Turks and Caicos Islands: Minister is ‘optimistic’ following Turks and Caicos constitutional reform talks | tcweekly

Significant changes to the proposed constitution have been made and elections are on track for 2012. That’s the word from FCO Minister for Overseas Territories Henry Bellingham.

Thursday’s announcement came following two days of “very fruitful” talks on constitutional reform in London this week. A seven member TCI delegation visited the capital to persuade ministers to alter their stance on some of the draft document’s most contentious prescripts. And as a result details surrounding Belongership bestowal, the electoral system, and the Governor’s role were all changed for the final constitution package.

… The Minister outlined ten significant changes to the constitution, the first being the rejection of a ‘mixed member proportional’ electoral system. “I recognise that many people share our concerns about the transactional politics which have existed in TCI for many years,” he said. “But I also understand the political parties’ preference for the first past the post voting system.

“I am willing to drop our proposal for a mixed member proportional system, and remain with the present system where all elected members of the House of Assembly are elected by the first past the post system.”

He then announced that membership of the House would consist of 10 constituency members, five “at large” or “territory wide” members and four appointed members. And the Electoral Boundary Commission will be drafted by FCO officials.

The TCI’s new Premier will not be able to hold office for more than two terms unless at least one term has expired in between. The Governor’s powers will be increased as previously suggested, but he or she will have to consult the Secretary of State before exercising many of these powers.

Full Article: FCO Minister is ‘optimistic’ following constitutional reform talks.

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