24 August, 2010


In this post we conclude my preliminary thoughts on Kate Sullivan's Initial Recommendations for Changes to the Constitutional and Electoral Arrangements in the Turks and Caicos Islands?  If you have not read her paper I urge you to do so by clicking on the link above.  I have dealt with the earlier portions of her Recommendations over the past seven posts.  I end with these final but preliminary thoughts:
[16]      Recommendations 36 and 37 retain the power of the Governor to deal in Crown Lands.  We know what that has meant in the past when there have been weak Governors and Attorneys-General.  The Governor has allowed ministers of government secretly to misuse Crown Lands for their own and their families' profit. 
The proper reform is to have the Constitution require any dealing in Crown Land to be approved by the House of Assembly.  Let the government answer to the public for any proposed dealing in Crown Land.  This is not a proper province for either the mandarins in Whitehall or for the Governor in Government House. 
We need the disinfecting influences of openness, transparency and fresh air.  We do not need to maintain a system that has shown itself to be a failure in the past.
[17]      There are many other Recommendations in this Report that we can all appreciate and approve of, particularly the provisions for Watchdog Institutions.  One complaint would be that they are not complete and others are missing. 
For example, the Constitution makes no provision for a Tenders Board, with security of tenure and guarantees for its independence. 
Similarly, the Constitution makes no provision for a Public Accounts Committee
For democratic principles to begin to flourish in what has clearly become a failed kleptomanic state, institutions such as these are essential.  No dictatorship by a foreign Governor can be an acceptable substitute for the nurturing and encouragement of local democratic institutions.
[18]      There are several other recommendations that one might legitimately have strong views on.  There are other obvious and timely recommendations that could and should have been made but that are missing.  We in the Overseas Territories need to act swiftly to discuss them on a variety of forums. 
Our concern should be transparent and obvious.  It is that if these recommendations are permitted to find their way into the TCI Constitution, it will not be long before there is pressure for them to be introduced into ours, for consistency and administrative convenience.  However, this paper is long enough for all but the very patient to be able to read, and I propose to stop writing here.
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