THE Prime Minister rejected allegations by a group of former Tobagonian politicians that the issue of greater autonomy for Tobago is dead. During an radio interview on Thursday, Dr Rowley said citizens should “ disregard my fellow countrymen who are talking that.” He said those people have been “been PNM haters in other political parties for a long time.” Rowley reminded the population that those people were part of the former NAR government which had a constitutional majority in 1986 that could give Tobago autonomy.
“They were ones in Parliament with 33 seats. They could have changed anything that they wanted in this country.” Rowley said, “Att that time, they created the current law that gives Tobago the current level of autonomy.” Recalling the two year efforts of former Tobago House of Assembly (THA) chief secretary Orville London to help in the production of draft legislation for greater autonomy for Tobago, Rowley said the 23 seats the PNM had in the last Parliament were not enough to pass the law to give Tobago that autonomy.
He said this is why the legislation was sent to a joint select committee. Before the Parliament was dissolved in July, Rowley said the Government saved the work of that committee. He promised that after the election is over and the PNM is hopefully returned to office, the committee will be reappointed and “they will continue their work.” Rowley said with greater autonomy comes greater responsibility and the committee is asking all questions relative to these issues. He added that anyone who is claiming that the PNM failed on the issue of Tobago autonomy “are taking Tobagonians for fools and I really, really don’t like that.”
Rowley reiterated “the matter is actively before the Parliament.” He said the reasons why people are trying to raise these kind of issues in the last week before the election is because “they have no campaign” and there is no serious issue they can challenge the PNM about