On the ground in Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), Charlene on Green confirmed today with the office of the Govenor, The Right Honorable Damian Roderic (Ric) Todd, that the TCI, a British Territory and popular tourist destination in the Caribbean, will have its Constitution reinstated on October 15 and elections 30 days thereafter on November 9, 2012. [corrected]
British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced on Tuesday morning, "We now judge there has been sufficient progress, on the milestones and on putting in place robust financial controls, to set 9 November as the date for elections."
More than three years ago, the British Crown overtuned the local mintisterial governement and assumed direct rule over the Territory, and suspended the Islands' Constitution due to alleged excessive corruption at the highest level of local government.
Many Islanders feared the British Government might have held off on local elections for another year. The interim government has taken heat for a seemingly tedious and fee-based voter registration system. However, Mr. Neil Smith, a spokesman for the presiding Govenor, told Charlene on Green: "There has been a tremendous amount of hard work that have led the TCI to this point. And we are delighted that certain expressed arrangements have been met to enable us to schedule the elections."
The British had laid out key milestones for return of democratic rule to Islanders. The interim British goverment also introduced new ordinances governing how elections must be operated. A new regulation allows any competent Turks and Caicos Islander to run for office, regardless of political affiliation.
The heaviest milestone is a budget for a projected US$20M surplus in the coming year. Under new financial and economic policies, passed by the British Governor, is the much debated value added tax (VAT) which is opposed by many Islanders
Some residents expressed unsurety as to whether the people were ready and able to govern themeselves again with a legacy of a twice-suspended constitution as a result of corrupt leaders. And though investigations are yet proceeding, and not all culprits have been charged, a significant number of Belongers believed the elections had not come soon enough.
At the same time, during our interview with Mr. Smith he firmly stated that though the UK Government is committed to the stability of its overseas jurisdictions: "We do not wish there to be an interim administration a day longer than necessary."
More on the British Foreign Secretary announcement on the milestones and TCI election here -- http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=PressS&id=774772682