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Turks and Caicos Islands

House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of Lord Jones of Cheltenham Lord Jones of Cheltenham Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands regarding the new draft constitution; and what have been the results of those discussions.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

There has been a comprehensive 15 month process of consultation on revisions to the 2006 Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution.

In early 2010 a UK adviser, Kate Sullivan, was appointed to make recommendations for constitutional and electoral reform. She published an initial set of recommendations in July 2010 and consulted widely, including holding public meetings, in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Political parties, civil society and members of the public had an opportunity to comment. Revised recommendations were published in November 2010 and a draft constitution was published on 8 March.

A team from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office visited the Turks and Caicos Islands in May for public consultations on the draft constitution. The team held public meetings on all the permanently populated islands and met with a wide range of Turks and Caicos Islands society, including political parties, local communities, the Advisory Council and the Consultative Forum. It heard suggestions on many issues, including the voting system, a transparent path to citizenship and the powers of the governor.

Following those meetings, the Minister for the Overseas Territories invited a delegation from the Turks and Caicos Islands to visit London from 15 to 16 June so that he could hear first hand their views on the draft constitution. The delegation included representatives of political parties, the Advisory Council, Consultative Forum, the church, the youth ambassador and the chair of the All Party Commission. The talks concluded with the announcement of a final constitution package.

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