The People of Turks and Caicos Ask Caricom to Condemn the New British Constitution

TCIpost finds new home at Barbados Free Press

The controversial blog TCIpost.com disappeared without warning and we at Barbados Free Press suspect that the UK Government or SIR David Simmons or a combination of powers have something to do with that. Of course, the fact that Turks and Caicos citizens are burning copies of the “new” Constitution imposed by the UK (photo above) might have something to do with the UK’s trying to kill all talk of the TCI independence movement.

We’ve asked our readers to send us any TCIpost stories that they copied to add to those we have some ourselves.

We’re going to republish them all here because it’s all about freedom of the press. Hey… we’re happy to be of assistance!

Here is the first story. We haven’t a clue about when it was first published at TCIpost and if someone could let us know we’ll include a dateline.

TCIpost.com lives!

The People of Turks and Caicos Ask Caricom to Condemn the New British Constitution

As Caricom leaders gear up this week to discuss the new constitution being imposed by the British on the Turks and Caicos citizens, the people are overwhelmingly vehement that they wish to preserve their rights under their own constitution. This week Caricom will be meeting to discuss how they should collectively respond to the UK in regard to this new constitution.

When the British began their occupation of the Turks and Caicos Islands, starting about 2 years ago, the British disbanded or “suspended” the existing Turks and Caicos constitution citing local government corruption. The British corruption investigation has been ongoing for two years and is targeted at a handful of local government officials for profiting from crown land sales. Though no arrests or indictments have been made yet after two years, the British demand that the people of Turks and Caicos continue to live without the right of democracy or self determination during this process.

As it turns out, this investigation might all be an exercise by the British to pass a new constitution on Turks and Caicos, a constitution that will be passed without a vote by the people.

The British began the process of the new constitution shortly after arriving in Turks and Caicos. And, indeed the British did “allow” the people to be “part of the process” and they did allowing citizens to comment on the constitutional changes.

But the people spoke up loudly by protesting new constitutional amendments and responded by burning the constitution in the streets after a town hall meeting regarding the changes.

Since the protests made no difference to the British undertaking of the new constitution, many local citizens are worried that the British may only have wanted the people “an opportunity to comment” merely to legitimize the process.

At issue with the new constitution is that the old constitution was written by the people and for the people and in partnership with the British, with reforms as early as 2006 reflecting the current wishes and desires of the people. The people state that their constitution had zero failings and had nothing to do with the cases of allegations of corruption. The old constitution gave islanders the right to self determination to preserve their country’s culture, tradition and conservancy. The new constitution will allow foreign residents a vote, which is turn will diminish the voices of the people. Furthermore, the new constitution expressly gives the British ultimate control over all governmental matters concerning the islands.

As it is, many islanders are worried that the British have announced that they will “right size” many governmental departments, threatening civil servants’ jobs. The higher up jobs are being replaced by people from the UK and many middle and lower jobs are threatened. One of the biggest employers on the islands is the civil service. The British are now stating that civil servants, as well as land owners, must re-qualify for their jobs and their lands. This has many locals writhing as they feel intimidated to go along with the British occupation and constitution lest they be punitively denied their jobs and lands with the new re-qualification process.

The threat of job eliminations and the replacement of locals by British nationals is contributing to the sharp economic decline. The other contributing factor is investor confidence which is currently ranked at almost zero because the British are refusing to green light new projects and have made general accusations against large business owners.

Many citizens have been calling out for democracy and voting rights on local matters. The British hold the citizens off by saying to wait until after the corruption investigation. The problem exists in the fact that while the people have been waiting for the corruption investigation to finish, the British are passing a new constitution that will take their democracy away forever.

Now Caricom is meeting in Grenada with heads of state in the Caribbean community where they are set to discuss the new Turks and Caicos constitution imposed by the British. The people wish for Caricom to reject the new constitution entirely and call for the reinstatement of the constitution amended in 2006. It was created by the people which will put the people in charge as stewards of their own land, to protect its conservation and culture and to make decisions that matter most to islanders. Many of the people who condemn the British occupation and new constitution state that the citizens of Turks and Caicos should not be punished for allegations against a handful or people. Other islanders feel that they are being set up by the British claiming that the British orchestrated this new constitution all along for more mysterious reasons.

Sources:

Carlos Simoms, a local leader and lawyer, warns against the problems with the new constitution:
http://www.rtc107fm.com/2010/news/local-headlines/866-press-statement-by-carlos-w-simons-qc-constitutional-and-electoral-reform-looking-round-the-corner

E. Jay Saunders, a local leader, discusses why the British is wrong to suspend the peoples’ constitution: http://www.fptci.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2118:letter-parliament-wrong-to-suspend-constitution-indefinitely&catid=27:community&Itemid=71

The British give the people of Turks and Caicos a chance to comment on constitution change with a hotmail address: http://www.fptci.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2105:constitutional-reform-deadline-extended&catid=18:local&Itemid=26

The people of Turks and Caicos burn the British constitution in the streets: http://www.suntci.com/index.php?p=story&id=1141

Local leaders of Turks and Caicos appeal to the United Nations on new British constitution and democracy, stating that the British offered not one constitutional failure under the old constitution: http://tcweeklynews.com/constitution-review-a-sham-un-told-p2077-1.htm

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, Politics

2 responses to “The People of Turks and Caicos Ask Caricom to Condemn the New British Constitution

  1. Carl

    I will take a guess that this was published earlier this week because Caricom met yesterday on how to respond to the new constitution. This is a recent article, February 19-24, 2011.

  2. Pingback: Turks & Caicos, Barbados: Disappearing Blog · Global Voices