UTP leader urges new THA executive to do their jobs

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Unity of the People political leader Nickocy Phillips.

UNITY of the People political leader Nickocy Phillips is calling on the members of the newly reconfigured THA to do their jobs.

A media release from the Office of the Chief Secretary on May 13, announced several changes in the Farley Augustine-led administration, most notably the demotion of former Secretary of Community Development, Youth Development and Sport Terance Baynes to assistant secretary in the Division of Infrastructure, Quarries and Urban Development.

The infrastructure division’s former assistant secretary Joel Sampson replaced Baynes as secretary in the Division of Community Development. Several assistant secretaries were also shifted to other divisions.

Augustine also relinquished the position of Secretary of Finance, Trade and the Economy. A replacement is expected to be announced on July 1.

In a WhatsApp voice note on May 14, Phillips said while there was much speculation about the THA members whom some felt were likely to be shifted, “At the end of the day, the governance of Tobago has to continue and I believe that we, as citizens of Tobago in the Tobago space, let us continue to let the secretaries and assistance secretaries do the work that they were so elected to do and are not doing but they are still holding office.”

Noting some of the negative feedback to the reshuffle on social media, Phillips said all of the secretaries and assistant secretaries must perform for the benefit of the people.

“We chastise the shuffling of the assistant secretaries, one was demoted, one was promoted. But at the end of the day, incompetence and competence are two different things. It all depends on the secretaries and assistant secretaries to work in their portfolios and produce something good or continue to just stay there and draw a salary until your time comes to an end.”

Phillips said Tobago’s economy is still in limbo – a problem compounded by worsening crime.

“We have a crime situation on the island of Tobago that needs to be addressed and if the Chief Secretary cannot do so along with his secretaries, then we have to seek Trinidad’s help and by doing so, it calls for a roundtable discussion with all political parties.”

Phillips added, “That is one of the things, if I ever do get into office, my first meeting will be with all of the political parties in Trinidad and Tobago to discuss the way forward in terms of crime and economic growth and development.”

Phillips said developing the island should be uppermost in the minds of all of the island’s political leaders.

“I am calling on the calling on the PNM, PDP and IDA, let’s leave these people to do what they are doing. We have to decide on how to develop the island if given the opportunity to serve.”