Norman Saunders (politician)

Norman B. Saunders (born 1943) is a former politician from the Turks and Caicos Islands. He was the island territory's Chief Minister from 1980 to 1985. Saunders is also the longest-serving Member of Parliament in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the first Chief Minister to win back-to-back elections with a resounding 8-3 victories at the polls in 1980 and 1984, the only ever politician in the nation to win as an independent candidate, and the first leader of the opposition.

Norman Saunders
3rd Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands
In office
4 November 1980 – 28 March 1985
Preceded byOswald Skippings
Succeeded byNJS Francis
Leader of the Progressive National Party
In office
29 September 1976 – 28 March 1985
Succeeded byNJS Francis
Member of Parliament for
South Caicos South
In office
2 February 1995 – 14 August 2009
Preceded byEmily Saunders
Member of Parliament for
South Caicos
In office
29 September 1976 – 28 March 1985
Succeeded byEmily Saunders
In office
9 November 2012 – 15 December 2016
Succeeded byRuth Blackman
Personal details
Born (1942-10-27) October 27, 1942 (age 78)
Political partyProgressive National Party
Spouse(s)Emily Saunders
ChildrenErwin Jay Saunders

Initial political careerEdit

Saunders was Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos in 1985 for the Progressive National Party.[1]

Conspiracy convictionEdit

Saunders was arrested in March 1985 together with Commerce and Development Minister Stafford Missick. Saunders was alleged by the US Drug Enforcement Administration to have accepted $30,000 from undercover agents to ensure safe passage of drugs by permitting safe stopover refuelling of drug flights from Colombia to the United States. Video evidence showed Saunders accepting $20,000 from an agent. Saunders was convicted in July 1985 of conspiracy, though he was acquitted of the charge of conspiring to import drugs into the United States (which Missick was also convicted of). He was sentenced to eight years in prison and fined $50,000.[2]

Later political careerEdit

In January 1995 Saunders was elected to the Parliament by just six votes. His former party, the Progressive National Party, had disowned him, forcing him to run as an independent.[2]


  1. ^ Nordheimer, Jon (March 6, 1985). "HEAD OF ISLES NEAR BAHAMAS ACCUSED OF DRUG PLOT". New York Times. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Griffith, Ivelaw L. (May 1, 1997). "Illicit Arms Trafficking, Corruption, and Governance in the Caribbean". Penn State International Law Review. 15 (3). pp. 495–6.
Preceded by
Oswald Skippings
Chief Minister of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Succeeded by
Nathaniel Francis