The Turks and Caicos Islands will be governed by its first female premier after the main opposition party dealt a major upset to the ruling party in Thursday’s general elections.
The People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), led by Attorney Sharlene Cartwright Robinson, won 10 seats including four at-large seats, while the ruling Progressive National Party won five, outgoing Premier Rufus Ewing confirmed to the Miami Herald.
Ewing conceded defeat Friday after results were announced, and said he would be resigning as PNP leader.
“It was never my intention to make a career out of politics. I was here for a season to do my best for this country,” Ewing, a medical doctor, said. “Gave it my best against all odds and left my mark and now handing over the baton to others.”
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Ewing came into power in 2012, three years after Britain suspended the government and took day-to-day control of the popular celebrity hideaway 575 miles southeast of Miami, amid a widespread government corruption scandal. A number of former government ministers remain on trial including former Premier Michael Misick and his former minister McAllister “Piper” Hanchell.
Both men, who have professed their innocence, ran in the elections and lost. Misick placed 11th among the 21 at-large candidates.
Days before the vote, Hanchell tweeted an Instagram posting of Misick and former Haitian President Michel Martelly hugging. Misick wrote, “#thanks for your #endorsement #mrpresident #haiti.”
Martelly, who has returned to his former career as a singer, was in Providenciales to perform as Sweet Micky.
Among the current government ministers who managed to retain their seat was Misick’s older brother, former chief minister and current finance minister Charles Washington Misick.