There will be at least 38 candidates vying for 15 seats in the upcoming elections in the Turks and Caicos. The candidates are promising to address so many issues but these issues will require the passage of legislations in the House of the Assembly.
I believe though that one of the primary purposes of parliamentarians is to establish bills, laws and policies in the best interest of the residents of the country. Throughout the history of the Turks and Caicos Islands politics, virtually all the bills that were presented to the House of Assembly for debate are presented by members of cabinet. The cabinet comprises of the Governor, the Deputy Governor, the Attorney General, the Premier and the six other Ministers.
However, according to the section 71 of the Constitution, any member can introduce any bill or propose any motion in the House of Assembly for debate. Should the proposed bill include increasing tax or increasing charge on the revenue, the House of Assembly will not allow the bill to proceed.
Members of the ruling party who are not members of cabinet
Because there can only be the Premier and no more than six ministers in cabinet, some members of the ruling party will be consider back benchers. However, during the campaign all of the candidates are promising you that they will represent you. The truth is the public only hears from the candidates every 6 weeks when the House of Assembly meets and most times they are debating on the bills that are presented by cabinet. Quite frankly, a lot of times the debates are the candidates making a lot of noise and repeating the same points. Perhaps this is what they call representation. However, it cannot be business as usual any longer. If the ministers do not present the bills to address the issues that were discussed during the campaign, then the backbenchers should present their bills to the house and hopefully it will get passed especially since their party will have the majority of seats in the House of Assembly.
Members of the opposition
It can be a challenge for the Opposition to bring about changes in the House of Assembly especially if they are outnumbered significantly by the ruling party. However, the Opposition can still be effective by highlighting the public about the short falls of the bills or the lack of bills presented by the Government. They too can present bills to the House. Imagine if the Opposition has 7 elected members and the Government has 8 elected members, if they are able to convince the two appointed Governor members, they can get bills to pass in the House of Assembly.
Independent candidates can be very effective in the Parliament if several of them win. However, if only one independent candidate wins and does not join any of the parties, it will be difficult to be effective in parliament. The independent candidate can present a bill but the bill will require the support of the majority of members in the House of Assembly.
Many people are saying what they plan to do if you elect them but the truth is if the politicians continue to behave like politicians of the past, there will be no change. They will be there just to make up the number for their party. It is time that all elected candidates be effective in bringing about changes in our country. Personally, I think all elected members should have a designated office financed by the TCIG so that the electorate can visit them and discuss their issues and then they in turn can present bills based on the issues by the electorate.