Turks and Caicos demand self-rule

isters, the Guyana-based CARICOM headquarters said in a statement last weekend that leaders are extremely concerned about the continuing disenfranchisement of islanders by “the imposition of direct rule” from London, as they demanded a return to self-rule and democracy.

“This recent disquieting development reinforces the view of the community that the imposition of direct rule is totally at odds with the development of good governance, including improved fiscal and administrative management, in the Turks and Caicos Islands – the professed aim of the policy of the British government,” the CARICOM statement said.

“That objective cannot be met by the continued disenfranchisement of their inalienable right to shape their own future, nor by the artificial widening of the voter base.”

Britain has in the past year dismissed the island’s elected cabinet, calling it corrupt and wasteful. The TCI is an associate member of CARICOM and one of Britain’s five remaining colonies in the Caribbean.

General elections were due by July 2011, but CARICOM said the continuing stance of Britain will result in delays in returning to constitutional government, one of the complaints of London when it re-imposed direct rule.

“Good political and fiscal governance cannot be handed down. Its nature and contours have to be molded by the people of the territory,” the statement from regional leaders said.

“The community therefore once again calls for direct rule to be replaced by self rule and for a return to democracy for the people of the Turks and Caicos” it added.

The controversy has its genesis in allegations from its British colonizer that the cabinet there, including former premier Mike Misick, was corrupt and had engaged in illegal land transactions to friends and family.

The highly flamboyant Misick resigned early last year, giving London the opportunity to suspend much of the constitution and self governance.

The island chain near the Bahamas with a population of just around 30,000 is a popular tourist destination for the wealthy and rakes in a decent sum from the offshore finance industry.

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