TCI premier says British governor, deputy and AG frustrating Gov't efforts

Sunday, September 23, 2018

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The Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Sun newspaper says there appears to be serious tensions and rifts in the TCI Cabinet.

The newspaper, in this week's edition, reported that Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson had indicated “that the efforts of her elected People's Democratic Movement (PDM) ministers are being frustrated by the Governor, Dr John Freeman; Deputy Governor Anya Williams; and Attorney General Rhondalee Brathwaite”.

Following are excerpts from the article:

During a recent broadcast of a radio call-in programme on the State-owned Radio Turks and Caicos with host Herbert Been, the premier said her elected ministers often agreed on projects and would like them moved ahead, but they are often stalled because the governor, deputy governor and attorney general would object, therefore Cabinet cannot reach consensus.

However, when contacted by The Sun, those three officials all declined comment.

The premier said: “It is one of the biggest surprises I've had on coming to office. I think that when you put your name on the line and you fight to get to a place where you want to bring change, you think when you get to Cabinet and you have a majority of members and you are elected members that unless it is contrary to the law, that the Government will have its way in Cabinet, not so.”

She added: “Consensus is a word attached to the process for Cabinet. We do not have a vote so there is no majority vote. There are 10 members for the first time since the new Constitution; the attorney general and the deputy governor are full members of Cabinet and you would recall in time past it would be exofficio members, per se, but they are full voting members and the governor, of course, is president. There are 10 members of Cabinet, not exofficio members, but full right members and if either one of the individuals elected or unelected does not agree, that does not go forward.”

She added: “As we do we have pre-Cabinet, all of our ministers come together and we know what we are bringing to Cabinet and we trash out what we have to trash out and we go in as a unit as we should, because we have a manifesto that we have to follow and we have an agenda that we have committed to the people that must be followed. We can go in and we can be glued together, but if we don't get consensus from the other three members of Cabinet that decision will not go forward.”

She said that as minister of finance there were occasions as premier of this country where she took matters to Cabinet and didn't get consensus.

“So I think that it is important for people to understand that and how the country works. I've had the experience of talking to other Overseas Territories leaders who don't have this experience.

“I will confess that I have not looked to see exactly what they do to have consensus, to see if there's some wording that is different… I committed to do that work so that we could understand exactly how we can make sure that an elected Government is able to get its agenda through Cabinet.”

She added: “I came into office; I wouldn't say I wouldn't know that there's not voting in Cabinet but I assumed that an elected government gets in there, persons will actually look and say well, this is an agenda that is brought by persons who are elected and I should go forward but that's not always the case.”

She said: “We agreed to projects that we would like to move ahead and we had the opportunity to have some works done and I, of course, took it to Cabinet where I was unable to get consensus.”

When asked about whether people could see her stance as radical, Premier Robinson responded: “I don't think that it is radical, I think that when you put your name on that dotted line and when you go through what you go through to run for office in Turk and Caicos, I think there are certain things that you ought to expect.

“People would have elected you on a manifesto, on campaign promises and I think that when we get to that place and they would have elected you there ought to be some sort of respect in that regard.”

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