Duke accused of humiliating woman on Facebook

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PDP political leader Watson Duke with a PDP flag during a walkabout recently in Roxborough/Argyle. PHOTO BY DAVID REID –

PNM Roxborough/Argyle candidate Nadine Stewart-Phillips has accused Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) leader Watson Duke of publicly humiliating a woman in the electoral district on social media “under the guise that he would have helped to rebuild her home.”

Addressing a political meeting in Roxborough on Tuesday night, Stewart-Phillips told supporters she met the woman during her first walkabout after being selected as the area’s candidate.

“On my very first walkabout, I met that woman in another community and we spoke and she walked away in tears, because after being degraded and humiliated all over Facebook and promised help from the ‘Facebook man,’ to date, she has received nothing,” she claimed.

Stewart-Phillips, who was rejected as the PNM’s candidate for the former Roxborough/Delaford seat in the run-up to the January 25 THA elections, said her heart went out to the woman.

“In that moment, I even forgot I was a politician and my profession kicked into gear (because many would know that I am a social scientist professional first?). I said to my campaign manager, ‘If it’s one thing that we must get done during this campaign, we must find a way to assist that young woman and her family.’”

Despite not currently being a member of the THA, Stewart-Phillips said, she has still been able to help the woman and her family.

“Without me having to call Clarence Jacob (Secretary of Settlements, Urban Renewal and Public Utilities), without me having to call Shamfa Cudjoe (Tobago West MP), to ask for help in (National Commission for) Self-Help, I can say to you this evening that through the generosity of the business community and my passionate plea, we have started to assist that young woman in only a matter of weeks.”

She said the new floor for the woman’s house was expected to be cast on Thursday.

“That is what we talk commitment PNM-style. I eh getting caught up in the old talk and the ole noise. I eh getting caught up in the fanfare. I am just working in silence and allow success to be my noise.”

Stewart-Phillips, who last served as assistant secretary in the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development, added, “This is the type of leadership and representation that I intend to take throughout this electoral district. Leadership by action, solutions-oriented. and I pledge my commitment that representation to the people of Roxborough/Argyle will come with a difference when you elect me as your assemblyman and next representative on December 6.”

She said she also learnt during her walkabouts that Duke, who is seeking another term as the area’s representative, has been absent from the electoral district.

“People have said to me, ‘I only see my representative if I happen to scroll through Facebook.’ That is not me saying so. That is what the residents have said to me as I have been walking.”

In her address, Stewart-Phillips also told Secretary of Sports and Youth Affairs Tracy Davidson-Celestine that residents are clamouring for an indoor sporting facility in Tobago East.

“We know that there is one in Scarborough, but we are starting the conversation here and now.

“As your representative, we will ensure that Roxborough/Argyle is the electoral district that will be identified for that indoor sporting facility. And allyuh have meh on record telling the political leader that this evening.”

The former tourism secretary said she also intends to tackle unemployment.

“As your representative, I intend to create a comprehensive database with everyone in my electoral district using the concept of asset-based community engagement, which will assist me in identifying resources and skills that already exist within the community, because I know that every community in this district has persons that can contribute to overall development.”

Stewart-Phillips said she also intends to collaborate with training providers and institutions on the relevant training to empower residents and make them more employable.

She said giving farmers greater access to land, rationalising land tenure and developing ship/fish depots are also on her agenda.

Stewart-Phillips said her approach to representation will be one of collaboration.

“Whatever will be done in this electoral district must be us working together.”