People’s National Movement (PNM) Tobago Council leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine has made it clear the party will bring internal self-government to the island.
She was responding on Wednesday night to the views of former Tobago politicians, who said the PNM will not ensure greater autonomy for Tobago.
The group, which includes former THA chairman Jeff Davidson and ex-government minister Pamela Nicholson, held a news conference on Wednesday at the Blue Crab Restaurant, Bacolet, claiming the PNM would not pass legislation to give the island more say in its affairs.
The group said it is supporting the Watson Duke-led Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) in the August 10 general election.
Addressing a political meeting at Shelbourne Street, Plymouth, Davidson-Celestine urged Tobagonians to reject the group’s utterances.
“I am saying to you tonight that they call themselves non-politicians. But when you talk to them, their focus is only on bashing the People’s National Movement,” she told supporters.
“The PNM is not opposed to giving autonomy to our people here in Tobago. And we have said time and time again, it was the PNM who brought the discussions to Tobago for us to discuss and to agree on how we would want to see self-determination for all of us here.
“It is the PNM who took the discussion paper to Trinidad for it to come forward as a bill and more later, for it to be laid in Parliament.
“So when that grouping comes forward to tell you that the People’s National Movement does not want autonomy for Tobago, I urge all of you, the residents from Plymouth and environs, to reject what they are saying.”
Davidson-Celestine said the members of the group would not be able to help the PDP win the two Tobago seats in the election.
“When you listen to them, they behave like Rip Van Winkle (fictional character), as though they were in a slumber for the last 20 years. How could they tell the people of Tobago and by extension Trinidad and Tobago, that the PNM has not done anything for this country? she asked.
“How can they tell the people that our two representatives (Ayanna Webster-Roy and Shamfa Cudjoe) have not represented in Parliament and have not represented in the Cabinet?”
Davidson-Celestine said the group’s only survival mechanism is to bash the PNM.
“So when you listen to the utterings of the people opposed to the People’s National Movement, believe none of it.”
The Tobago Council of the PNM, meanwhile, has dismissed the group as “failed politicians who have historically been opposed to the People’s National Movement.
“Even worse, they, in one breath claim to be non-aligned and in the very next exhalation say they support the PDP even as they praise the UNC,” the party said on Thursday in a statement.
The party outlined its achievements over the past five years as well as projects planned for the next term if the PNM returns to office.
These include new marinas, enhancing the tourism sector and expanding the ANR Robinson International Airport.