Turks and Caicos to go to polls in November
(CNS): The UK’s Foreign Secretary has confirmed that the Turks and Caicos Islands will have a democratic general election in November. After three years of direct British rule, imposed as a result of a corruption scandal relating to the Misick administration, the UK government says sufficient progress has been made on the milestones it set as a path back to democracy to warrant setting an election date. William Hague revealed in the UK’s House of Commons Tuesday that the election will be on 9 November this year. He also said Britain was committed to ensuring the corruption in TCI never happened again, there or anywhere else in its territories.
Hague pointed out some of the provisions now in place to “safeguard good governance and sound financial management”, including a revised elections ordinance for clear and robust voting procedures.
“The Conduct of Political Parties Ordinance regulates funding of political parties and campaigns, campaign methods and accounting practices,” Hague told the British parliament. “The Integrity Commission Ordinance increases the number of those required to give personal and financial data about their interests.”
He said changes to the Public Financial Management system, an independent audit office and a chief finance officer would enable the UK government to retain sufficient control over public finances and protect the interests of the UK as loan guarantor.
Listing various other changes still to come, the foreign secretary also pointed to the progress made in the corruption investigation.
“Thirteen people, including four former Ministers, have been charged with corruption and money laundering offences. An international arrest warrant has been issued for former Premier Michael Misick. It is now for the courts to decide whether the persons charged are guilty. The investigations and prosecutions will proceed independently of a future elected government,” he added.
Hague also pointed to changes regarding the management of crown land as this had been at the heart of the corrupt practices described in Sir Robin Auld’s 2009 Commission of Inquiry report.
“The new Crown Land Ordinance which came into effect in March sets out clear criteria for the allocation of Crown Land. To ensure the new arrangements for Crown Land are implemented successfully, the management of Crown Land has moved to the Attorney General’s Chambers.
The UK government believes seven of the eight milestones have been clearly met, and although the final fiscal milestone has not yet been achieved, Hague said the FCO was confident that the budgeted surplus would soon be reached.
“Over the next few months, in the run up to elections, the interim government will continue with the implementation and consolidation of reforms, in particular to strengthen the public sector and public finances, develop the economy, modernise legislation and make practical preparations to enable the elections to take place,” he said.
“The UK believes that democracy, whether in an independent country or in an Overseas Territory, provides a solid foundation on which to build an accountable and responsive state,” the FCO boss added.
He spoke of the need to support TCI to develop its democracy in line with the UK’s responsibility for security and good governance. “I want to make clear this government’s determination to ensure that there is no repeat of the maladministration that led to the suspension of democratic government in TCI, either there or in any other British overseas territory,” Hague warned.
See Hague’s full statement to the UK parliament below.
|WMS 12-06-12 The Turks and Caicos Islands.pdf||80.7 KB|
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