Tracy Davidson-Celestine speaks to the media after filing her nomination papers on Monday.

The People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council is warning Tobagonians not to trust a word from the Progressive Democratic Patriots’ (PDP) that Farley Augustine will be Chief Secretary if the party wins the THA elections.

Instead, the PNM believes Watson Duke—PDP leader— would return and claim the post.

The Tobago House of Assembly elections is carded for January 25, 2021.

In October 2019, Augustine, one of PDP’s three deputy leaders, was anointed by the Duke- led party to be the Chief Secretary should the party win the next THA elections.

However, the PNM’s Tobago Council leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine said the PDP’s move to put Farley at the forefront of the campaign could be a trick.

During a campaign meeting at the Roxborough Secondary School on January 5, she said Duke has a history of not keeping his word.

“We would have heard from their political leader … who would have indicated time and time again that he will be stepping down from the PSA and that he would have given way to younger blood, but what has happened today, ladies and gentlemen? He is still the president of the PSA?”

She said the accepted international practice is for the leader to eventually become the administrative head if a party wins an election.

“Nothing that is said by the deputy political leader of the PDP is of value in this election… The convention in Trinidad and Tobago, the convention in the Caribbean, the convention in the world is for a political party leader to lead a party into the election,” she added.

PDP fires back

Meanwhile, the PDP pushed back hard at the PNM’s assertion. Augustine said it is the PNM that has trust issues.

He said the Tobago Council leader, who served as Secretary of Tourism, under the Orville London-led administration, has a lot to answer.

“I think Davidson-Celestine is the last person to talk about trust. She promised Tobagonians that she would not hound Mr Charles out of office if she wins the leadership of her party. She did just that. She promised Dr Angus to run for a seat. Angus is not running for the seat, under her party.”

He said the PNM must be honest and tell the public how it has spent taxpayers’ funds over the past 20 years.

“We were told about the $US450,000 jazz money for an artiste that never showed up, that they were going to court to get back the money. They never filed a court case. We were told about the price of the market and the price for the hospital, and the prices keep going up and up. We do not know exactly, what the real figures are. Those are the trust issues that Tobagonians are focused on in this campaign,” Farley said.

The PNM and PDP fielded 12 candidates each in the 2021 elections. In the 2017 elections, the PNM won 10 seats and the PDP 2.