Turks and Caicos
Political Independence – It Is Time To Talk About It
By Drexwell Seymour
April 19, 2021
There are seventeen (17) countries in the world that have yet to become decolonized. One of those places is the Turks and Caicos Islands where we have been politically governed by the United Kingdom (UK) for hundreds of years.
This article is not necessarily to promote political independence, but rather to bring awareness about it. Like a parent tries his or best to ensure that their children receive the best education, I too believe that the UK along with the elected leaders of the Overseas Territories should at minimum ensure that the people are educated about political independence on a regular basis through a series of conversations.
Political independence takes place when dependent or overseas territories sever ties with the parent country and exercise self-government.
Political independence does not mean that you are financial independent. Most countries in the world are not financially independent. They are not self-sufficient, they borrow from other countries and they import food and materials just like the Turks and Caicos Islands. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with being politically independent but depend financially on other countries.
It is good thing actually to develop links and relationship with other countries once you become politically independent such as being a member of Caribbean Community (CARICOM). You are not going to be in isolation.
There is a lot of fear about becoming politically independent. There is a fear that there will be a devaluation of the currency. There is a fear that Overseas Territories may lose privileges such as studying, living and working in the parent country as a local. There is fear that should there be allegations of corruption, justice will not take place. However, these fears can be managed.
The devaluation of your currency is linked to the leadership and management of the country. Presently, the Overseas Territories are managing their countries financially and nothing should change because you become political independent. You just need to ensure that there are sound financial policies and procedures in place.
The thing is, some of the parent countries such as the UK have a challenge in managing and living up to some of the guidelines that they want Overseas Territories to have in place. For example, the Turks and Caicos Islands is expected not to have a deficit budget, but the UK and the US budgets are millions in deficit.
In my YouTube video with Dr. Carlyle Corbin, he mentioned that one does not have to lose certain benefits. It is all about negotiation during the process of becoming decolonized.
There are countries that are independent and have successful commission of inquiries. There is no need to fear that as the judicial system must be professional with no interference from the politicians.
Becoming political independent should be a goal that all Overseas Territories should aim for, no matter the size of the country. However, it does not happen overnight. It requires preparation and education. These two elements are lacking in many of the Overseas Territories, as there is no preparation and education on independence.
The last Caribbean island to become independent was St. Kitts & Nevis which was in 1983, so the talks about political independence in the remaining territories have been dormant. While I did say this article is not to promote political independence, I want to conclude this article with a quote from Kwame Nkrumah to provoke your thoughts. “It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else.”
It is time for us to take responsibility and ensure that the residents of the overseas territories are well informed about the pros and cons of political independence so they can make well informed decisions.
* Drexwell Seymour is a Certified Public Accountant and has an MBA in Finance. He is the managing partner for his firm HLB TCI Ltd. He has a passion for writing.