Political Leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots Watson Duke says he is willing to put his money where his mouth is by contributing ten thousand dollars monthly to persons in need.
During a live broadcast on social media, Duke announced that for as long as the COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, he is willing to donate $5,000 to people in need in Trinidad and $5,000 in Tobago for people who need assistance. He also issued a challenge to others to do the same.
“All persons who are working upwards of $20,000 per month their remuneration package must be upwards of $20,000 per month I am challenging you to donate $10,000 every month from this month I, Watson Solomon Duke, will be donating $10,000.”
During his live broadcast Duke claimed both the Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the President Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes have earned close to $1 million between last year and this year, while Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad Bissessar has earned over $1.4 million dollars, yet “so many people are still suffering.”
Meanwhile, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis said at a news conference Wednesday that the challenge issued by Watson Duke was not new as he announced a similar initiative last year during the first lockdown.
“I announced that me and my fellow Assemblymen would be contributing 10 per cent of our salaries to assist persons and we also called on other Tobagonians to do the same contribute 10 per cent of their salaries or more as much as they can afford.”
He said outside of the 10 per cent contributions a number of Assemblymen have been actively involved in outreach programmes in their various districts and that the THA has recently “approved $25 million dollars to assist persons who were negatively affected by the pandemic.”
This is not the first major act of philanthropy undertaken by Duke who last year set out on a mission to complete all unfinished houses in Tobago. In the lead up to the General Elections on August 10, Duke embarked on a roof repair drive, starting with 14 homes in his constituency of Roxborough/Delaford.
The programme went on to assist up to 40 families from both Tobago East and West. During a political meeting, Duke said the project is “in keeping with the PDP’s mandate to ensure there are no unfinished houses in Tobago within its first five years on the political landscape.”
The project which employed the “lend hand” system used manual labour provided by residents in the community.
While many political opponents have taken the PDP political leader to task for failing to continue the initiative after losing his bid to become the Parliamentary Representative for Tobago East, Duke has on several occasions openly referred to “the many hardware owners he still owes on the island.”
The project’s scope of work included repairs to leaking galvanised roofs, broken louvres, shoddy wooden staircases and the construction of proper bathroom and toilet facilities.