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Election countdown begins in Turks and Caicos
Published on February 18, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Caribbean News Now contributor

PROVIDENCIALES, TCI --With general elections due in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) no later than February 2017, the two major political parties are ramping up their preparations. First out the gate was the opposition Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) with an announcement that it had formally opened up its candidate selection process.

PDM Chairman, Doug Parnell
A release from party chairman, Doug Parnell, read, “The Peoples Democratic Movement in preparation for the upcoming general election is hereby notifying the voting public that it is opening its process for candidate selection.”

The release further gave criteria for prospective candidates, including:

a. Be members of the party in good standing;

b. Be registered voters; and

c. Satisfy the qualifications for membership of the Legislature as laid down by the constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The process for selection was emphasized to include:

a. Recommendation to the Candidates Committee in writing by the Branch of the Party in the constituency concerned;

b. Recommendation to the Candidates Committee by an affiliated member of the Party; or

c. An individual member of the Party in good standing who applies in writing to the Candidates Committee.

PDM Leader Sharlene Cartwright Robinson
The PDM, led by opposition leader Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, has raised its profile lately due to its strong representation in Parliament against bills such as payroll tax and the immigration amendments bill, which the government introduced and faced great scrutiny and criticism from the opposition and the public at large.

Trying to make headway has been a new party, the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA), made up of mostly former PDM hierarchy, including Oswald Skippings, Oneil Skippings and Samuel Harvey, all of whom have announced their candidacy. But, most PDM supporters have steered clear of them saying that a vote for PDA is a vote for the ruling Progressive National Party (PNP) and Premier Rufus Ewing and they are tired of PNP rule.

However, most voters have been watching to see what steps Ewing makes as he tries to maneuver his party into another term of government. A recent honouring ceremony in Wheeland of constituency elders was held to introduce a potential candidate, along with the ratcheting up of deputy premier Akierra Misick and her Facebook campaign conducted by the Leeward team.

PNP Leader Rufus Ewing
A remark by Finance Minister Washington Misick this week on a local talk show, announcing his desire to be an at large candidate again, has raised the specter of a snap election.

The PNP recently called a snap convention, which many believe has been sprung to help current leader Ewing hold on to power and the reins of his party against a looming but legally entangled challenger, former premier Michael Misick. Fewer than three weeks’ notice was given to party supporters and constituency boards.

In the meantime, Misick has been playing a shrewd political game by goading PDA leaders into believing that his support lies with PDA. But many in the PNP hierarchy are secretly laughing at the PDA for falling for this political ploy by Misick.
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