Turks and Caicos Once Again Under British Rule

18 August 2009

Great Britain has imposed direct rule on the British overseas territory of the Turks and Caicos, a popular yachting destination. A political scandal involving former Turks and Caicos Prime Minister Michael Misick made international headlines earlier this year as the country earned the top spot on the list of Most Corrupt Nations in March 2009.

As reported back in March, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) uncovered evidence of widespread corruption throughout the island nation in 2008. Misick eventually resigned and Galmo Williams took the seat as his successor.

In August 2009, the UK government stepped in to clean up some of the corruption on the island nation. The compulsory of direct rule means all government actions of the Turks and Caicos have been suspended for a period of time that could span up to two years; a London-appointed governor now sits at the head of the government.

According to a New York Times article, “Galmo Williams, called the move a ‘coup.’ ‘Our country is being invaded and re-colonized by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship,’ he said.”

A representative of the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association says, “It’s business here as usual. The suspension of the [Turks and Caicos] Constitution will not affect anything."

Currently yachts cruising the Turks and Caicos may do so for up to seven days without a permit; any amount of time beyond that requires a three-month cruising permit. Apparantly that will not change under British rule.