Minority assemblyman Farley Augustine has called for discussions on campaign financing.
Augustine, who won the Speyside/L’Anse Fourmi/Parlatuvier seat on a Progressive Democratic Patriots ticket in the 2017 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election, addressed the hundreds gathered at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands, on Sunday, for the formal launch of the party's campaign for 2020 national and 2021 THA election.
Augustine defended his party’s choice of venue for the launch of its campaign as he responded to criticism on social media.
“Some people may want to question, why you deserve to be in a place as stush as this... but the PDP was purposeful in doing this. We want you to understand that you deserve more than being under a streetlight, that being under a tree somewhere. You deserve the very best and if it is that your leaders could eat and sleep and dine in a place like this, you deserve to come here too and sit here too and be treated and served,” he told supporters.
He added: “I want to say in advance of their further comments that I assure you none of the monies spent for this evening’s activity is drugs money...that does not happen in this space.
“The bible says, I once was young and now I’m old and I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor left all alone, have never seen their children begging for bread… I am not afraid of any of them.”
Augustine said other parties can learn about transparency and accountability from the PDP.
“I want to say to those on the other side, if you want us to have a discussion on campaign financing, let us have a discussion on campaign financing because the PDP can show you how it should be done. The PDP is about using resources from all our people to get where we need to get.
“The good old Tobago principle is one-one cocoa does full basket; we might be poor people but together we are rich, we might not have much but together we have plenty, we may come from poor homes but together we may full a hotel, ram it out and change the face of Magdalena Grand forever.”
He expressed gratitude to the PDP supporters for fighting alongside them to raise awareness for important issues affecting the island.
“I thank you for your empowering of support; I thank you for what you’ve done for us; I thank you for sticking with us for the last two and a half years; I thank you for being there when we were in James Park in the sun and the rain advocating on your behalf; I thank you for being there when we were there with sheep and goats protesting for a boat; I thank you for being there when we demonstrated the ridiculousness of a dysfunctional seabridge by attempting to swim to Toco, now I hearing they want to put a port in Toco. They better thank we for the advice."
He implored the PDP supporters to hold strong as they switch focus to the elections.
“That vision is to get rid of the PNM as our representatives in Trinidad, firstly, and secondly to fight for internal self-government like no one else before. Thirdly, to ensure that in 2021 when the election bell is rung, Kelvin Charles and all his band of fools will be no more and Tobago will see a new dawn, a new light, a new beginning, a new opportunity to build a better Tobago.”