Chief Secretary Farley Augustine during his budget presentation at the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough in June. FILE PHOTO/THA –
Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has dared Deputy Chief Secretary Watson Duke to bring a motion of no confidence against him at the next sitting of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) on September 22. But Augustine warned Duke that if the motion fails, he will demand his immediate removal.
Augustine was speaking on Tuesday on 195.5FM, six days after Duke, the political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), began publicly criticising the PDP-led THA and Augustine’s leadership.
The public feud began after Duke slammed the THA for “neglecting” and leaving 27 members of the Roxborough Folk Performers “hungry” and allegedly sleeping on the streets in New York.
Augustine has denied Duke’s version of what transpired and promised to review his responsibilities as Deputy Chief Secretary.
Duke later removed Augustine as deputy leader of the PDP.
On Tuesday, Augustine said he could not understand why Duke felt compelled to publicly criticise the assembly he is part of.
However, he said he welcomed the challenge to his leadership and if a motion of no confidence is brought against him, PDP assemblymen would be allowed to vote freely.
“I wish to also go out on a limb here and take a position that some may have advised me not to take.
“The House resumes on the 22nd of September and so there are a few hours from two days or so before a motion has to be entered for debate, and if the Deputy Chief Secretary feels so aggrieved, feels so disappointed in my leadership – I would remove the parliamentary whip from over his head and let him enter a motion of no confidence in me.
“I am giving him full privilege to do so, let him go right ahead. Mr Duke, go right ahead. But if he enters it and it is unsuccessful, I will demand his removal immediately.”