By Caribbean News Now contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- In a press statement last week local attorneys, F Chambers, on behalf of their client, former Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) premier Michael Misick, denied that that client is in any way "making a move to move back to frontline politics" or campaigning for the leadership of the Progressive National Party (PNP).
Former premier Michael Misick when he appeared on local television in 2008 to deny allegations of raping an American visitor to the TCI
Nor is Misick doing anything to undermine the leadership of the current PNP premier Rufus Ewing, the statement said.
The statement by Misick’s attorneys was prompted by comments by local radio reporter Deandrea Hamilton regarding the negative public perception of the performance of the PNP government since being re-elected to office in November 2012 and a possible leadership challenge to Ewing by Misick.
“Mr Misick is concentrating on his legal challenges and characterizes any report to the contrary to be nothing more than an attempt at mischief making. We therefore ask that the reporter Ms Deandrea Hamilton of the radio station Power 92.5 FM withdraw her report and we encourage Power 92.5FM to practice responsible journalism,” Misick’s attorneys said.
Hamilton discussed on air the weakness of the current PNP government led by Ewing and its dedication to raising taxes, which have resulted in an increased cost of living, and that, as a result, Misick could challenge Ewing's leadership of the party.
These circumstances are a repeat of those that brought down the previous PNP administration when a leadership battle emerged between then deputy premier Floyd Hall and Misick. This resulted in Misick and Hall both stepping down and giving up leadership to Galmo “Gilly” Williams and Royal Robinson. This administration was short lived and was set aside when the constitution was partially suspended in 2009 and Britain imposed direct rule.
What have seemingly created the perceptions reported by Hamiliton as relates to a potential leadership fight are two issues, the first being the service at Bishop Colleta Williams’ church celebrating Misick’s release on bail from the Grand Turk prison, when Misick spoke of “taking the country back”, which is already in the hands of Ewing-led government.
The second is Misick’s appearance in various taverns and bars in Providenciales, with Misick representing himself as the leader of the TCI, which according to Misick must go independent.
This is an issue that Ewing has also promoted but on occasion retreats from as he networks with British officials.
The other issue, as it relates to the possibility of an early election, has to do with Hamilton’s report of the discontent of the public at large with the current condition of the TCI after 7½ years of PNP rule and three years of interim government.
Massive increases in the cost of living, a contracting economy, lack of employment and years of failed PNP-sponsored developments have resulted in widespread public dissatisfaction, which was reflected in the popular vote results of the late 2012 election. The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) won 56% of the popular vote. However, as a result of the constitutional division of electoral districts and “at large” seats, the PDM was not able to win the government because two of the PNP seats were won by as few as 11 and 17 votes.
Also challenging Hamilton’s observations is an open letter
from PNP activist Devon Williams, claiming all is well within the PNP.