Duke on feud with Augustine: This is far from over

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Newly-appointed Deputy Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Dr Faith BYisrael stands next to her predeccesor Watson Duke during a special plenary sitting of the THA held at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex, on Monday. – David Reid

FORMER Deputy Chief Secretary Watson Duke has outlined that the current dispute between himself and THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine is “far from over.”

Duke, who is still leader of the PDP and electoral representative for Roxborough/Argyle, spoke with members of the media on Monday after a new Deputy Chief Secretary was elected at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.

He said: “I feel vindicated. It has been nine months and a lot of things are giving birth (sic). What is giving birth is quite ugly in the Tobago space and it’s funny that after the birth process has taken place, Tobagonians are now experiencing morning sickness.

“But this would eventually go rough and they would see the ugly truth being created by Mr Augustine who had everything, has lost nothing whatsoever, but he wants more. He wants more. Greed is a terrible thing.”

Questioned about BYisrael’s appointment as his replacement, Duke described it as a mutiny.

“It is funny that we just celebrated 60 years of independence – independent thought – a gala event – and right on the heels of that, one of the biggest mutinies taking place. One of the most ridiculous mutinies…and I ask myself: why is this, why are you trying to take over something you have, why are you trying to make something ugly that is pretty, why are you trying to create panic and hysteria in the public domain? What does it allow you to have that you now have?”

He warned: “I don’t think they have hijacked the party, because the party is embodied in Watson Solomon Duke. Hence the name Spartans came about.

“They are not Spartans, they are jellyfish.

“What is going to happen from now on is a taking off of the mask, because beyond this charade of grasping power, there lie serious issues for Tobagonians to consider.

“One is whether or not the PDP who have won the election against the PNM, whether the PDP mandate is real. Whether or not people before politics is taking place, or politics before people is taking place.”

He said he is quite concerned that more responsibilities have been placed on the shoulders of the executive.

“I ask myself, who is the performing secretary among them? Which one is really fulfilling the mandate? How much has healthcare improved, how much has housing improved, how much has community development improved, how much has infrastructure improved? and we have not seen anything different. We have voted PDP on the principle of fixing this, fixing the issues.”

On the issue of his public falling-out with Augustine over funds given to the Roxborough Folk Performers for a trip to New York. Duke said he would have expected the chief secretary to deal with itdifferently. “One would have thought that if the Chief Secretary wants to fix an issue, he would have said, ‘Let’s talk.’”He warned again, “This is far from over. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Warring is one thing I do, and wining victories is the next thing I do.

“But this time, this isn’t a house divided against itself. This is where a house within a house has separated themselves.

“His action the next day says a lot about (Augustine’s) character. What he should have said is, ‘This is a political situation; my political leader and I would deal with this matter, and we would fix it.

“What Farley Chavez Augustine has done today is to commit suicide. There is no way in Tobago, and in the Tobago space, that anybody is going to vote for him in any election. He cannot win his electoral district any more, and none of his colleagues can win anything again. What they have betrayed is innocent blood.

He described the assembly as a pregnant woman who has given birth. “Now that nine months has passed – the baby has now been birthed, it is still young, but people will see what ugly child this thing would grow up to become and they would blame the father – Farley Chavez Augustine. They would see what ugly child he has created.”