Buccoo/Mt Pleasant representative Ancil Dennis is urging members of the People's National Movement (PNM) to support the new Tobago Council political leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine. The wrangling within the PNM has been exacerbated even after elections, despite calls for healing among the party,
Davidson-Celestine has called on Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles to step down from his post after losing his position as PNM political leader. Charles has refused to do so and has also called for Deputy Chief Secretary Joel Jack to do the honourable thing, after unsuccessfully challenging him for the post.
In a post on his Facebook page on Thursday, Dennis said he decided to not support any candidate openly during the internal election campaign but has now chosen to break his silence "to express... observations and opinions concerning the process and the aftermath of the election."
Davidson-Celestine, TT's Ambassador to Costa Rica, beat former Tobago council leader Charles in a runoff election, last Sunday. She did so with the backing of defeated leadership candidates, Jack and former THA presiding officer Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus.
Dennis, an Assistant Secretary, Office of the Chief Secretary, recalled that in the runoff between Charles and Davidson-Celestine in the 2016 PNM internal election, the latter had lost despite support from Tsoifatt-Angus and late government minister Rennie Dumas, both of whom had contested the leadership on that occasion.
He said he could not understand how her joining forces with Tsoiafatt-Angus and Jack, this time around, is being referred to as a "gang-up."
"There is no such thing, as each individual is free to support and endorse whomever they choose," Dennis wrote.
He recalled after the 2016 internal election and screening of candidates for the 2017 THA elections, most of those unsuccessful "demonstrated class and maturity" by participate in the healing process through the acceptance of key roles during that period.
Saying this contributed to the party's success in that election, Dennis urged members, especially those elected to executive positions, to demonstrate the same kind of class and maturity.
He wrote: "The election is now over and a new political leader of the Tobago Council, Tracy Davidson Celestine, was elected with an overwhelming mandate. I intend to support her in the same way I supported her predecessor."
Dennis noted current Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles was elected by the assemblymen by virtue of being elected Tobago Council leader in 2016, the majority party after the 2017 THA election.
"Therefore, the Chief Secretary does not have a four-year mandate from the people of Tobago, only the assemblymen do."
Dennis argued the political leader is responsible to the party for the execution of its affairs.
"The buck stops with the political leader and I encourage every member to acknowledge and respect this."
However, he urged Davidson-Celestine to seek consensus on most, if not all of her decisions.
"It is always difficult to cede power and this difficulty can be exacerbated depending on the personality of the individual. However, in a democracy, the good of the whole outweighs the ambitions and preference of any individual," he wrote.
"Organisations are dynamic and change is inevitable. Every individual within an organisation is at a different stage of maturity and development. We all respond to circumstances differently.
"Therefore, I urge those who know better to do better. Reach out and encourage those who are hurt rather than spewing divisiveness. The time for faction and teams is gone. Let us rally behind our new leader in the best interest of our great party and Tobago and the country by extension."
Davidson-Celestine plans to host her first executive council meeting on Tuesday.