Watson Duke at the PDP office in Barataria. – Photo by Sureash Cholai
A prolonged power struggle between Democratic Progressive Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Farley Augustine took a shocking twist on Thursday.
Duke, the party’s leader, announced he has resigned as deputy Chief Secretary of the THA.
At a press conference at the party’s Barataria office on Thursday morning, Duke pledged not to fight Augustine.
“You want to be one boss, one chief, one leader – go ahead. I hope you can deliver on your mandate, because we will hold you accountable.”
His resignation came two days after Augustine challenged Duke to bring a motion of no confidence against him in the THA.
Contacted for a comment on Augustine’s challenge later that day, Duke told Newsday he had “no interest.”
But on Thursday he broke his silence, saying he would not be muted on matters that are important to Tobagonians.
The spat between the two men started after Augustine announced at a post-Executive media briefing last Thursday that Duke’s position in the THA would be under review.
Duke had publicly condemned his colleagues for allegedly leaving a group of Tobagonian performers stranded in New York.
In response to Augustine’s announcement, Duke warned of the repercussions of challenging him as PDP founder and political leader.
At the press conference on Thursday Duke further accused his THA colleagues of betraying Tobagonians and using the party to get hold of the THA.
He said, “We promised Tobagonians we would put them first because they were tired of politicians putting them last.
“I will not be a part of an executive run by a child and his friends that do not know how to serve. You want to be big, be big –but do not abuse public funds,” Duke warned Augustine.
“I will sit on the opposite side – but I will not sit with the PNM. It will be Watson Duke representing the people, and Farley and friends on the other side…
“When Watson Duke moves away, he carries the PDP with him. Wherever I am is the PDP. It is owned by me. There was no group when I started, under the streetlight.”