Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley addresses the Atlantic Council’s Front Page event on US-Caricom relations yesterday.

Camille McEachnie

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley meets with the 12 Assemblymen tomorrow.

The assemblymen, elected on January 25, 2021, Tobago House of Assembly(THA) elections failed to elect a Presiding Officer and constitute the assembly after three attempts.

Speaking about the meeting yesterday at a Tobago Council People’s National Movement (PNM) press briefing, the PNM’s Island Council chairman Stanford Callender said Rowley did not discuss the impasse with the PNM.

This after the Progressive Democratic Patriots(PNM) said Rowley, who is also the PNM’s National Council leader, had met with the six PNM Assemblymen.

“Those who wish to give the impression that he has met with the PNM, I want to categorically deny that. As chairman of the party, we were neither called to a meeting by the political leader and Prime Minister nor held any discussions with him as it relates to the current situation,” Callender told reporters.

However, he said Dennis, the PNM area representative for Buccoo/Mt. Pleasant, in his capacity as Chief Secretary, could discuss the issue.

Dennis said he discussed the situation “on several occasions” with Rowley.

On January 28, 2021, soon after being sworn in as Assemblymen by President Paula-Mae Weekes, the Assemblymen headed to the Chamber to elect a presiding officer.

They tried twice after but failed as they voted along party lines for their party’s chosen candidate.

The PNM chose Ingrid Melville while the PDP chose Julien Skeete.

Rowley indicated the only way to break the deadlock was through a constitutional amendment to the THA Act.

To this end, he took a proposal to Parliament for an increase in the Tobago seats from 12 to 15 and amending the Election and Boundaries Act, giving it powers to make the change. Also, a mechanism to break the deadlock and call fresh elections.

The Tobago Amendment Bill (2021) was passed in the Lower House on February 19. It went to the Senate yesterday.

Several Tobago entities, including the Tobago Chapter of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, called for Rowley to meet with all Assemblymen.

One of the PDP’s deputy leaders -Farley Augustine, said the party learned of the scheduled meeting via the media. He said the party would attend.

The meeting takes place at the Magdelena Grand Beach and Golf Resort from 9.30 am.

Rowley is also expected tp meet with all past and present chief secretaries at the same venue later in the day.