Augustine: Tobago has to mash some toes to progress

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Shaw Park Cultural Complex was decorated and lit red, white and black on Sunday to celebrate Trinidad and Tobago’s 60th independence anniversary. – David Reid

Tobago will have to mash some toes if it intends to achieve its true potential.

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine made the statement as he addressed Monday’s Independence People’s Gala at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.

Augustine told Tobagonians that it is time to forge ahead.

“It is time for us to step up our game, and that means that we have to make some progressive steps forward. It means that we would have to mash some toes in stepping forward – but let’s mash the toes and move forward.

“It means that we would have to deviate from some things that have become traditional and put on and adopt some new approaches. It means that we have to take some steps that no one thought possible or that others would think we’re just crazy.”

He said no country ever gets to a progressive state without taking bold moves. He said he hopes that in the 60th year of independence, the island is ready to take bolder moves. He reiterated his call for a resolution on Tobago’s self-governance.

“If ever there is a country that loves to procrastinate, it is TT. At 60 years, one would think that by now we would have gotten it right. By now we would have looked across the Commonwealth League of Nations, we would have looked across the world and we would have sourced examples of countries that are able to decentralise power and stay together.

“Somehow at age 60, we still behave childish when it comes to the issue of greater autonomy for Tobago.”

He added, “We are going to make a collective effort in ensuring that we correct a historic injustic and that TT can truly stand side by side and not one behind the other.”

He said the Progressive Democratic Patriots has been given the mandate to make that happen.

:“You went to the polls not so long ago and we all decided that we wanted something that was radically different than what we had. We needed a radically new direction and please allow us to take those radical steps.

“It might mean taking some of you kicking and screaming towards that pathway, but we absolutely have to get it done.”

Recounting the bible story of Nehemiah who supervised the rebuilding of Jerusalem, Augustine said, “I hope in this our 60th year, Tobago is prepared to pray, to build and to fight.”