Deputy Political Leader of the PDP Farley Augustine says over the coming days, the PDP will push back against any and every attack on the island’s democracy.
Augustine addressed the public via social media on Wednesday evening and said it’s been close to one month since the THA Elections, however his team has been unable to get on with the business of transforming Tobago.
He said the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is yet to be fully constituted after three separate meetings due to “several illegalities and procedural errors on the part of the Clerk of the House.”
He said, “So egregious were the actions, inactions and mis-directions of the Clerk of the House, that on Monday 1, February, the elected PDP Assemblymen had to take the unprecedented step of staging a sit in at the chambers to highlight the deadly cocktail of a spitefully nonchalant Clerk of the House and a belligerent status quo.”
Describing the decision taken by the PNM to remain in office during the impasse as a “holdover,” he reiterated his belief that there are no mechanisms to hold an executive that has “consistently demonstrated a lack of accountability, accountable.”
“While we were promised prudent restraint in governance, we see people being frenziedly hired as daily rated workers in the department of public works without any due process and there is also a mad rush to deplete the development budget of the THA in hopes of winning the next election,” he said.
He also claimed that while the country was given a period for the issue to be resolved the Prime Minister used Parliament to authorise the “gerrymandering of boundaries to suit his party’s nefarious plans.”
Augustine said the PDP asked to be consulted should the Cabinet return to Parliament with amendments to the THA Act, however the PDP was not consulted.
He said that approach is undemocratic and not the best solution.
“This Tobago Bill proposed two houses, with the second house being independently structured so as to create checks and balances? Do you know that the thought process behind 15 seats was to cater for population growth and the returning of the diaspora home; none of which has happened to justify the 15 seats in the now proposed bill?”
While 15 seats cater to a two- party system, he questioned what will happen in a three- way tie. Augustine said following the one-party executive rule under the existing THA model has effectively wasted four decades of development opportunity for Tobago.
He said, “Two decades under DAC/NAR and two decades under the PNM. What is more, in its 20 year rule, the PNM, having 15 of those years with PNM rule in Trinidad did little to update the THA Act or to fight for more resources to develop the Tobago economy.”
He urged Tobagonians to remain resolute and not be “bullied into accepting things we are uncomfortable with”.
Augustine called on Tobagonians to “stand and resist” by engaging in activities such as writing letters to the editors and insisting on good governance by the various area representatives until “we achieve the type of governance the island deserve.”