Tobago civil groups to launch online THA review

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Members of the media outside the THA Assembly Legislature Building, Scarborough, Tobago. FILE PHOTO/JEFF MAYERS –

THE Tobago Council of Elders and CivilNET have prepared an online citizens’ poll to gauge the performance of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) over the past year.

The anonymous poll is expected to be launched by December 12 and can be accessed via https://forms.gle/FBFTsh5LwQVis9QV8.

The Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) claimed victory over the People’s National Movement (PNM) in the December 6, 2021 THA election, winning 14 of the 15 electoral districts.

In a statement on Saturday, CivilNET chairman Rodney Piggott and Council of Elders chair Reginald Dumas said towards the first 100 days of the new THA administration, which was sworn in on December 12, 2021, CivilNET discussed a review of the THA after it had been in office for at least six months to a year.

They said in early September the idea of conducting a citizens’ first year review was put on the table. But towards the end of October, CivilNET sought the advice of some of its Tobago elders and formed a joint planning committee with the Council of Elders to plan and implement the review.

“It was determined that the use of an online poll will be the most efficient means of reaching a vast number of persons who are willing to participate and let their voiced be heard,” the men said.

The polls questions were received from Tobagonians.

“They were thoroughly reviewed for appropriate content and researched for accuracy in details by the joint planning committee, who devoted several hours of time to this project.”

Dumas, a retired head of the public service, later told Newsday the poll will not only gauge the performance of the executive but the Minority. The PNM has two representatives in the THA, Minority Leader Kelvon Morris and Councillor Petal Daniel-Benoit.

He said the intention of the poll is to involve civil society in the proper functioning of the island.

“What we do normally in this country is have elections, talk about how we have a right to vote, which is fine. And then after we vote, the people get into office and we carry on, write letters in the press basically grumbling behind their backs about what they are doing,” he said.

“We want to make it clear that just as people have right to vote, so they have a responsibility to supervise the behaviour and the actions of the people they have voted for in the best interest of the society.

“It is not just enough to vote. People have a responsibility to examine how people behave, examine if people are trying to fulfil their promises, because they make a lot of promises all the time.”