On August 19, 2019, I wrote an article entitled “We should never extend or enlarge the voting franchise. Only citizens should vote.” After reading the IFES statement on the Turks and Caicos Islands 2021 General Elections, I think it is important that I address this issue again. The IFES reported that it is challenge whereby only 8,581 people are eligible to vote out of an approximate population of 43,000.
I want to repeat a statement I made in my August 19, 2019 article. I believed it then and I still believe it today. I said “ I believe even if there are only 10 citizens and 100,000 non-citizens in TCI, then those 10 citizens should still be the ones to decide the affairs of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Many people in this country and outside this country have a problem that 8,581 people are deciding the future of a country that has a population over 40,000 people. I don’t see what the problem is. The 8,581 people are citizens. The remaining people are work permit holders, PRC holders and undocumented immigrants. They should not have a say in the affairs of our country. What country in the world allows non-citizens to participate in the voting process?
In writing this article, I wanted data on the breakdown of the population of the Turks and Caicos Islands in terms of the number of status holders, number of work permit holders, the number of PRC holders, the number of BOTC holders and the estimated number of undocumented individuals.
Turks and Caicos Islander Status
Based on my research, there are 15,755 people with Turks and Caicos Islanders Status, of which 2,804 represent individuals 17 or younger. This means that 12,951 are adults and should have been registered to vote. However, only 8,581 were registered to vote in the last election.
Individuals with Turks and Caicos Islanders Status represent 37% of the population. Again, these are the individuals that have the right and should have always have the right to participate in the affairs of our country no matter if the remaining population outnumbered us. The remaining population are guests (work permit holders) and permanent residents and should not participate in our voting process.
I believe the Government and the people need to encourage Turks and Caicos Islanders living abroad to return home. We have more Turks and Caicos Islanders living abroad than home. If we can get these people home, we will not need all of the work permit holders. Furthermore, if we can have these people home, we can be the majority in our country.
Work Permit holders
It is estimated that there are 12,000 work permit holders in the country. Personally, I believe it is more but I will use this figure as this is what was given to me by a good source. Work permit holders represent 28% of the population. Work permit holders are guests and should not participate in our voting process. The duration of work permit holders was never intended to be long term. I know it is easier for employers to have the same people for a long time rather than every two years get a new people but we will have to implement some time limits soon otherwise this issue will continue to get out of hand.
It is estimated that there are 3,000 persons with British Overseas Territory Citizens Status (BOTC). This group represents 7% and is not allowed to vote.
According to the National Audit Skills, undocumented migrants accounted for 26.5% of the population so for this article, I will assume the same percentage for 2021 resulting in 11,395 undocumented workers.
Permanent Residents Holder
I called several people to obtain the number of permanent resident holders in the country but it was a challenge. For 2004 to 2010, there were 1303 PRCs and then for 2014 to 2016 it was 462. If I take the average of these two numbers, it would be 882. However, based on above information and a population of 43,000, I concluded that the permanent resident holders are 850 individuals. They make up 1% of the population. Like other countries, permanent residents are not allowed to vote and should remain so.
The writing is on the wall. There will be a lot of pressure to enlarge the franchise. We must not fall for that pressure. The only pressure we need is to restore our economy and invite Turks and Caicos Islanders living abroad to return home. I don’t care how much we are outnumbered in this country, the citizens must have the final say. The citizens should be the only ones allowed to vote.
|Category||Amount||Percentage of total population|
|Turks and Caicos Islander Status||15,755||37%|
|Work Permit Holders||12,000||28%|
|Permanent Resident Holders||850||1%|