For 15 months, I sat with many of you;in your homes, on your porches, and many places around our beautiful Islands. I asked you to give me one of your precious votes and to give the other 5 to my fellow All Island team members and one to our constituency candidate.
I did not do this lightly and understand the weight of each and every one of your votes. I campaigned on being a person of integrity that would stand up for the rights of the people; even when standing sometimes means having to do it on my own.
You see, I am a numbers man and on February 22nd, I sat down to look at the numbers to understand the analytics and to get a feel for where I needed to make improvements for the next general election. At that point I discovered, based on the spreadsheet provided to me by the elections Supervisor Dudley Lewis, that I underperformed my counterparts in ED6 – The Bight.
After reviewing my numbers for each polling station in ED6 and noting the difference in what was officially reported, I immediately contacted Mr. Lewis and he stated he would investigate the next morning. On Feb 24th, I received a call from Mr. Lewis confirming that based on his investigation with the returning officer of ED6 – that they found the error.
He noted that a report had been written by the returning officer, and it would be corrected after a discussion with the Attorney General on how they could go about correcting this error.
I then had phone calls and/or written correspondences with Mr. Lewis every single day from February 24 to March 3, 2021. Now, imagine my shock and total disbelief, to then be told that I missed my window of opportunity to petition the court on this issue, and that after this investigation and communication with the Supervisor of Election, whom had confirmed the error and had a written report about it.
I had the pleasure of seeing this report with my own eyes on a visit to Mr. Lewis’ office on March 4th, 2021. Not then, nor now- have I had any desire to petition the courts for a re-count in ED6 or any other constituency.More so, I was never advised to do so by Mr. Lewis or anyone else. To this end, I took the Supervisor of Elections at his word that this was a simple accounting error. To which, I allowed his process to be done in the correct way, as I deemed he and his office would operate in decency, fairness and integrity.
82 Turks and Caicos Islanders that chose to vote for me in The Bight had that right taken away from them. Today it is me; tomorrow it may be someone else. Our electoral system needs to be assessed. It is not meant to be an honor system.
The checks and balances need to be in place to be able to double check each and every number called in. When a mistake is confirmed, it should not be the candidates’ battle to correct it. The onus must be that theElections Office, the officials working therein and those that are annex to it, to ensure that corrections be made and that a check and balance is put in for the future. It is not only imperative to be seen doing what is right; it is a must to always do right. As Martin Luther King Jnr once said: “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
On a personal note, this situation has made many uncomfortable. Change comes from discomfort and discomfort brings about change. For me, this matter has great discomfort to my family after a period of great sacrifice. A sacrifice to put myself forward to serve the interest of the people of these Turks and Caicos. I do not take this call lightly.As a man, a father, a parliamentarian and a patriot, I lead my life with decency, integrity and respect for others; and, most especially, the systems put in place to govern us and whereby which we must hold to account.
My hope is that we as a nation can see the bigger issue here. This is not Jamell against the Elections Office or the officials therein. This is Hon Jamell R Robinson Snr doing exactly what he signed up to do, fighting to ensure our country leads by example.
An example of being decent, having integrity, being accountable and respectful of our countryman and women. Unfortunately, often times flagging up errors and insisting on persons and institutions be held accountable do bring about discomfort. However, sometimes this is what having integrity looks like and often times, it is. As Parliamentarians and citizens, it behooves us, to ensure that we all operate in space that is right. This is the only way we can move forward to a unified and just country.
That said, it is imperative that each and every vote of my fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders should be accounted for. They did their civic duty, and now it is time that they be done right by those entrusted with that count.