TT Ambassador to Costa Rica Tracy Davidson-Celestine believes she is the best candidate to lead the People's National Movement's (PNM's) Tobago Council.
Davidson-Celestine and incumbent political leader Kelvin Charles are to compete in a runoff on Sunday to decide who will lead the party over the next four years.
Although they got the most votes of the four candidates who competed in last Sunday's internal election, neither got a clear mandate of 50 per cent of the votes among the membership.
Speaking on Tuesday morning at a news conference with the other three leadership candidates, at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands, Davidson-Celestine said she is the best candidate given her years of experience as a professional and within the PNM.
"I would not say it is time to put a woman in charge of the PNM but the best person in charge of the People's National Movement and I would have articulated throughout my campaign that with over 15 years of political experience and administrative experience, that I am the best candidate in this election for political leader. I have the training. I have the experience. I have the different characteristics that will augur well to move the party forward," she said.
Asked if she considered forming alliances with the other two leadership candidates – former THA presiding officer Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus and Secretary for Finance and the Economy Joel Jack – ahead of Sunday's runoff, Davidson-Celestine said: "Well, that is part of the process. That is part of the arrangement and you would have seen in the last election in 2016 where there was an alliance with Mr (Rennie) Dumas, who is now deceased. So, I would expect that going forward we have that same kind of alliance coming out of the situation."
Charles was asked to respond to the same question.
"The simple answer to the question is everyone wishes to ensure, in this case Mrs Celestine and myself, that as we go forward we win and both candidates who did not win, command support so that the intention would be, 'How can we persuade that support?'
"Part of the process, obviously, is that you would need to speak to and try to get on board the person who commands that support."
Jack said he has not yet been approached to support Charles or Davidson-Celestine in the runoff.
Davidson-Celestine assured her ability to work within the PNM would not be compromised by her position as TT Ambassador to Costa Rica.
"We are making preparations to return to TT because the general elections will be held this year and all ambassadors will be recalled. So, in any event, we will be in TT either before or after the general elections.
"I am saying all of this to say that when I win come Sunday, January 26, I will resign my position because the time is short. It is a temporary position and I will be very present in Tobago to ensure that the party is organised in a particular manner and that we can win the next set of elections, both the general elections and the Tobago House of Assembly elections."
Saying her position in Costa Rica was temporary, the former Speyside/L'Anse Fourmi/Parlatuvier representative said all ambassadors have begun the process to relocating to TT.
"When I win, I will resign my position and remain right here in Tobago to cause us to win."