Premier says Turks and Caicos at a standstill

COCKBURN TOWN, Turks & Caicos: As citizens await the release of the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into corruption, Premier Galmo Williams says the country is at a standstill.

The interim report, which has already been released, contains recommendations for the suspension of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Constitution and the implementation of direct British rule, which is expected to take effect when the final report is released at the end of this month.

“Our country has been on standstill since the inquiry and it has been too long; and our people need to know what our future will be, whether the British government will take over or not, because the level of uncertainty is causing our country to lose out on investment opportunities.

“There are investors and developers interested in coming to our country but, due to the fact that there is uncertainty about the future of the TCI because the British are taking too long to release the results of the inquiry, their plans are now on hold,” Williams said.

However, Williams said the business of the country must move forward and can no longer wait for a decision to be reached.

This was the reason, said Williams, that he advised Governor Gordon Wetherell to dissolve the House of Assembly so elections could be held in October, almost a year and a half early. After consulting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, Wetherell decided not to accede to the request.

Williams said the refusal was expected, but that his request was made “to obtain a reaction from the British because, since the commencement of the Commission of Inquiry, the country has come to a halt”.

The three-month-old Williams administration has not been allowed to borrow funds and has been unable to finish a number of projects, including the airport in South Caicos and the extension of the airport in Providenciales.

Williams said the only thing that his government has been allowed to do is cut expenditure.

Deputy Premier Royal Robinson said government has implemented a fiscal stabilization plan and put a cap on expenditures. He said, however, that the borrowing guidelines need to be changed.

“To make money, the country has to be in a position to borrow, thereby spending money to move forward,” Robinson said.

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