by Casandra Thompson-Forbes
January 25, 2021 is the date carded for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections. The announcement came via a press release issued by the Office of the President yesterday.
“After consultation with Prime Minister Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley and Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, the Honourable Ancil Dennis, Her Excellency Paula-Mae Weekes ORTT, President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has fixed Monday, January 25, 2021, as the date for the primary election for the THA.”
Nomination Day is scheduled for January 4, 2021.
Three political parties on the island have signalled their intentions to contest seats, these include the incumbent People National Movement (PNM), the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) and the newly formed political party Unity of the People headed by Nkosi Phillip.
The THA was prorogued on November 17 and since then, the two main political parties the PNM and PDP have been hitting the streets with walkabouts in all 12 electoral districts on the island.
In an immediate response, Political Leader of the PNM Tobago Council Tracy Davidson-Celestine said, she was very excited by the announcement of the election date. She said the PNM was ready to fight the upcoming THA elections.
“We have been ready for some time now. Ever since December 2019 we have been in election mode starting off first and foremost with the internal election and very recently with the general elections, so our people are very mobilised, the wheels have already been oiled and we have been rolling out our plan of action” she said.
Davidson-Celestine said the 12 PNM candidates have been selected and have been knocking on doors in the electoral districts, asking constituents for their support.
“From all the reports and the indications they are receiving an excellent response from the residents in the electoral districts so I am very excited and we are ready to rumble and I am happy that the date has been announced and we are no longer in suspense” she said.
Questioned on the PNM’s chances at polls, Davidson-Celestine said her party has an excellent chance at regaining control of the THA.
“I am very confident and my team is also very confident that is because we have done the work on behalf of the Tobago public. We have delivered in terms of the infrastructure, whether it may be sporting facilities, whether it may be health centres decentralizing the health services. We have delivered in keeping a very stable economy, keeping unemployment at very low levels. We have been able to stimulate business activities on the island, we have treated with those who are very vulnerable” she said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Political Leader of the PDP Farley Augustine said, while he was excited about the announcement, he was not surprised by the date. He said his party has been in campaign mode for some time now.
“All of us as candidates we are out knocking on every door, talking to everybody, soliciting all the votes we can, because we need all Tobagonians to get on board and you see this coming election it is about the hopeful prospects of change. It is about the prospects of being able to transform the Tobago space” he said.
Augustine said with the rise of COVID-19 on the island, the PDP would be using different strategies to ensure their candidates and supporters remain safe during the campaign.
“You would soon see another phase of the campaign that would include public meetings and so forth, of course, all of our campaigning will be done in way that will keep people safe and you would realise there is an upsurge in COVID infections on the island, some we are mindful of that, but we are also the party that was creative enough to come up with the drive-in campaigns in the last election and we would continue to use our creativity in ensuring that we campaign in a way that would keep people safe” he said.
In the 2017 THA elections the PNM won 10 seats, while the PDP won 2.