Colonialism is supposed to be dead in the 21st century. Countries are not supposed to have direct control of governments, resources, outputs, banking and educational facilities of other countries. Well, lo and behold, that’s not the case. The islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are still colonies of France. The Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. Johns) are still owned by the USA. And England still owns several Caribbean islands, including the sea resort set of islands called Turks and Caicos, population about 35,000.
Turks and Caicos (TCI) is a group of 40 islands in the Lucayan Archipelago within the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 575 miles southeast of Miami, Florida and just east of Cuba. All told, the islands represent 193 square miles of territory.
Just recently, in a place so small, a long leap of modernism occurred. No, there was no national liberation movement to establish local independence. Instead, what occurred was the almost total takeover of the islands’ government by female citizens. The elected Prime Minister, as of December 15, 2016, is Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson. London appoints the colonial governor, who is male, but the deputy governor, also a woman, was popularly elected. The national Attorney General, the Chief Justice of the National Court, the Chief Magistrate, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and 5 of the seven permanent national secretaries ( e.g., Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture; Minster of Tourism, etc.) are all women. Even 14 of the 17 international students now studying to pass the bar in Turks and Caicos, are young females (They still wear the old British powdered wigs for court in TCI). It’s apparently tough nowadays to exert any kind of male dominance in political and legal affairs in the island country.
That may become very problematic in the near future, as the country’s population is in the midst of a big demographic change. Official population figures currently show that the indigenous TCI population is already a minority population. Less than one-third of this group, or approximately 12,000 were British Overseas Territories citizens, also called Belongers. Another 11,000 of the population are Haitians, about 1,500 are from the Dominican Republic, 1,700 are from Jamaica, less than 1,000 are from the United States , another 524 from The Bahamas, 381 from the United Kingdom; 374 from Guyana, and 262 from other countries.
The female dominated government will have to be very efficient and relatively scandal-free to resist the pressures of this population change, but we’re betting that they will do it. TCI is ushering in a new governmental model and we think it will stand up very well. Go TCI !
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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