Augustine urges PDP supporters: 'Stand and resist' changes to THA Act

Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) deputy leader Farley Augustine says, “boss moves” are being made in silence as he called on Tobagonians to “stand and resist”.

On Wednesday, Augustine who retained the Speyside/L’Anse Fourmi/Parlatuvier electoral district in the January 25 THA elections updated Tobagonians on the status of the party’s action to break the six-six deadlock.

He said the PDP will push back against any and every attack on the island’s democracy, noting that it is now approaching one month since the THA Elections, but yet still, his team has not been able to get on with the business of transforming Tobago.

“We have been purposefully quiet for a while because boss moves are made in silence. You too Tobago have been quiet for a while, now we must end our silence. We have given those with power and authority enough opportunities to not abuse us and now that they’re insisting on this abusive form of governance, I urge you—stand and resist,” he said.

He said that by producing this stalemate the people of Tobago have now forced a national conversation on the governance model that the island wants.

“The truth is when you went to the polls on January 25, you did not vote for a hold over or rather a rollover executive council clan, however, that is what we have in the absence of new government. While there is a facade of care and concern about an effective and timely resolution, the life of the executive council is not a reflection of the legitimate will of the people as expressed by the incumbents’ overall mandate in the six-six result.”

Augustine said a rollover executive council could not satisfy the most important requirement of democracy in Tobago.

He said the current impasse preventing the election of a presiding officer further cements the need for Tobago’s autonomy. He accused the Prime Minister of using the Parliament to advance the agenda of the People’s National Movement (PNM) on the island.

Augustine reiterated the party’s call for the PM to meet with the PDP to discuss the way forward.

“We made a simple request of the Prime Minister. As a party, we understood very early on that notwithstanding what we desire, they would try to use the Parliament to work in the advantage. We have said to the Prime Minister, please if you’re going to Parliament to ask, you must consult first with both sides in Tobago.

“We know he has been colluding with him team on the other side, but we are still awaiting his call to consult with us. A call we would continue to wait on because he views those with a different viewpoint than his as imps and not even worthy of a conversation.”

Augustine said Dr Rowley had publicly said that he was not obligated to speak to anyone in the THA apart from the Chief Secretary but asked about those that represented the other half of the island.

“It is six for one, half a dozen for the other. No six is greater than the other six. And if the Prime Minister truly believes in democracy, the Prime Minister should speak to both sides.”

Augustine said Tobagonians wanted full autonomy, “Not this pulling out of one aspect of a proposed bill to serve a selfish desire.

Saying that the island had already waited for an “eternity,” Augustine asked how much longer should Tobagonians wait for autonomy.

“Why can’t the Parliament just give us our bill of rights and allow us in Tobago to build up the Government of our choosing?”

He said the stalemate should not be an opportunity to tamper with the THA Act for a simple-minded change such as just adding seats to prevent another tie, adding that the proposal to increase the number of seats from 12 to 15 was neither justified, nor would it prevent a deadlock in the future.

Noting that Tobago has had one party rule for the past 20 years, while this party also ruled simultaneously for 15 of those years in Trinidad, he added that little to nothing was done to update the THA Act.

“Now that the winds of change are blowing across Tobago, there is a mad rush, there is an illegal rush and an unethical rush to try to move the needle so that they can hold on to power.”

He called on Tobagonians to stand up and push back.

“We must not be bullied into accepting anything we are not comfortable with… Stand and push back because the only way we can truly transform this island is when we stand and push back.”

He added: “Stand and resist Tobago. Until we achieve the kind of governance, we deserve from the representation we can trust stand and resist. You have to take a stand today Tobago.”

The post Augustine urges PDP supporters: 'Stand and resist' changes to THA Act appeared first on Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

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