§ Lord Harris of Haringey
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What has been the outcome of the two petitions filed after the general election in the Turks and Caicos Islands on 24 April 2003. [HL3764]
§ Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
Following General Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on 24 April, which saw the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDM) returned for a third term, the opposition Progressive National Party (PNP) filed election petitions against the results in two of the 13 constituencies. On 19 June, the Chief Justice declared the results in both districts void with the result that a fresh election was required in each one. This put the governing PDM in a minority in the Legislative Council. The Chief Minister, the Hon. Derek Taylor, asked the Governor to dissolve the Legislative Council and to call a new general election.
The Governor, acting in accordance with the Constitution of the Turks and Caicos Islands, told the leaders of both parties on 23 June that he was denying both the PDM's request for a new general election and the PNP's request for the immediate appointment of their leader as Chief Minister, and that he would issue writs for by-elections in the two constituencies affected to be held on 7 August.
This was a difficult decision to take. The Governor weighed the arguments carefully. We support the Governor's decision.