PDP deputy leader Farley Augustine has compared the business of governance to that of a relay.
As he addressed the audience at the Progressive Democratic Patriot’s (PDP) drive-in meeting at Black Rock on Monday, Augustine urged supporters to pass the baton to PDP candidates: Watson Duke and Tashia Grace Burris.
He said the race began with Tobago first elected representative, James Biggart, who passed the baton on to APT James and then it went to ANR Robinson.
“Robinson was the man who went down there (Trinidad) with another man. Dr (Winston) Murray went down to the Parliament and got for us two seats… those two seats gave us the very first Tobago House of Assembly," Augustine said.
“So when they ask you what two seats can do… It’s never about how much seats you have, is who you give the seats to and you see for 15 of the last 20 years, we have been giving the two seats to the PNM and we ent get nothing to show for it. So take the two seats and give it to two people – Watson Solomon Duke and Tashia Grace Burris – because I bet you once you give them the two seats, you would see action."
He added, “Robinson and Murray took the baton, we had Pamela Nicholson, we had (PNM Tobago chairman Stanford) Callender, he fumbled with the baton badly and drop it plenty times. We had people like (Rennie) Dumas, (Eudine) Job-Davis, Mr (Nathaniel) Moore… everybody had a part to play right up to Shamfa (Cudjoe) and Ayanna (Webster-Roy), but tonight I’ve come to tell you that Tobago intends to win this race, we intend to win this race and because we intend to win this race we are putting two of our best runners to take the next leg of the race.”
In 2015, Duke ran as an independent candidate, however he lost to Webster-Roy by over 6,000 votes. In 2017, he again threw his hat into the ring on a PDP ticket for the electoral district of Roxborough/Delaford and won. Augustine said prior to Duke becoming the electoral representative, Roxborough was deemed a shanty town.
“As soon as they voted Watson Duke, the police station that was up Station Hill for donkey years come down from on top of the hill. But as soon as they vote Watson Duke, police station build till it done and open. Look at the fire station, you know how long the fire station break down, you know how long the fire station wasn’t safe and they take the fire station move it into a guesthouse over by the waterfall… donkey years now.
"As soon as Roxborough vote Watson, fire station build till the Chinese done paint it, ready to open. As soon as we vote Watson, hospital build and in under a year, hospital nearly done… So when I tell you if you want action, look how much years we here fiddling, fiddling with this autonomy thing, then we need to send for the action man to do our business.”
Although endorsed as PDP's candidate for chief secretary if successful in the THA elections, constitutionally due in 2021, Augustine said he doesn't want the post under the current arrangement.
“Tobago deserves a dignified way to govern itself and manage its economy. We deserve that respect; it is our human right...We shouldn’t have to send a fax to Trinidad, call a man and hope he answers his phone, beg a Prime Minister and hope he ent hate your head so he would carry the bill before Cabinet then Parliament… That should not be how we operate.
“If in the morning we decide that we want to legalise marijuana, for example, the Tobago House of Assembly should be able to do it on its own accord, that is what we’re fighting for.”