“Tobago is taken already.” That’s the bold claim the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) is making about the governance of the island as it led a prayer walk around the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) on Friday.
The symbolic walk was part of the party’s day of “prayer and fast seeking divine intervention” to resolve the THA deadlock.
Dubbed a ‘walls of Jericho march’ the officials from the party and over 100 supporters walked around the chamber seven times.
During the 7th round, they sang Christian-based hymns and shouted: “Free Tobago.”
However, as soon as they attempted to walk out of James Park, where they were since 6 am, police blocked them.
Police said the party had no permission for the walk.
The PDP’s leader- Watson Duke, and one of its deputy leaders Farley Augustine told the police there is no law against having a religious procession. The leaders turned around and headed in the opposite direction. As they walked, a People’s National Movement’s (PNM) supporter drove around in his van and rang a bell.
The PDP’s supporters threw water, and some spoke in ‘tongues’ chasing his spirit away.
Augustine later explained the exchange between party officials and the police.
“ We indicated to the TTPS that our members are having a pray and fast …that will lead to a walk.”
He added:” Based on the laws of Trinidad and Tobago, you do not need permission for a religious procession. Therefore any other law that is inconsistent with the Constitution…is null and void.”
He said the laws did not say non-religious bodies could not have religious activities but nevertheless praised the police for their actions.
Questioned on what the walk achieved, he pointed to the PNM’s prayer service today (Saturday, February 27).
“The other side (PNM) is hastening to have a religious activity. That tells you that we have set the right tone of spirituality for this island.”
He said it was also significant as Makandal Daaga held a similar march in Port- of -Spain 52 years ago.
Augustine maintained that the Tobago Amendment Bill (2021) passed in the Lower House of Parliament last Friday could not resolve the deadlock.
“ The Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago cannot terminate a duly held election. The Parliament cannot force the closure of the THA. The Parliament can not undo the will of the people. That will require a constitutional change which the Parliament did not have…last Friday.”
He said the court is the only way out of the situation.
Meanwhile, the PDP said the clerk of the house has responded to the pre-action protocol letter asking her to reconvene the House. The PDP said her lawyers replied, indicating she had followed the correct procedure.