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PDP Deputy Political leader Farley Augustine.

Curtis Williams

Lead Editor Business

[email protected]

A People’s Democratic Patriots (PDP) administration has no interest in seeking to take Tobago out of the unitary state of Trinidad and Tobago and therefore secession is not on the cards.

In an interview with Guardian Media this morning, Deputy Political Leader of the PDP and Chief Secretary elect of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Farley Chavez Augustine said while Tobago wanted greater autonomy it was not interested in splitting with Trinidad.

He was asked, “Mr Duke has talked about the possibility of Tobago going on its own is that where your mind is?”

Farley responded, “No. While Tobagonians are frustrated with the process of getting greater autonomy, and I think a lot of people misunderstood Mr Duke’s presentation way back in 2019. You know what Mr Duke was really saying was look, we have been begging for this autonomy maybe we should ask for independence and maybe we will finally get the autonomy.”

The Chief Secretary elect continued, “This has been taken to mean we want to secede or we want independence. Mr Duke has been firm in saying Tobagonians want the right to chose and decide the kind of government it wants…when we look through all the consultations, all the documents, every single time Tobagonians have said they want a federal type government.”

Farley said there are several examples around the world of such a system and pointed to the United Kingdom and even St Kitts and Nevis.

“You know what I found very unfortunate and to the point of almost hurting me emotionally? Is when I heard opponents trying to characterise the desire of Tobagonians as being a call for secession, when in fact what we have been calling for what exists in united countries around the world……and having that does not mean the union of Trinidad and Tobago is broken up” Farley explained.

The Chief Secretary elect said up to 9:30 this morning he had not received a call from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rolwey but he insisted that as Chief Secretary he wanted to work in a cordial fashion with Tobago born Dr Rowley.

“I expect us to work together, I have absolutely no challenges being cordial with him, I have absolutely no challenges working with him, because we have to put egos aside, we have to put the party aside, and work for country and island now. We just have to!” Farley told Guardian Media.

He also put on notice that he was expecting resignations from political appointees saying it is the right thing to do.

“Even if the change of government was PNM to PNM people on State boards, people on state companies, people who are appointees of the last administration, they automatically submit their resignation and allow the new executive to choose…that is not because your transitioning from PNM to PDP but that is the standard across the world in Westminster politics.” Farley told Guardian Media

Farley also revealed that his administration will now have to present a budget for Tobago and said while no one has been selected as Finance Secretary, supporter, Dr Vanus James has declined the job and he, Farley, wanted someone from outside his elected team to be the Finance Secretary, someone with the requisite skill and experience.

He reiterated that PDP’s political leader Watson Duke would not be the man for that job.