PROVIDENCIALES: Amanda Missick of the Progressive National Party (PNP) has retained her seat in the Cheshire Hall/Richmond Hill constituency following a by-election last week with an increased majority of 71 votes over last year’s general elections.
Missick polled 455 votes in the by-election while her opponent, People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) candidate, Oral Selver, received 384 votes.
Missick’s victory will allow the PNP, led by Dr. Rufus Ewing, to retain the eight to seven majority it had following the November 9, 2012 general elections that returned the Turks & Caicos Islands to self-rule.
Missick defeated Selver 394 to 364 in the November poll but the result was declared null and void after High Court Judge, Madame Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale, ruled that the 58 votes gained by Dr. Edward Smith of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) interfered with the result.
Missick faced another legal challenge and the prospect of being disqualified when the Integrity Commission raised an alarm about the filing of her declarations, causing the Attorney General’s Chambers to file a case against her for filing late. However, Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough ruled that she was eligible to stand in the by-election.
The Cheshire Hall constituency was declared vacant by the High Court in February, after Selver claimed that Dr. Smith did not relinquish his United States citizenship as required to contest the seat. Selver claimed that he could have won the seat if Smith, who had amassed 58 votes in the November elections, had not been in the race.
Smith, a retired U.S. professor who was born in Grand Turk, claimed he should have been eligible because he swore allegiance to the Queen before assuming a local census supervisory position.
Under the new interpretation of the 2006 election ordinance, anyone wishing to compete in a local election must cut all foreign citizenship ties. The new interpretation affected several candidates, including PDM deputy head, Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, who were forced to relinquish citizenship to other countries.