TCI votes in new government; elections observers say poll was free and fair
Voters in the Turks and Caicos Islands gave a landslide victory to the opposition Progressive National Party (PNP) of businessman Charles Washington Misick in General Elections held on Friday 19th February 2021.
Preliminary results released by the Turks and Caicos Islands Elections Department show the PNP captured fourteen of the fifteen seats at stake. The party took nine of the ten electoral district seats and all five of the at-large seats.
The outgoing People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) of Premier Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson took the remaining seat. Cartwright-Robinson, the territory’s first female Premier, lost her at-large seat.
The elections were monitored by a CARICOM Elections Observation Mission which concluded that the elections were free and fair.
The three-member mission, led by Dr Robert Stephen Mahadeo Surujbally of Guyana, in a preliminary statement issued on Saturday, said “the peacefulness of the elections … reflected the tranquility of the society of the Turks and Caicos Islands.”
The mission highly commended the “extensive public health protocols” implemented by the Elections Department to ensure the safety of both voters and election day workers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It said that voters and workers observed social distancing and wore masks and the polling stations were sanitized throughout the day.
The mission found that the voting process at polling stations was smooth and efficient. It noted that the polls opened late, but closed later to ensure the designated amount of time allocated to the voters to exercise their franchise was strictly adhered to. It also felt that more measures could have been put in place to assist the elderly and differently-abled voters, particularly as they were encouraged to visit the polling stations to vote at a specific time of day.
The mission will prepare a final Report for submission to CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. It will also be shared with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, the Leader of the Opposition and the Elections Department. Dr Surujbally was joined on the Mission by Ian Hughes, Ambassador Felix Gregoire and Valique Gomes of the CARICOM Secretariat who provided support.