Published On: Thu, Mar 7th, 2013

Turks and Caicos ruling party faces crisis

Ewing Missick MisickPROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- The warning delivered just last month to the heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) at their first-ever meeting in Haiti by Premier Rufus Ewing of impending “chaos” in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) appears to have become a self-fulfilling prediction as a result of his own party’s lapses.

Following a successful election petition in relation to the Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill electoral district in Providenciales, the elected members of the House of Assembly are currently balanced at seven each for the government and opposition.

The resulting by-election is to be held on March 22, but Ewing’s Progressive National Party (PNP) candidate Amanda Misick appears to have missed a statutory deadline to file a notice of interest in a government contract prior to the nomination date of March 1. According to a copy of the relevant register released by the Integrity Commission on Wednesday, Misick did not file her declaration until March 4.

As a result, it would seem that Misick is disqualified from being elected as a member of the Assembly and, according to local sources, the opposition Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) will accordingly be seeking an injunction to prevent her name being placed on the March 22 ballot.

Meanwhile, more questions have arisen over the US citizenship of Deputy Premier Akierra Missick at the time of her nomination for the November 9, 2012, general elections.

The purported renunciation in October last year of US citizenship by Missick was aired, albeit inconclusively, during the recent court hearings of the successful election petition by PDM candidate Oral Isaac Selver in relation to the Cheshire Hall and Richmond Hill electoral district.

Missick failed to produce to the court evidence of her claimed renunciation of US citizenship, which was said to have taken place on October 17, 2012. Despite being asked to do so, she could not produce her cancelled US passport, which she said she had lost.

However, Missick’s name is conspicuous by its absence on the list of individuals losing United States citizenship during the quarter ending December 31, 2012, published by the US Federal Register, US immigration expert Adam Rothwell has pointed out.

According to Rothwell, the US State Department, which is responsible for approving citizenship renunciations, notifies the Federal Register and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each quarter of individuals that have given up their citizenship.

Furthermore, Rothwell pointed out that, notwithstanding her purported renunciation of her US citizenship, Missick remains under a duty of obedience or adherence to the United States unless or until certain tax obligations are completed and discharged by her

Specifically, there are at least four separate IRS forms that Missick is required to file as a US citizen in relation to her 2012 taxes and claimed renunciation of her US citizenship during that year.

The TCI constitution provides that no person shall be qualified to be an elected member of the House of Assembly who, on the date of his or her nomination for election is, by virtue of his or her own act, “under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to any foreign power or state.”

Importantly, this provision is not limited to mere foreign citizenship but to an acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to any foreign power or state.

In relation to the United States, therefore, given that country’s unusual taxation obligations on the part of its citizens no matter where in the world they may live, it is therefore impossible for anyone to meet all obligations and statutory duties (obedience) for US expatriation (renunciation of citizenship) and also be nominated for elected office in the TCI, which requires an absence of such obedience, adherence and allegiance to the US, in a single tax year (in this case 2012).

It would seem, therefore, that Missick has and remains subject to a duty of obedience to the United States unless and until her obligations to that country have been discharged.

Any written declaration to the Supervisor of Elections made by Missick pursuant to the constitution that she is qualified for election and that no disqualification applied to her may therefore have been false.

According to reliable sources, steps are being taken to vacate Missick’s seat in the House of Assembly on the grounds that, if she were not a member of the House, she would be disqualified for election.

By Caribbean News Now contributor

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