Tsoiafatt-Angus slams Chief Sec, ready to lead autonomy quest

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Innovative Democratic Alliance leader Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus – File photo

POLITICAL leader of the Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA) Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus has expressed her willingness to lead the fight in pushing the Tobago Autonomy Bill further.

Speaking during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Scarborough on Tuesday, Tsoiafatt-Angus endorsed public relations officer Kaye Trotman’s sentiments, saying she can no longer afford to extend any chances to the current administration.

She said it is “painful to witness the hard work of past leaders and people of this country being washed down the drain only because one man believes he holds absolute power and possesses all the answers.”

She spoke of the island’s call for internal self-government, recalling when THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine “casually mentioned” that he was sending amended autonomy documents to Trinidad during the recent funeral of the island’s first chief secretary, Hochoy Charles.

“In the last couple of weeks, my frustration has grown to anger, since it is obvious that he never bothered to consult with the people. After two years of wasting time, playing games with the Autonomy Bill, he is now determined to rush God only knows what documents to Trinidad without consulting Tobagonians.

“Is this dictatorship, stupidity or downright disrespect? Take your pick. Whatever it is, it is time for it to stop.”

She said the Autonomy Bill is not about one man, one woman or even one party, noting that this is Tobago’s people’s business, as she called on Augustine to meet with all of Tobago.

“If Chief Secretary Farley attempts to send that document without talking to Tobago, we are sure I would be at the forefront of leading the protest against such a thoughtless and careless move.”

She said instead of recklessly sending papers to Trinidad, Augustine should first appoint a task force for consultations across both Trinidad and Tobago before the amendments go any further. She said after consultations, substantial changes would be required to be made to the bills in Parliament which would require mature leadership to engage Trinidadians.

“Herein lies the other challenge. This chief secretary has spent the last two years cussing Trinidad, calling for war on Trinidadians, talking loosely without substance, and losing credibility with both the government and the opposition.

“Do we really expect them to hear him out? He has disqualified himself from leadership and leading the process. Loose talk has no place in serious business.”

Tobago, she said needs to put forward its best and most capable human resource to meet the challenge to fight for greater autonomy. With this in mind, she said as a former presiding officer and “someone who has demonstrated tact and fearlessness over the years,” she feels duty-bound to offer her service and her skills to Tobago and the country.

Trotman said Tobago is in crisis.

“I see this as a day of reckoning, a moment when the IDA cannot and will not sit by quietly and watch this administration literally drag Tobago down a slippery slope of destruction. Tobago is in crisis. We are at a watershed moment that demands decisive action.”

She said the party is sounding the alarm bell that the current situation is dire and no longer tenable. She said she is aware the Autonomy Bill is one of the instances that can trigger (election) action.

“I want to implore Tobagonians: we need to think wisely. It’s not just about getting two steps.

“This is the time in the history of TT where the development of the economy of the country is critical and where Tobago needs to play its part in the development of the country of TT. We need to get autonomy right – not just for Tobago only. For Tobago, yes, but for TT.

“If we don’t get this right, I dare say TT as a nation will not get it right in terms of restructuring their economy. We need to get it right once and for all so that we can get on with the business of the sustained development of Tobago and by extension Trinidad.”