Turks & Caicos Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing of the Progressive National Party (PNP) is hoping for another term. (ICN image)
By NAN Contributor
News Americas, PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos, Weds. Dec. 14, 2016: Voters in the Turks and Caicos Islands will go to the polls on Thursday, December 15, 2016 to elect a new government.
Three parties are vying to lead the country including the ruling Progressive National Party (PNP) led by Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing. The other contenders are Leader of the Opposition People`s Democratic Movement (PDM) Sharlene Cartwright Robinson and the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) Oswald Skippings.
The three on December 5th participated in a pre-election debate, only the second ever in the TCI, according to local media reports.
Robinson said her party is focused on cleaning up what she claims is the financial mess created by the current PNP administration while Skippings says his focus is on creating local jobs.
Premier Dr. Ewing says his party pointed to his government’s record of managing the economy by bringing it from deep recesses into surplus and successes. He said that investor confidence in the TCI is at an all-time high, and that InvestTCI has several hundred projects from foreign investors that they are currently processing through the unit.
“That is why this government can firmly sit here on our platform and boast about injecting over $1 billion into the economy in the next four years because we already know what’s on the books,” the Premier said.
Looking to another term, Dr. Ewing promised a referendum on the constitution once PNP is returned to power and to regularize Haitians born in the Turks and Caicos Islands and steer them on a path of citizenship.
The PNP won the last election by eight seats to the PDM seven in 2012.
Meanwhile, former premier, Michael Misick, is running as an Independent At-Large candidate. Misick, who once led the PNP from 2003 to 2009, still faces charges of conspiracy to receive bribes, conspiracy to defraud the government and money laundering. His trial will not end until 2017.
Polling stations island wide will open from 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15th. The Queen is the hereditary head of state in the TCI. The elected Premier is appointed by the governor to serve a 4-year term. In the Legislative Council, 13 members are elected by simple majority in single-member constituencies and 3 members are appointed by the governor, the government, and the opposition. The remaining 3 seats are reserved for the Speaker of the House, the Chief Secretary, and the Attorney General. All members serve 4-year terms. The population of the TCI is put at 51,430 with an estimated 7,337 voters.