Political analyst Shane Mohammed is predicting a split in Tobago for the August 10 general election with the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) taking Tobago East and PNM retaining Tobago West.
Mohammed gave his thoughts as he spoke with Newsday on Wednesday in a telephone interview.
“Watson, in my opinion, will take Tobago East," he said,
Mohammed believes PNM Tobago Council political leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine should have been selected to fight Duke.
“I don’t believe that Ayanna Webster-Roy has made a mark for Tobago East in terms of delivery, having spent five years in government. In fact, in my opinion, it would have been a different strategy for the PNM in general... I would have submitted Tracy against Watson and we would have had a better fight there.”
Having paid a visit to Tobago East earlier this year, Mohammed said, “There’s not much difference that I saw in Tobago East that I didn’t see in years before. The roads of Tobago have always been very well done, from Tobago West to the East... it has always been well done, constructed and maintained to some level of paving.
“I saw the government of Trinidad and Tobago building a fire station, a police station, a hospital in Roxborough. I saw nothing exorbitantly new for the fishing village of Roxborough, I didn’t see anything impressive that I could have said, 'Wow, Ayanna has done X or Y in Castara or Speyside or whatnot.'
“I can’t say that that was done specifically by the Member of Parliament, I could say that there are things that was done by the government to bolster the chances of the Tobago East candidate for the PNM. I have not seen pictures of Ayanna continuing to stay in touch with the ground and that sort of thing over the years, what I have seen is the people of Tobago more or less complaining about their lack of resources throughout the island during the last five years.”
Mohammed believes PDP's Tashia Grace Burris has not made a strong enough impression to topple PNM candidate Shamfa Cudjoe in Tobago West.
“Shamfa knows and the whole of Tobago knows that Tobago West is the harder of the seats to win (for PDP). I don’t believe that the PDP is going to pick up enough stock to wrestle the seat from Shamfa. Unless there is a groundswell that we’re not looking at, I don’t think that the PNM has to worry much there,” he said.
Mohammed believes PDP could have swept the two Tobago seats if they had formed a coalition with Tobago's other opposition parties. In May last year, Duke snubbed an offer to join One Tobago Voice – a coalition of Tobago Forwards, Platform of Truth and Tobago Organisation of the People.
“Unfortunately, in Watson’s enthusiasm to get into the Parliament, I don’t think he thought this through very well. I would say Watson has an excellent chance of winning Tobago East but I would have like to see a united opposition voice in Tobago... A united opposition in Tobago would have taken both the East and West seats.
“If you really care about Tobago and putting Tobago in the front burner in terms of effective governance... put your differences aside and stop this old talk and this egotistic kind of way,” he said.
Mohammed added: “They could make a impact, they may make it a little more harder for Shamfa to outright win the seat but it doesn’t hurt for Tobago to really come together and show a uniting of forces in the name and in the favour and interest of Tobagonians.”