TCI’s PNP Seeks Independence Referendum

November 13, 2011

Turks and Caicos Progressive National Party — which was ousted from power when the UK imposed direct rule in the wake of accusations of corruption — said that if it wins the next election it will seek a referendum on Independence.

The Cayman News Service reported that, “The General Council of the Progressive National Party has issued a resolution formalising its position on independence for the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

“The PNP was ousted from government when the UK imposed direct rule in the wake of accusations of corruption and major public finance problems but has now declared officially that if it wins power in the next elections it will seek a national referendum for independence from Britain.”

“Although an election date for the territory remains elusive, the UK authorities have said it will be sometime in 2012.”

In April 2006, then PNP Premier Michael Misick said that his party saw Independence from Britain as the “ultimate goal” for the islands. Opponents of Mr. Misick later accused him of moving toward Independence in order to dodge a UK commission of inquiry into reports of corruption by his administration.

In August 2009 the TCI Governor, on the instructions of the UK Foreign Office, imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands by authority of the 18 March 2009 Order-in-Council issued by the Queen.

The islands’ administration was suspended and power was been transferred to the Governor.

Earlier this year Mr. Misick was sued by a US law firm which alleges he owes $326,217 in legal fees. And in July, 2011 Turks Chief Justice Gordon Ward ordered that all of Mr. Misck’s assets be frozen.

“This order prohibits you, Michael Misick, the alleged offender, from dealing with all of your assets wherever they may be situated in the world and in whosever name the same assets may be held,” the order read.

“This order prohibits all of the persons, real or otherwise, named…from dealing with all or any of the assets in which the alleged offender has an interest whether directly or indirectly wherever they may be situated in the world and in whosever name the said assets may be held.”

Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory along with Bermuda and 12 other jurisdictions; Anguilla, the British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena, Pitcairn Island, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus.

Settled by Bermudians in the late 17th century, the territory was a virtual Bermuda dependency for more than a century and the centre of a profitable salt-raking industry.

Bermudian slave Mary Prince spent time in the Turks & Caicos Islands, an experience she described in her historic 1831 memoir.

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