If he becomes Prime Minister after the August 10 general election, Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke says he will re-establish the Caricom jetty in Tobago within his first month in office.
Addressing a political meeting on Saturday night at Gardenside carpark, Scarborough, Duke lamented many Tobagonians still have to travel to Trinidad to get agricultural produce.
“In the first 30 days, we will re-establish that Caricom jetty,” he told supporters.
“So, if is two ripe fig, two plantain, two orange, two zaboca, two grapefruit, let them sell we right here. We go buy it right here. What we going down Trinidad for?
“Let we go down Trinidad for something else, but not food.”
Duke said an island cannot exist without trade.
“Why do we have to trade through Trinidad? We must trade here directly with the rest of the Caribbean. We must attempt to do that.”
Duke, who is one of three people contesting the Tobago East seat, claimed the island is being bypassed when goods are brought into the region.
“When goods come for us, it does pass here straight, go down Trinidad, offload, and we like loopie dogs going down there to buy the same goods, rush and come back up and say it cheaper than planting their own goods. That is how they have us stupid.
“Imagine, we are going Trinidad to buy goods and say it cheaper to buy the goods down there and come up and sell than to plant our own goods.”
Duke said if elected prime minister, he will also establish a minimum living wage of $5,000 a month.
“The time has come when nobody in this country must work for under $5,000 a month.”
The PDP leader said many mothers of single-parent households are working for $700 a forthnight.
“How could that be fair? You cannot survive today with anything less than $5,000 a month.”
He added: “If you are giving a man a job, give him a bloody job. You cannot insult the man, or woman. How could someone live on $1,400 a month and they have children to feed? That is wrong. I want to fix them things as prime minister.”
Duke also promised to create affordable housing opportunities for Tobagonians.
Saying housing is a human right, he claimed the average house in Tobago costs more than the same house built in Trinidad.
“Every single person in Tobago must have access and the opportunity to own a home. House is not for the privileged nor for those who have big wuk. House is for everybody.”
Duke said in Singapore, the Government provides 91 per cent of the homes for its citizens.
“So, everybody could own a home with water, lights and the basic amenities.”
He reiterated he also intends to push for Tobago to get at least ten per cent of the national budget.
This, he said, would advance the island's development at a faster rate.