Executive members of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) said despite Monday’s 6-6 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election deadlock, the party is ready to form the next THA executive.
The party is also willing to work with the People’s National Movement (PNM) on constitutional reform for Tobago.
PDP political leader Watson Duke and deputy political leader Farley Augustine spoke to the media at the PDP’s Scarborough base yesterday.
Augustine said the current stalemate created by both the PNM and PDP winning the same number of seats, requires parliamentary intervention.
He opined that the law does not allow for another election, pointing out that a THA election can only be held under two conditions.
“One, if the house by resolution as we did last year in November decides to dissolve the house, or two, upon the anniversary of installation of the new THA term.”
According to the THA Act, elected members must be sworn-in three days after the election.
“We are coming prepared to lead from Thursday. We are coming with a candidate for Presiding Officer and of course, there is a prospective Chief Secretary in yours truly and we are also saying that we should form the new executive because we have the popular vote.”
The Election and Boundaries Commission’s reported, however, that the PNM won the popular vote with 13,288 votes to the PDP’s 12,798.
The PDP said it is ready to have “a mature discussion” on the way forward for the island.
Political leader Watson Duke said the tie has created a unique opportunity for both political parties to advance the Tobago Autonomy Bill.
“I as the political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots intend to write the political leader of the PNM Tobago Council hereinafter we will have a meeting of the minds of the PDP and the PNM Tobago Council.”
“As things stand now after the 12 elected members are sworn in on Thursday there is no Chief Secretary to speak on behalf of Tobagonians and there is no Minority to speak on behalf of disenchanted Tobagonians. We are all of equal value except for within our political parties.”
Duke called on the Political Leader of the Tobago PNM Council Tracy Davidson-Celestine to “cut the political rope from PNM Trinidad” and come together in Tobago’s interest. Among the areas identified by Duke for amendment were the definition of the relationship between both islands.
He said he would like to see a federal system where both islands are “equal within a sovereign state,” instead of the current definition where Tobago is a ward of Trinidad.
Davidson-Celestine did not respond to our request for comment.