People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago West candidate Shamfa Cudjoe has demanded Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke come clean on his alleged association with the United National Congress (UNC).
In a fiery address on Wednesday night at Shelbourne Street, Plymouth, Cudjoe took aim at the PDP, insisting it is trying to put Tobagonians back in the hands of the UNC.
“The PDP needs to face every single Tobagonian and let them know that clearly,” she said. “I want you to ask Watson Duke, ‘Who are you supporting for Prime Minister when/if I give you my vote?’
"And you know very well Tobagonians are not comfortable going back into the hands of Kamla (Persad-Bissessar). Even UNC people not comfortable being under the leadership of Kamla.”
Cudjoe, who is seeking to represent the constituency for a second term after the August 10 general election, said Tobago needs “sober and sane” leadership at this time.
She added only the Prime Minister and PNM leader can provide that type of leadership.
“If Trinidad ever needed to disintegrate the UNC, that time is now. If TT ever needed intelligent stewardship, that time is now. So do not be fooled.”
Duke, who is contesting the Tobago East seat, believes the PDP will play a critical role in determining the outcome of the election. He believes the election will be close and hopes to use the Tobago seats as bargaining chips to become TT’s next prime minister.
However, he has denied any involvement with the UNC.
Cudjoe dismissed Duke’s plan to enter the Parliament.
“What are your programmes? What are your policies?” she asked. “This is 12 days before the election and these elections are so important because we are speaking about our lives during a trying and tumultuous time, during a time of uncertainty.”
She added: “You look all around the world and you see that this is a time for competent, intelligent governance. This is a time when you need your leaders to be quick, to be smart and ready to act. Can I depend on Watson Duke to lead me at this time?”
Cudjoe, who is also the Sport and Youth Affairs Minister, said she is convinced Duke will support the UNC if the latter wins the majority of the seats.
“The UNC is fighting 39 seats of the 41 and the PDP is fighting two seats of the 41. And both of them calling for a partnership, dancing and skirting around the issue like if people stupid.
“Brothers and sisters, 39 and two is 41. So, 39 UNC seats and two PDP seats is 41. You don’t even have to go secondary school to work that out. So I want them to respect the intelligence of my constituents.
“When you give Watson Duke – God forbid – your seat, and his minions and the PDP your seat, which government they going and form? With whom? It cannot be the PNM because we have 41 candidates and we have 41 seats.
“And if they take those two seats, who are they going to put it with?
"It cannot be nobody else but the UNC.”
Cudjoe also accused the PDP of using social media to suppress voters.
“They have their social media trolls trying to draw you in through voter suppression because they know very well they can’t get you to vote for the PDP. They know very well they can’t get you to vote for the UNC.
"So they trying to start all these fights and talk all those dirtiness with you so that you will be drawn in.”
She urged supporters to stay focused.