Duke: Money spent on Tobago carnival could have fixed flooding, landslides

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PDP political leader Watson Duke who has resigned his post as THA Chief Secretary. FILE PHOTO –

PROGRESSIVE Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke says the $17.5 million which the THA spent on Tobago’s inaugural carnival from October 28-30 should have been used to address flooding and landslides across the island.

In a Facebook live video, Duke observed that the heavy rain on Thursday had again triggered flooding in several parts of Tobago, while the some people’s houses were on the verge of collapse owing to landslides.

“What is the Tobago House of Assembly doing about that?” he asked.

Duke claimed he spoke to Chief Secretary Farley Augustine about these issues before the carnival.

“I told him he had no right to spend $17.5 million on carnival. That should have been scrapped and the money used to take care of the landslides and protect the areas where the land is slipping so it does not continue to slip.”

He mentioned the road at Bad Rock, Belle Garden, which was blocked by a landslide on Monday.

“If that road is shut down, it is difficult to get to Speyside, Charlotteville. And the road between Roxborough and Bloody Bay is already damaged, which means that if there is a fire in Bloody Bay, a fire in L’Anse Fourmi, the chances of the Roxborough Fire Station getting over there is almost nonexistent. because you have to go all the way to Charlotteville to get to Castara.

“In the event of some violence that requires the police’s immediate attention, that which would have taken the police station in Roxborough perhaps about 15 minutes to get to L’Anse Fourmi, Bloody Bay, Parlatuvier and these areas, will take about an hour, because the road is blocked. The same for the fire services.”

Alluding to the PDP’s pre-THA election slogan of building Tobago child by child, family by family, village by village, he asked, “Is this the mandate that the Tobago people gave the PDP?”

Duke said Augustine and others who disapprove of his stance on issues could “get to hell out of my party.

“But do not remain in my party and do what you all want….People first, politics after. That is our mandate.”

Duke also said Augustine should not have attended the World Travel Market in England “while we are being troubled by the rain.

“The rain is fun for them, but for you, who are faced with an impending natural disaster, it is pain.”

The PDP leader also took the THA to task for failing to continue the party’s house-repair initiative.

“Now they are in office, now they have the Treasury, they are not fixing roofs, only talk.”

He accused them of insulting the intelligence of Tobagonians.

“You (Augustine) spent $17.5 million towards carnival, then turn around and say you need money for critical projects.

“What kind of child’s play is that? The thing you want, you spend it out, and then to come and say to people yuh gone looking for money – It is time to push back. It is time to say no. It is time to say we had enough.

“Spend the bloody money and fix people roof, fix people gap, fix people land that sliding away, fix the rivers. Fix the things.”

As the PDP-led THA approaches its first year in governance, Duke promised to “tighten the grip on them.

“I will not allow them to disrespect the people of Tobago who voted for the PDP. If allyuh don’t like the PDP, get to hell out and form allyuh own thing.”