20 August, 2010
We continue to look at Kate Sullivan's initial recommendations for Changes to the Constitutional and Electoral Arrangements in the Turks and Caicos Islands. We have previously dealt in thirteen numbered paragraphs with some of the first 25 Recommendations.
 Recommendation 26 is headed in the wrong direction. It proposes keeping the Governor's old colonial powers unilaterally to make a law for the TCI without that law having been passed by the House of Assembly. It goes further and widens his power unilaterally to legislate for the islands “to ensure compliance with the Governance Principles.” A more objectionable provision it would be difficult to imagine.
There is no question of either the Governor or the FCO needing such a draconian provision in TCI or in any other of the BOTs. In this day of instant communication the FCO is well informed about all proposals to introduce legislation in good time to make interventions to ensure that Britain's contingent liabilities are not put at risk.
In the event that a Government should introduce a new legislative provision that has not passed through Cabinet and had the benefit of the Attorney-General's and the Governor's advice, there are ample powers to pressure the Government to revise the measure. This was proved recently in Montserrat when the Assembly passed a legislator's pensions provision that was wildly in excess of the provision that had been approved by the Cabinet. The government of the day was embarrassed into passing through the House of Assembly an amendment immediately thereafter to go back to the original approved provision.
To remove the power of the legislators to legislate is to destroy democracy itself. A constitutional framework such as the one proposed here has nothing of either democracy or good governance in it.
To be continued …