Dr Agatha Carrington has resigned as a Tobago House of Assembly (THA) councillor and Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development.
Her resignation took effect from February 28 and comes three days before recently-elected head of the Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement (PNM), Tracy Davidson-Celestine, assumes the position of councillor after beating Kelvin Charles in the internal party election on January 26.
Contacted on her decision to demit office before the end of term yesterday, Carrington said: “I have nothing more to add to what I have already said.”
Probed further on who would manage the division as the THA continues to transition to its new leadership, Carrington said, “I am no longer part of the executive so I do not know anything.”
Commenting on Carrington’s resignation via a press release, however, Charles said her “combination of experience, passion and personal drive to improve the health sector has redounded to the benefit of Tobagonians.”
Carrington was appointed a THA councillor and subsequently the Health Secretary by Charles in January 2017. She was one of three councillors appointed by Charles when he became Chief Secretary.
But Carrington’s tenure was not all smooth sailing. She frequently came under fire for poor management of the island’s health system and drew scathing criticism in 2018 after making statements about the personal life of THA Minority Councillor Dr Faith B Yisrael.
During the THA’s 11th Plenary Sitting of the 2017-2021 period, Carrington, in an apparent reference to her opposition colleague’s personal life, said: “You (Dr B Yisrael) are bitter that you cannot sleep, if you bitter like that now nobody will make you sweet far more to make you a parent.”
Carrington later issued an apology, stating the comments were not meant to offend, embarrass or hurt any of her colleagues in the Assembly. She shot into the spotlight again in 2019 when a Facebook petition to the Office of the Prime Minister to have her removed as Secretary for Health garnered 3,104 supporters. Dr B Yisrael openly supported the petition.
Reached for a reaction to Carrington’s resignation yesterday, B Yisrael said she was still saddened by the state of the island’s healthcare.
“I’m not heartened, I’m not happy as you would expect. Instead, I’m critically thinking about the amount of intense and enormous amount of work that has to be done to return this island’s healthcare to a sense of normalcy,” B Yisrael told Guardian Media.
Meanwhile, new political leader of the PNM’s Tobago Council Davidson-Celestine took up office yesterday (March 2). Incumbent THA Chief Secretary Charles’ term ends in January 2021 but he has opted to resign at the end of April.
At least one councillor had to resign to allow the newly-elected Davidson-Celestine to become a councillor.