The Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement(PNM) is accusing one of the Progressive Democratic Patriots(PNM) deputy leaders of hypocrisy, claiming he was eager to accuse the Council’s Island leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine of wrongdoing but silent on recent revelations about his leader Watson Duke.
Augustine said it is “false equivalency” to compare the Davidson-Celestine situation that was based on ‘facts” from the Auditor General and Executive Council notes to Duke collecting gratuity from the Public Services Association(PSA).
In a release on March 25, the PNM described Augustine as “uncharacteristically silent” that Duke’s wife received millions of dollars in contracts from the Water and Sewerage Authority, and he, as President of Public Services Association, received over $500 million in gratuity, yet he remained in office.
The PNM also said Augustine and Duke made different statements about the financing of the party’s 2019 Tobago House of Assembly and national elections’ campaign launch at the Magdalena Beach Hotel and Golf Club.
The PNM claimed that in 2019 Duke and Augustine told a reporter, supporters funded the event, but last week Duke, in a Facebook post, said he had financed it with his gratuity.
“Farley Augustine cannot remain silent in the face of all of these facts and still maintain credibility in the eyes of the Tobago public. His response, in the present environment, will give us some indication, as to whether he is man or mouse, or maybe just a willing pawn,” the release said.
It continued: ” Are you the same Farley Augustine who portrayed himself as a champion of morality in public life when you launched that vicious campaign against PNM Political Leader, Tracy Davidson Celestine? Should Tobagonians not conclude that you are guilty of the highest level of hypocrisy?”
Responding to the PNM, Augustine said he stands by his statements about Davidson -Celestine on the zipline.
“All the statements were facts. All on citations from the Auditor General and or legitimate Executive Council notes.”
He said he does not usually respond to PSA matters. However, he also had questions on the gratuity issue.
“Wouldn’t his next set of gratuity payments now exclude payments already received for the previous period? Had he resigned and then run again in the new PSA elections and won, wouldn’t he be entitled to the same gratuity? Were the gratuity payments correctly calculated?” Augustine asked.
He said he welcomed the PNM’s investigation on Duke’s actions.
“Do your(PNM) investigations and let the chips fall where they may,” Augustine said.
Meanwhile, he is now calling on the PNM to tell Tobagonians when they will be paid gratuity.
“Many of us are waiting long, long years to collect the gratuity payments that are rightfully ours,” the PDP’s deputy leader said.