Minority Assemblyman Faith BYisrael sees the newly formed Voice of Tobago (VOT) party as a desperate cry by Tobago people for change.
She said the position taken by a young man to improve the quality of living for Tobagonians shows that after 18 years of PNM rule and $45 billion spent, the lives of Tobagonians remained stagnant.
BYisrael was commenting on plans by VOT political leader, 25-year-old Cori Roberts, at the Progressive Democratic Patriots' weekly press briefing on Tuesday morning.
VOT was launched last Friday and Roberts told Newsday he intends to contest the 2020 general election as a Tobago East independent candidate.
BYisrael said, “Each and every Tobagonian has a responsibility and has the opportunity to actively participate in the democratic process of TT. What Roberts has identified is really a cry of the average Tobagonian. Only a few Tobagonians have benefited from the money spent over the last 18 years."
She said Roberts had "expressed the frustration of the people on the ground, and that is what Tobago needs to be more concerned about. Have we been getting value for our money?
"What (this) is showing is, we had a group of people who have been promising us for 18 years that they are going to improve our lives. They have been promising us that they are going to take Tobago to another level. They have been promising us that we would get to (Vision) 2020 status, when in fact the average Tobagonian hasn’t experienced any of that growth whatsoever.”
Asked for her party’s thoughts on VOT giving $1 million to each person living in Tobago, BYisrael said she didn’t agree with handing everyone $1 million. Instead, she believed providing funding to each community will have a drastic impact on the lives of all Tobagonians.
During the 2017 THA election, BYisrael said, "One of the things our mandate looked at was identifying each community and giving them a certain amount of funds to spend as it sees fit for the development of the community. This is a perfect example of bringing that kind of relief closer to the individual person where each group sees the direct benefit. So it can say, ‘Last year Belle Garden was able to spend a $1 million and this is where we spent the money.'”
Apart from giving each Tobagonian $1 million, Roberts said he wants to develop a billion-dollar cannabis industry and focus on agriculture for export.
He told Newsday, "Tobago needs a hero and they need it now… I’m the superhero to save Tobago. I consider myself as the superhero. If Tobago is to be a better place, all of us as residents need to become involved. We must roll up our sleeves and get involved in the political landscape.”