the relative ranking of ‘All Island Candidates’ save to say they are either in the top five, or they are not.  They win or they lose. They gain a place in the House of Assembly or they do not.  While Justice Simons does not say it, the fact that such rankings may or may not be important in terms of internal party considerations, is not the concern of the law nor, therefore, the Supervisor of Elections or the Courts who must be guided by it. Justice Simons explains in his report the error made no difference to the election result, and that is all the Elections Ordinance seeks to achieve,” explained HE Nigel Dakin in his June 8 statement.  

Bahamas News

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



#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

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Caribbean News

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



#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



#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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