|Constitution, election reform meeting disrupted||| Print ||
|Friday, 10 September 2010 14:06|
“Inexcusable” behavior by some people who attended a public meeting Thursday on Constitution and election reform caused the meeting to be cut short, with some people burning copies of the first draft of the proposal outside the Gustarvus Lightbourne Center.
“I was disappointed that Thursday’s public meeting in Providenciales was disrupted and not able to run to its conclusion,” reform advisor Kate Sullivan said in a press release Sept. 10. “It was clear to me that many in attendance had views on individual recommendations that I was not able to hear — so they have lost an opportunity to have their say in this important process through the actions of others.”
His Excellency the Gov. Gordon Wetherell said "a group of protesters" prevented some people from being able to speak about the first draft of proposed changes.
"If it was the intention of the protesters last night to embarrass the interim government, they have not done so," he said in a statement. "The work on constitutional and electoral reform is key to the follow-up to the recommendations of the 2009 Commission of Inquiry Report and to the purpose of this interim government."
"There are no preconceived conclusions to this work. I would therefore urge everyone to take full advantage of the opportunity to engage - and give others the chance to do so."
Consultative Forum Chairwoman Lillian Misick expressed her “profound disappointment” at what she called “inexcusable” behavior that forced the meeting to an early end.
“As a people we demonstrate our maturity by the way we address difficult issues,” Misick said in a press release. “There can be meaningful dialog, spirited exchanges and debate, without resorting to insults.”
“I want to encourage our people to continue to be part of the process, and I appeal to all who attend the meetings, that if they have strong views speak to them, but do so in a dignified and courteous manner; and please, allow others the opportunity to have their say.”
Progressive National Party Leader Clayton Greene applauded the behavior of those at the meeting.
“The people of the Turks and Caicos Islands spoke loudly last evening,” he said in a press release. “They spoke and said to the administration that they will settle for nothing less than the rights embodied in the 2006 Constitution. They spoke against the administration’s unwillingness to understand and respect us as a people.
“Finally, they stood in a ceremonial expression of disgust and demonstrated their objection to the futile exercise without violence but in no uncertain terms. As a Turks and Caicos Islander and as leader of the PNP party, I want to say how proud I am of those who were prepared without counting the cost to stand up and stand together.”
Following a recommendation from Sir Robin Auld’s Commission of Inquiry last year into allegations of government corruption, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office asked Sullivan to put forward proposals for constitutional and electoral reform in the Turks and Caicos Islands after wide public consultation.
After this round of public meetings, Sullivan will revise her recommendations and submit them to the FCO. Then a draft Constitution Order will be prepared and offered for additional public comment toward the end of the year. A final version will go to U.K. ministers and finally to the Privy Council for the Queen’s Assent.
Sullivan said she wants to hear from anyone at the meeting on Provo who did not get to share their views on the proposed reforms.
“I remain keen to hear their views and encourage them to contact me,” she said. “I would be happy to meet with them again.”
Friday's meeting on Salt Cay was civil and completed without incident.
Click HERE to read the governor's statement.
Click HERE to read Sullivan's statement.
Click HERE to read Misick's statement.
Click HERE to read Greene's statement.
Other meetings scheduled are:
Click HERE to read Sullivan's complete report on the governor’s Web site.
Printed copies of the report are also be available at the district commissioners offices on all islands and at the Governor’s Office in Grand Turk and Providenciales.
Click HERE to read the current Constitution.
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