“Gloves up Duke, the fight is on and I don’t intend to lose!”
This is the stance adapted by Member of Parliament for Tobago East, Ayanna Webster-Roy following revelations by political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) Watson Duke that he would contest the 2020 General elections as the party’s Tobago East candidate.
Duke made the revelation as he addressed his party’s campaign for 2020 national and 2021 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands two Sundays ago. In a worded, open letter posted to her facebook page last Wednesday, Webster-Roy declared war.
“I wish to remind Watson Duke that 2020 will not be the first time that he, like me, will face the people of Tobago East as a candidate for the General elections. In 2015, I received 7,951 votes, a total of 69.48 per cent of the ballots cast and like 2015, he will concede to me and I will gladly serve as his Parliamentary Representative whenever he visits his home in the constituency.
“My track record of service, my defense of Tobago when Tobago needed defending and my refusal to sell out my island and my integrity for a few pieces of silver will always make me the better choice,” she said.
Addressing the gathering two Sundays ago, Duke said it’s time to free Tobagonians from bondage, not through internal self-government but according to him through full independence from Trinidad. However, Webster-Roy took the opportunity to remind Duke that he is not the voice of the majority in Tobago, neither is he the voice of Tobago East.
“Like his title within the Tobago House of Assembly suggests, he is the voice of a small minority. When Mr Duke and I faced the polls in 2015, I received the mandate to represent the interest of Tobago East and by extension Tobago in the House of Representatives.
"That mandate never included advocating for independence from Trinidad, instead the mandate was and remains for legislators to work towards improving Tobago’s status and authority within the Republic.
"Through my many interactions with constituents over the last four years, be it through walkabouts, roving office days, public days at the various offices or through stakeholder engagements forums, the voice of Tobago East has never called for an independent Tobago,” she said adding that what Tobago has advocated for is enshrined within a Bill entitled, the Constitution (Amendment) (Tobago Self-Government) Bill, 2018, which is currently before a Joint Select Committee.
She added: “The voice that carries the independence discourse the loudest and sustains it, has always been the opposition UNC. If not the UNC, who then is Watson Duke speaking for? He certainly has not been the voice of his constituents in the Belle Garden East/ Roxborough/ Delaford electoral district.”
Webster-Roy noted that during the two years since Duke has been the elected representative for Belle Garden East/ Roxborough/ Delaford, he has been nothing more than an “absentee representative”/ Adding that through her advocacy and ability to work collectively with the Executive Council and the Cabinet, there has been some achievements in the electoral district.