Tobago PNM: THA Chief Sec must call elections

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

THA Minority Leader Kelvon Morris – PHOTO BY JEFF K MAYERS

PNM Tobago Council leader Ancil Dennis and Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Minority Leader Kelvon Morris have called on THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to call new elections.

They made this call after Augustine and 14 other THA members announced their resignation from the PDP on Monday.

The announcement was made in a signed letter, in which Augustine told Tobagonians he and his colleagues remained focused on serving them.

Dennis said Augustine and his colleagues cannot now promote themselves as independent political representatives.

“These individuals who resigned from their party the PDP, should not be called independent. They should be called defectors or nowherians.”

Dennis said it is a fact Augustine and his fellow executives campaigned as PDP candidates in 2021, so, he argued, “The right and ethical thing to do at this time is go back to the polls and run as independents if they want to be independents and be elected as such.”

He said Augustine and his allies also have the option of forming a new political party.

Not only does he believe Augustine should return to the polls, butDennis said the THA Act requires them to do so.

“According to the THA Act, the situation (Augustine and company remaining in office) can continue. But we have 16 defectors controlling the management of this island.”

Dennis described this as a dangerous situation.

“It would only contribute to an exacerbation of the chaos and confusion that we have had in the governance of Tobago for the last ten months.

Dennis, who was chief secretary in 2021, lamented that Tobagonians have been put in this position.

“They elected a PDP administration and the hope was that this administration would keep their promises and bring the kind of results that they promised to the people of Tobago. That has not happened.”

He said the only true independent candidate he knew who had contested a THA election was Deborah Moore-Miggins

“She contested that election as an independent candidate, won that election as an independent candidate and sat in the THA as an independent representative.”

In a video posted on Facebook, Morris, also of the PNM, said, “We have seen a declaration from the Chief Secretary that the PDP has collapsed.”

Morris said this was an admission that the PDP “failed the mandate that Tobagonians would have entrusted in them.”

He said Augustine and his colleagues are now “impostors occupying seats which the Tobagonians did not put them in.”

Morris called on Augustine to call new elections immediately.

“Farley must come to the House (Assembly), bring a resolution to which we all will agree, that we go back to the polls, and have fresh elections, so that Tobagonians can choose not just the persons, but the party that they want to govern them.”

Former THA minority leader Ashworth Jack disagreed with Dennis’s and Morris’s view of a governance crisis in Tobago as a result of the resignations.

“This does not change the operation of the assembly.”

He was not surprised by the resignations.

“No one should be surprised, based on what has been happening in the last couple months (in the PDP).”