Duke: I will fight for Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

File photo: Watson Duke

POLITICAL Leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) and electoral representative for Roxborough/Argyle Watson Duke has said he will continue his fight for ordinary Tobagonians.

Duke was responding to THA councillor and Assistant Secretary of Education Orlando Kerr’s call for a more mature level of politics on the island.

During the Full Disclosure programme on Tobago Updates recently, Kerr condemned a video Duke posted in which he was speaking to a group of young people in the Goodwood area.

In the video clip – which has since been posted to social media – Duke is heard telling the youths: “We want jobs, we want opportunities as anybody else – that is what we vote for. That is what we promise allyuh.

“I am saying to you all, later on in this month, (on) an unmarked day, I am going to pull up just like this with a maxi and we going in town. Not to fight inno, but to say, ‘Hey, we want jobs.’ Unless the country knows that we want jobs, they’ll feel that everything nice, inno.”

However, speaking with Newsday Tobago on Tuesday, Duke said: “My colleague Kerr is definitely out of touch and has not gained the requisite experience to be called an assemblyman. “Therefore when we spoke about the youths’ cry for social justice and the need for employment, he spoke as one deprived of the feelings of an assemblyman for his constituency.

“He is a councillor, and he has no responsibilities for anyone save and except himself. However, I, as an assemblyman, I feel it for my constituents, the people in my electoral district and the neighbouring districts. I spoke on behalf of all those persons who voted for the PDP to fix it.”

Duke claimed the assemblymen who were voted in on a PDP ticket had all betrayed the trust of Tobago.

“They ran out, became independent and now they are operating on the mantra ‘Every man for himself and God for us all.’ I call upon them to fix the issues in Tobago, or else Tobago will fix it, and when that happens, they will be outside the office gnashing their teeth, begging for an opportunity to come back in, just like the PNM.”

He added: “They are given a chance now to fix the unemployment issues in Tobago and do so quickly, do so permanently and do so with a smile on their faces. Stop the squirming, stop the games. Tobagonians are wide open and they are intellectually sound as to what the economy can handle and what it cannot handle.”

Duke claimed there continues to be a haemorrhage of money across the island which could have been used to employ people.

“Some $20 million to build two brides to go from Sangster’s Hill to Dutch Fort; $25 million to replace some four steps in King Peter’s Bay Road; $25 million to do some half-wash woodwork in Kendell – and they keep spending money. That is about $75 million, and you are telling me the annual budget for URP is $18 million.

“You know how much people could have been employed here with that amount of money? Nine thousand people could have been employed here in the URP, because 3,000 are employed with an $18 million per year URP budget from Central Government. Do the m.”

Duke said he still intends to bring a maxi taxi later this month to take youths into town: “Not to fight, inno, but to say, ‘We want jobs.’

“The maxi-taxi trip is still on. We would choose our date when we would demonstrate for social justice.”