Duke files police report against resigned PDP deputy

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PDP leader Watson Duke

PROGRESSIVE Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke has filed a police report over the behaviour of his recently resigned deputy leader, Kezel Jackson.

Duke said he remains unfazed and focused on winning all of the Port of Spain electoral districts, currently held by the People’s National Movement (PNM), in the country’s upcoming Local Government election.

Saying that Jackson had threatened to resign as deputy leader on several occasions, Duke claimed she was “out of control” during her tenure to the point where “I do not want to be in the same space with her.”

He said he has since filed a police report detailing what he considered inappropriate conduct during her tenure.

He posted the station receipt on Facebook which showed the report was made at 12.30pm on February 9, 2023 at the San Juan Police Station.

Jackson later responded in a video post to her WhatsApp. “The Grammy goes to Watson Solomon Duke. I have nothing to say, I don’t have to make a defence. You will live with that. Have a good one and believe me, I love you dearly.” she said.

In a post Wednesday on her Facebook page, Jackson said she had resigned from the PDP with immediate effect. She added she can no longer support Duke.

“Mr Watson Duke is not stable enough to have my genuine support as DPL (deputy political leader),” she said.

Jackson said Duke’s behaviour “is one that speaks first and thinks after, too impulsive and grossly disrespectful.

“He has made every effort to tarnish my name and public credibility. I will no longer accept or continue to lie to the public and myself.”

Jackson urged Duke to seek help, saying the PDP had great potential.

“He could have built something great or even become the Prime Minister. He needs to take some personal introspection.”

But Jackson said as a deputy leader, she was not blameless.

RESIGNED: Kezel Jackson

“I am not without fault and I will accept some responsibility since my behaviour on a personal level with Mr Duke was inappropriate and morally wrong.” She did not elaborate on what the inappropriate behaviour entailed.

She thanked Duke for the opportunity to serve her country and people.

In a video response on his Facebook page, Duke said he bore no animosity toward Jackson.

“I have no hate towards her.”

Saying he has always been a “focused guy,” Duke said he had no time for trivial matters.

Whether it’s trade unionism or politics, he said, “I don’t lose direction.

“This is why I am successful.”

Duke, the electoral representative for Roxborough/Argyle, is a former president of the Public Services Association.

He said despite the turmoil in the PDP, the party was still loved and admired in Tobago.

Duke believes that admiration is allowing him to make political inroads in Trinidad.

“Let me say to you, the people of Trinidad and Tobago, that there is an election coming up in the next six months. I expect there is a local government election coming up very soon and they want to announce it.

“But to announce it they must have the PDP in disarray because in my heart I want to take Port of Spain from the PNM. That is my main goal, to take Port of Spain, all 14 electoral districts.”

He added, “People have not voted for a long time in local government. Only the senior folks who are hardcore PNM or UNC will come out. But this time I am saying to the young people, let’s bring the government down to you. Let’s make local government government that is local. Let’s fight for change.”

He said he expects there will be many distractions “but I remain focused.”

Saying he believes he was blessed and anointed by God for this purpose, Duke added, “If God had blessed me and anointed me then nobody could hamper me. They can’t stop that which God has sent forward. There is no fear in my heart.”

Duke told Jackson he loved her as a human being.

Last September, Jackson called on Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to apologise to Duke after the latter posted a video in which he criticised the THA for its perceived neglect of members of the Roxborough Folk Performers, who had gone to New York to perform at a cultural event.

She told Augustine not to “cut off the hand that gave you the crown.”

Duke subsequently fired Augustine, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael and Alicia Patterson as deputy leaders. With Jackson’s resignation, the PDP does not have any deputy leaders.

On December 4, almost one year after the party’s landslide 14-1 victory over the PNM in the December 6, 2021, THA election, Augustine and the THA executive resigned from the PDP and have since declared themselves independents.

Several of the PDP’s executive members have also resigned within the past few months.