I am writing this in the midst of five days of doing nothing in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The specific details of my trip are of no concern to my reader(s), but I have learned a few interesting factoids about this place. I had actually never heard of these islands before we started planning the honeymoon a few months ago, but I would not mind staying here a few more years.
– The Turks & Caicos are a British Overseas Territory, like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and others. Aside from tourism, its economy is largely based on banking, which also gives it much in common with the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
– They are geologically part of the same island chain as The Bahamas.
– The UK government suspended the islands’ government in 2009 amid accusations of corruption, imposing direct control over the territory. It restored local control in 2012. As a tourist, you don’t get much of a whiff of these goings-on.
– This is definitely not the gun-crazy United States. In April 2013, police arrested two Americans in separate incidents, an 80 year-old from Florida and a 60 year-old Texan, at the Providenciales Airport (where we arrived on Tuesday.) Both are accused of trying to smuggle a single bullet out of the islands. Not a gun, a bullet. The Royal Turks and Caicos Island Police Force put it in appropriately unfamiliar terms (to American ears, anyway):
If you suspect or know of anyone in possession of an illegal or imitation firearm; or ammunition, DO NOT approach or try to apprehend them. Call the Police on 911
They were each allowed to go home, but must return to the islands on June 7 so a judge can decide whether to drop the charges or commence proceedings that could result in five-year prison sentences. For a society that derives upwards of 80% of its revenue from tourism, this might not be good.
Hey, didn’t you say something about Canada?
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot. Apparently Canada has explored the possibility of Turks & Caicos becoming a new province several times in the past century. The Turks and Caicos Islanders seem to favor the idea by a wide majority, and it could have quite a few advantages for Canada (aside from the obvious having a warm place to hang out.) Canada has hemmed and hawed on the issue for what appears to be a multitude of complicated domestic political issues. Not that I know much of anything about the issues, but I say go for it! (If the idea of Canada having a province in the Caribbean seems odd, ahem, Hawaii.)