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Opposition Leader Weighs In On Islander Status Consultation


Opposition Leader Hon. Edwin Astwood.

Opposition Leader Hon. Edwin Astwood has weighed in on the government's decision to hold public consultation on the granting of Islander Status to those who possess third generation ancestry, marriage and by other means. The following is a statement from the opposition leader:


I am content that The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced the launch of a public consultation process to gather input and feedback on proposed amendments to the Turks and Caicos Islander Status Ordinance.


The original amendments were tabled in the House of Assembly on May 31, 2023.


The Opposition Appointed Member and I were not in support of the Bill moving forward in its current form and had stated that the Bill needed the input of the people, and that it is the people who should decide the criteria for the granting of TCI status, if they so desire.


Additionally, the honorable Premier, who had presented the Bill, had also asked for the contentious section to be omitted, and it that goes out to consultation.


In order for the consultation to capture views regarding the treatment of dependents of persons granted Islander status, treatment of dependents of persons with Islander status by descent, DNA testing of all applicants, and the introduction of evaluation criteria for Islander status through Grant, our voices must be heard.


We all must realize that our voice is our creative power. If we seek to create a new destiny for the Turks and Caicos, we must speak and free our voices. We have to let it be known how we want persons to qualify to be granted our status, the criteria to be met, and by which evaluation tools.


We as a people have to ask ourselves, “Where do we come from, who we are, and where are we going?”


In order to build our path toward the future, we needed to know where I came from, with the intention of improving and evolving in each cycle until perfection.


Are we really going backward? Are we repeating things? We cannot move forward by escaping from the past.


We must review what has been done, and go through what has been lived by our people. This will help us to reconstruct the determinations of the future, as it helps us to possess wisdom. For the sake of our children, and their children to come we cannot ignore the future by only looking at our present.


We have to break the cycle of past, present, and future beliefs that are preventing our country and our people from advancing as they should. Therefore, in considering this consultation we need to think only on three real questions in this whole cycle; Who we were? Who we are? Who we will be?

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