#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.
CANARI outlines climate priorities ahead of Cop28
The Caribbean Natural Resources Institute (CANARI) informed that the Caribbean Climate Justice Alliance, in preparation for the upcoming annual COP28 in 2023, launched its “Caribbean Climate Justice and Resilience Agenda,” outlining the priorities for climate justice and resilience in vulnerable Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS).
In a press release, CANARI highlighted that the agenda recognizes the major threat of climate change to the region as well as aims to louden the voices of the at-risk groups “on the frontlines of the climate crisis and catalyze actions for climate justice and local resilience in the Caribbean SIDS.”
The priorities stated under the agenda are:
- Curbing emissions to limit global temperature
increase to 1.5 ̊C
- Scaling up locally-led solutions for adaptation and
loss and damage
- Improving access to and delivery of climate finance
for frontline communities, small and micro enterprises, and civil society organizations as part of a ‘whole of society’ approach
- Scaling up just, nature-based solutions for resilience
- Supporting a just transition for pro-poor, inclusive,
sustainable and resilient development
- Promoting gender equity and social inclusion
approaches to climate action
- Promoting youth and intergenerational equity as
core to the climate response
- Integrating a rights-based and earth-centered
approach in addressing all these priorities and ensuring climate justice
The at-risk groups referred to in the release include small-scale farmers and fisherfolk, rural women producers, income-poor people, elderly and disabled people, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, migrants, and LGBTQIA+ people.
Being cognizant of the severity of the effects of climate change on the Caribbean, CANARI referred to the fact that the very existence of the region is on the line.
“If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated and global temperature exceeds 1.5 ̊C, the impacts of rising sea levels, more intense hurricanes, rainfall variability, ocean acidification, and other changes threaten the very existence of our way of life in the Caribbean and other SIDS that have contributed the least to global emissions.”
CARICOM Sec Gen speaks on Gender Based Violence
“Everyone must continue to invest in preventing violence against our women and girls (VAWG). It is an investment in our shared future,” were the words of Dr. Carla N. Barnett, CARICOM Secretary-General, as she reiterated the need for solutions against VAWG.
She called attention to VAWG as she gave a speech surrounding the annual campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which runs from November 25 to December 10, 2023.
Barnett expresses the well-known fact that VAWG is one of the most prevalent issues affecting all corners of society.
“VAWG remains one of the most pervasive forms of human rights violations in the world and cuts across all races, cultures, genders, and educational backgrounds,” she maintained, as she continued to point out the sad reality that this is still a major issue despite regional and global policies.
“Despite the existence of regional and global policies and legislation to combat VAWG, weak enforcement and discriminatory practices remain significant barriers to ending VAWG.”
The Secretary-General highlighted statistics for VAWG, bringing attention to how serious and embedded this issue is in society.
She said that globally, 736 million women—nearly one in three—have experienced violence—physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or even both.
For the Caribbean region, she said surveys conducted between 2016 and 2019 inform us that one in two women experience intimate partner violence, which is higher than the global average.
In continuation, Barnett expressed that the campaign calls everyone to action against VAWG, including “development partners, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, youth, the private sector, and the media.” Also, world governments are being asked to share how they are investing in gender-based violence prevention.
Ending her address, the Secretary-General urged everyone to wear the color orange for the duration of the campaign, as well as on the 25th of each month, “as a symbol of hope for a brighter future where women and girls live free from violence.”
Sea Patrol Vessels Approved by Cabinet, October 11 Meeting
#TurksandCaicos, November 25, 2023 – Her Excellency the Governor, Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, chaired the 26th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday, 11 October 2023 at the Governor’s Office, Providenciales.
All Members were present except the Hon. Josephine Connolly.
- Approved the Consultation Report on the Proposed Amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islands Immigration Ordinance with amendments and agreed for the amended document to be brought back to Cabinet for final approval for onward submission to the House of Assembly.
- Approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) and Geta Crew Holding Ltd. for a mixed use development project on the island of Grand Turk, with the view of entering into a Development Agreement as per the Encouragement of Development Ordinance and the National Investment Policy.
- Approved the renewal of rental lease agreement, for various Government offices, between TCIG and Waterloo Property Management, Grand Turk.
- Approved the awarding of the following contracts:
- PN 005694, TR 23/13, Furniture and Equipment for NJS Francis Building; and
- PN 005696, TR 22/10, Purchase of Patrol Vessels.
- It noted the update from Her Excellency the Governor regarding the upcoming visit of UK Ministers to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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