Turks and Caicos faces more political problems

| 10/03/2013

(CNS): A planned bye-election in the Turks and Caicos Islands set for 22 March in the Cheshire Hall district as a result of a successful legal challenge has been thrown in question after the former holder of the seat missed a crucial disclosure deadline to the country’s integrity commission ahead of the poll. TCI Acting Attorney General Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles has also announced that five other legal actions will be filed in the courts in connection with sitting members of the House of Assembly who she said should be challenged under section 53(2) of the Constitution for not declaring contracts they have with the TCI government.

In a statement released on Friday afternoon, the acting attorney general revealed that she was challenging the veracity of the declaration made by Amanda Missick, the PNPcandidate for the upcoming by-election in the Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill Electoral District, as she too had failed to declare a contract with government before the required deadline.

Missick had won the seat but when one of the candidates was disqualified, a bye-election was called because that candidate had polled more votes than the difference between Missick, who won the seat, and the opposition member who came in second. Oral Selver, who lost the seat by only 30 votes, successfully argued that, had the disqualified candidate's votes gone to him, he could have won the seat.

Alongside the challenge against Missick, the actingtop attorney in the country said she believed several other sitting members of the TCI parliament were not qualified to be elected and challenges were filed in the local courts against George Lightbourne, elected member for the Grand Turk North Electoral District; Edwin Astwood for the Grand Turk, South Electoral District; Delroy Williams for the Wheeland Electoral District, as well as All Islands Members, Derek Taylor and Josephine Connolly.

Braithwaite-Knowles said that each of the members had made their section 50(1) Nomination Day declaration to the Supervisor of Elections but each of them has a contract with the government and all had failed to notify the Integrity Commission, as required by section 49(1)(f) of the Constitution. 

“I have asked the Court to determine whether in each case, the individual is or is not qualified to be an elected member of the House considering the failure to give notice,” she said.  “The Constitution provides for a process for challenge in each of these cases in the public interest.”

If the court determines that each member is disqualified then Missick will not be able to stand for election on 22 March and the sole remaining candidate will be declared elected. In the case of the sitting members, their seats will be vacated and bye-elections will be called, in which they will all have to stand again to contest their seats.

This month’s bye-election result was critical because if Selver was right and he gained most of the votes that had gone to the disqualified candidate, he would take the seat and with it the government for the opposition PDM. However, as four out of the five candidates being challenged by the acting attorney general are also PDM members, Selver’s election might mean the PDM’s time at the helm of government could be short lived.

Category: World News

Comments (4)

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  1. SKEPTICAL says:

    Absolutely right – we need the same level of oversight and transparency. Do our politicians imagine that important people around the World are unaware of the shit that goes on in Cayman ?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Totally Crap Islands.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good to see the acting Attorney General of the Turks & Caicos enforcing the elections law. She is doing her job unlike the Attorney General of the Cayman Islands, who chose to not enforce the law when candidates (now ministers) in Cayman similarly failed to make declarations in the 2009 elections.