Current Affairs

What the TCI would look like if the PNP or PDM wins the 2021 Election

We answer the question of what the Progressive National Party and the People's Democratic Movement have planned for the Turks and Caicos, by way of their manifestos.

As we approach the 2021 election date, we have seen the release of manifestos from parties and candidates outlining their intentions and plans for being elected in government. These have predominantly taken electronic form this year, making them easier to access given the current times.

With the biggest brawl ensuing between the Progressive National Party and the People’s Democratic Movement, the question arises of what each party actually has planned for the country.


Here’s What Each Manifesto Says

PNP – Progressive National Party

PDM – People’s Democratic Movement

The PNP’s Contract

Forgoing on a traditional manifesto, the PNP launched their ‘Citizen’s Contract‘ outlining their promises to the nation for the next four years if they are elected. From job creation to accountability, the PNP considers these items to be achievable in one parliamentary term. However, their first point of action would be a reshuffle of ministerial portfolios which would group education, labour and employment together and also create an additional Ministry of Digitalisation & E-Government.

Some notable plans in the Contract include the rapid creation of jobs for TC Islanders through a Public Works Program and converting the TCI to a ‘preferred Fintech destination’.

The PNP has plans to establish a food production cooperative and increase Agricultural Science training. This would come topped up with concessions for farmers and fishermen as well as agricultural loans and protection of local investments in farming. We may also see the development of farms roads and infrastructure for agricultural purposes.

For the youth, there are plans to hold consultations with young people including those with disabilities to develop a National Youth Policy which reflects their agenda. The Contract also makes mention of implementing a National Apprenticeship Programme to incentivise businesses for hiring young people.

Further plans in the Contract relate broadly to livelihood, quality of life, natural resources and governance. Some points include:

Livelihood

  • Plan to remove barriers to local investment;
  • Create additional categories of investment based long-term residence programs as a means of diversifying the economy;
  • Incentivising tech developers to relocate to the TCI and register their intellectual property here;
  • Introduction of fair competition laws; and
  • Establishing a poverty threshold and providing assistance to those that fall under the threshold.

Quality of Life

  • Upgrading the Grand Turk Primary Health Care Clinic and build a new Primary Health Care clinic in Cheshire Hall community;
  • Building a home to care for persons with mental health issues;
  • Increasing access to health care by providing more health centres, hospital beds and expanding services within the hospitals;
  • Developing a special needs services centre;
  • Building a senior citizens’ home in Providenciales;
  • Increasing the old-age pension;
  • Tackling crime with 8 focus areas including rehabilitation, strict monitoring of money laundering laws, and setting a minimum human rights standard;
  • Incorporating information and communication technologies to aid student learning;
  • Establishing a housing authority to manage funding and provide subsidies to increase the stock of adequate and affordable housing;
  • Replacing shanty towns with safe, clean, fully serviced communities with adequate housing; and
  • Stamp out homelessness by working with charities and churches to provide housing for persons who may be temporarily displaced.

The Country/Natural Resources

  • Expanding the seaport to reduce the cost of imports;
  • Building and maintaining a system of roads critical to the various needs of our communities;
  • Implementing an environmentally safe waste management framework;
  • Banning the sale and lease of beach access;
  • Working to have Crown Lands transferred to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Infrastructure, and making Crown Land more affordable to TC Islanders; and
  • Reforming the management and distribution of Crown Land.

Government

  • Introduction of an electronic ID card as an online identity to easily access government services, submit applications and make payments;
  • Establish a Freedom of Information legislation; and
  • Introduce performance reviews focusing on meritocracy at all levels of government.

The PDM’s Agenda

Having released their manifesto called ‘The Agenda‘ in late January 2021, the PDM categorises their plans under Economy, Society, Environment and Governance. Among their plans, provided they win, is the opening of a coding academy which will initially see the training of 1,500 young people. The document also calls for a 100% concession to locals setting up tech businesses. Apart from the tech industry, however, the agriculture industry is promised attention with the establishment of an agro-park. To accompany this, a Food Security and Nutritional Adequacy Council is also in the books.

In addition, the document pledges to support youth leadership through the increase of youth appointment to government-controlled boards. Youth are also promised an entrepreneurship business programme and more involvement in governance through the strengthening of youth councils.

When it comes to creativity, the PDM plans to digitize and commercialize cultural products (such as festivals). As stated in The Agenda the country could see a state-of-the-art multi-purpose Creative/Performing Arts cultural centre being built. There is also mention of a national archive being established to preserve heritage.

Other items covered in The Agenda under the four categories include:

Economy

  • Encouraging investment in non-traditional sectors;
  • Diversifying tourism to include eco-tourism, sports tourism, cultural tourism, health and wellness tourism;
  • Making TCI the destination for marine research; and
  • Establishing a digital creative industry to create new opportunities for the people.

Society

  • Developing and expanding youth-at-risk programmes;
  • Implementing ‘public-private partnership – safer community initiative’ to address crime and violence by using a broad based community security and policing strategy.
  • Construction of housing developments for low and middle-income families;
  • Attracting specialised tertiary institutions to establish headquarters in TCI;
  • Strengthening educational services for special needs students and early childhood education;
  • Strengthening school infrastructure to support online education;
  • Continuing development of Technical Vocational Education and Training;
  • Supporting mental health;
  • Expanding the infrastructure of primary healthcare facilities to improve the provision of primary healthcare services;
  • Constructing a sports park fitted with an Olympic sized pool;
  • Introducing equal pay legislation;
  • Reducing unemployment numbers through a works program;
  • Prison reform through rehabilitation of prisoners;
  • Establishing more day-care facilities for the elderly;
  • Expanding monthly assistance for over 65s without retirement benefits; and
  • Bridging the generational gap through mentorship-companionship programmes for children, youth and senior citizens.

Environment

  • Using renewable energy sources to fuel a minimum of 25% of our energy;
  • Promoting the use of solar energy for private and business consumption;
  • Promoting the introduction of electric vehicles; and
  • Establishing an agro-forestry programme that creates jobs, preserves biodiversity and brings food security.

Governance

  • Establishing an annual public accountability mechanism;
  • Implementing local government model;
  • Seeking to bring Crown Lands under Ministerial review; and
  • Introducing more formalised management of Crown Land administration.

First timer or unsure of how to vote? Here are the voting procedures:

Davanya Deveaux

WAVES Magazine Editor

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