Watson Duke talks to supporters at a drive-in political meeting in Scarborough, on Sunday January 10th, 2021. (Image courtesy PDP)

“Ah reach! Ah reach!”

The political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), Watson Duke, shouted this message repeatedly on the hustings on January 10th, at the party’s Garden Side car park, Scarborough drive-in meeting. It was his first meeting for the season.

“Dey asking about me all the time; tell them I am here.  Zoom in leh dem see me.  Leh them know I am here.  I ent going nowhere.  They have been trying to engage me, but I was told to lef’ them alone,” Duke told the crowd.

Duke has been absent from the political scene since campaigning began in earnest on Nomination Day—January 4th.

He filed his nomination papers at the John Dial Community Centre shortly after the office opened at 9 am.  However, he left before he could hold his usual press conference.

His absence left many wondering about his whereabouts and the status of the party’s leadership.

The People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council’s leader, Tracy Davidson-Celestine, raised the issue on the platform.

This, despite the PDP’s announcement in October 2019, at its party’s national and THA campaigns’ launch, that Farley would lead the party into the THA elections and become Chief Secretary if the party wins elections.

Farley, who also spoke at the meeting, had a more robust reply to the party’s critics about the leadership issue.

Without naming Ancil Dennis, the PNM’s incumbent and current candidate for the Buccoo / Mt. Pleasant electoral district, who became Chief Secretary on May 6th, 2019, Farley took the PNM to task.

Saying the issue is the PDP’s business, he noted:

“The first thing you must understand is that our Chief Secretary is not the leader of any political party.”

Adding: “They put a man to be leader, who is not even a deputy of anything, to be Chief Secretary, and today they (PNM) want to tell us who must lead this team for the THA.  Mind yuh business.”

He continued: “The second thing I want to remind Tobago is that their leader is a deputy political leader… When she and her political leader have issues, he summons her, and she has to ketch a plane or ketch a boat and go to Port-of-Spain.  If me and Watson fall out, we meet by Jemma’s (Treehouse Restaurant) for lunch.”