Tobago public: We didn’t vote for independents

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PDP supporters in euphoria after winning the THA elections on the night of December 6, 2021. FILE PHOTO/DAVID REID –

The people of Tobago are calling for a fresh mandate.

This was the prevailing sentiment on the streets of Scarborough on Monday following mass resignations from the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) by the THA Executive Council. The PDP won the December 6, 2021 THA election 14-1 but a rift between Chief Secretary Farley Augustine and PDP leader Watson Duke became irreconcilable.

Mt St George resident Oswin Melville told Newsday: “We voted for the PDP, so I think they should think of calling an election.”

Errol Gibbs of Les Coteaux said: “I really don’t want to say too much but a man who sang for nothing would fall for anything. What is to be would be.”

One Mt Pelier man, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said: “Basically if the entire team resign from the PDP, while I don’t understand the reasoning for that, send us back to the polls and let us the people decide. You all walk around and ask people for vote under a PDP banner, so if you’re no longer PDP, what are you?”

A Carnbee man described the issue as sensitive.

“This is a complex matter; we went together as something, people are expecting you to perform as that something. The unit break up – what next?

“People didn’t vote for independent people, they voted for you because you are a part of an organisation where they were of the view that collectively you all would come together to see about me. I put you there to see about me but no, you’re seeing about yourself. The law must come in, whether it is constitutional or not.”

Alluding to the falling out between Augustine and Duke, he added, “There is a thing called ungratefulness. As bad as it may have been they could have washed their dirty linen in private, but that didn’t work out because my mother used to say plenty man rat can’t live in one hole.”

Moriah resident Vernon Thomas still believes there is room for reconciliation and sees no need for fresh elections.

“I love the PDP but if they’re doing craziness, the same thing that we do to the PNM, we would do them. I don’t think we need an election at this time – they need to deal with their shortcomings.”

Augustine announced the resignations on Monday morning by releasing the resignation letter and a statement.

The resignations took effect from December 1.

Augustine said he and his colleagues in the assembly took the collective decision to resign.

He added: “I wish to assure the people of Tobago that we remain completely focused on the business of the Tobago House of Assembly and serving the people of Tobago. I also wish to state that this transition will be seamless and swift, and I will address this matter further in due course. We reiterate our commitment to building a stronger, more sufficient Tobago.”

The letter was signed by:Chief Secretary Farley AugustineDeputy Chief Secretary Dr Faith BYisraelSecretary of Tourism Tashia BurrisSecretary of Education Zorisha HackettSecretary of Infrastructure Trevor JamesSecretary of Community Development Terance Baynes,

Secretary of Settlements, Public Utilities and Urban Renewal Ian PollardSecretary for Food Security Nathisha Charles-PantinAssistant Secretary of Food Security Nigel TaittAssistant Secretary of Tourism Megan Morrison

Assistant Secretary for Settlements Niall GeorgeAssistant Secretary of Education Orlando KerrAssistant Secretary for the Office of the Chief Secretary Certica Williams-OrrAssistant Secretary for Community Development Wane ClarkeAssistant Secretary for Health Sonny CraigAssistant Secretary for Infrastructure Joel Sampson