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Camille Mceachnie

There was no word up to late yesterday from the Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement (PNM) on whether it will accept the Progressive Democratic Patriots’(PDP) proposal to temporarily share Tobago’s governance.

The arrangement is expected to remain in place until new elections are called after the proclamation of the Tobago Amended Bill or Tobago Autonomy Bill is passed and proclaimed.

The PDP said it will not comment any further on the situation and is giving the PNM time to deliberate on it.

The PDP put forward the proposal on March 3, during a meeting called by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Club with the 12 assemblymen.

The PDP proposed the PNM fill the posts of Presiding Officer, Chief Secretary, and councillor.

The PDP wants its Assemblymen as Deputy Chief Secretary, Finance Secretary, and two councillors and the remaining executive positions equally shared between the two parties.

On March 5, during a tour of the Bacolet Indoor Sport Facility, Tobago Council leader Tracy Davidson -Celestine said the party’s supporters expressed concerns about the PDP’s leader Watson Duke becoming Finance Secretary.

She also said the party would meet on March 8 to discuss the proposal.

Responding to the concern, Duke said he had no interest in the post.

And deputy leader Farley Augustine said the party did not and will not offer Duke the position. “Stop trying to muddy the waters,” Augustine said in his Facebook post on the matter.

Guardian Media understands the PNM’s island council executive met on Monday as planned.

The issue of governing Tobago arose as the 12 Assemblymen in the 12 -man assembly could not elect a presiding officer.

They were elected during the Tobago House of Assembly’s(THA) January 25, 2021, and inaugurated on January 28 by President Paula- Mae Weekes.

However, the THA’s clerk abandoned the process to elect a presiding officer after three unsuccessful attempts, resulting in the THA not being constituted.

The previous Executive Council, led by the PNM, continues to govern Tobago as provided by law.