Street Protests in Turks & Caicos Islands over cancellation of Elections

 Residents of the TCI reacted by blocking streets and at one point even the car that was transporting the British appointed governor was delayed on its journey.

Speaking in Providenciales, visiting Minister for Overseas Territories, Henry Bellingham, explained that taking into account “all the challenges that remain for the Turks and Caicos Islands – including economic stability”, the British government had decided that the 2011 elections will be called off.

He would not be pressed on when elections could be expected but said in a statement a further announcement would be made later this year.

Mr. Bellingham also said that both the advisory council and consultative forum of the Turks and Caicos Islands were – in his words – “absolutely emphatic” that elections should not go ahead next year.

He announced that suspension of parts of the constitution will continue until progress is made towards embedding reforms and financial stability in the British territory.

Other demonstrations are being planned for this Saturday, (25th September).

Doug Parnell, leader of the Progressive Democratic Movement, told BBC Caribbean, “The fact that the elections have been delayed without any timetable smacks of arrogance and an uncaring attitude (by the British government) towards the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands.”

He said the British authorities had closed the elections office in the TCI for a year and a half.

“They’ve refused to register people, they’ve refused to engage in the electoral process, so we don’t not know how many new bona-fide registered voters there could be,” he told BBC Caribbean.

Last year the British government placed the Turks and Caicos Islands under direct rule after a Commission of Inquiry found evidence of government corruption and maladministration.

The administration of the UK territory was suspended for up to two years and power transferred to the UK-appointed governor.

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