PROGRESSIVE Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke has slammed the Prime Minister for using “scare tactics” to solicit votes ahead of the January 25 THA election.
In a Facebook live video on Tuesday, Duke, the recently re-elected Public Services Association (PSA) president, said public servants in Tobago have nothing to fear with a PDP-controlled THA.
At Monday’s PNM launch of candidates, Dr Rowley urged public servants to vote for the PNM because their jobs might be at risk if another party gets into power.
Rowley said, “Let me say something to a lot of you people, especially public servants in Tobago who have a job and believe this is not your business and you secure. You go and put somebody in office who vex with everybody else and put God out your thoughts and put him in office.
“When they start to deal with you because they feel you didn’t support them enough or at all, and treat you the same way they treat their union members after election, then you will know this is not a chance thing.
“Your future is secure with the PNM, because the PNM is about fairness, it’s about responsibility and vision. Don’t take a chance with that. We are building Tobago together.”
Duke recently sent 20 PSA workers on annual vacation leave and terminated the services of independent contractors. He insisted on Tuesday that the PSA had not fired anyone.
Recalling Rowley’s comments before the August 10, general election that he would not forgive Tobago if Duke was elected MP for Tobago East, the PDP leader said Tobagonians didn’t need any advice.
“He sought to warn the public servants in Tobago, and he normally feels he has this divine right to warn Tobagonians, as if we are blind, as if we are dotish, as if we have no common sense of our own,” Duke said.
“He always wants to warn them when it comes to elections: what to do, what not to do. That, to me, is a scare tactic that the Prime Minister should not be using.”
Duke said Rowley was being a hypocrite, as a number of workers had lost their jobs under his leadership. “The Prime Minister is a man you have to be careful of. He told the Petrotrin workers that no one is going home: ‘In case yuh open yuh fridge and yuh didn’t hear what ah say, no one is going home.’
“In less than three months everyone went home. They are known for sending home workers. So don’t try to use the philosophy that if Duke get inside there that workers gonna lose jobs.”
Duke said he endorses deputy leader Farley Augustine as the party’s choice for chief secretary and is content being an assemblyman and PSA leader.
“I’m not running to be chief secretary, Watson Duke is not interested. I’m simply supporting the party that I’ve built from the ground up.
“If the party wins then I win, I am successful, Tobago has a chance – Tobago wins. It’s not that I’m looking for office. I am quite satisfied fighting for people. That is what I want to do, that is how I want to live out my days – fighting for people, fighting for justice.
“If we win, Farley wins, Farley becomes chief secretary.
"Do not try to make it look like Duke coming in there power-hungry and firing people who is PNM. I’m not on that, Dr Rowley. If yuh have nothing to say, write yuh speech and stick to yuh script. Don’t come to Tobago with stupid and ole talk. And we are tired of them veiled threats.
“How much persons have you caused to lose their jobs? What is your plan for WASA? It sounds for now that WASA workers are safe, but you all are planning to send home workers, and we are prepared for that. This is why I’m here. Whenever workers are under pressure, Watson Duke is here to put up a fight.”