Augustine: PDP getting warm reception from voters

PDP deputy leaders Farley Augustine, right, and Dr Faith BYisrael with supporters on nomination day on Monday.  - PDP
PDP deputy leaders Farley Augustine, right, and Dr Faith BYisrael with supporters on nomination day on Monday. - PDP

Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) deputy leader Farley Augustine said the party is getting a warm reception from Tobagonians ahead of the January 25 THA election.

Augustine was speaking during an interview with CNC3 on Wednesday.

The PDP leader said this augurs well for the party's chances and noted the difference in reaction at the 2017 polls.

"What I found very promising, while in 2017 we did get from some households that automatic rejection, that sense of 'doh come in meh yard,' We have not been getting that at all in this election. We have been getting that warm reception.

"And we have been getting Tobagonians who will say to us very quietly, 'We are going to give you the vote. We can't be too loud about it because you know small-island politics tends to lead down the road of political victimisation.'"

Augustine, the PDP's choice for chief secretary if successful, said the party has been growing by leaps and bounds since it was formed by its political leader Watson Duke in 2016.

"First of all, we started in 2017. Prior to 2017 Mr Duke ran as an independent (for 2015 general election). In 2017 we had a party formed, had the first slate, knocked two out of the PNM's 12 (THA seats).

"If you look at the trajectory, our voting numbers from Mr Duke as an independent candidate, the 2017 election and the recently held general election, the trajectory shows our numbers increasing steadily. After the 2020 general election, the PDP was counted by EBC as the third largest party on the country based on votes, there were other parties in Trinidad that could not muster half the votes we get."

Augustine said the party has stayed in touch with the people in the last four years and believes this approach will translate to votes.

"What we insisted on doing is providing good representation.We were always there on top of the Tobago issues. We were always present on the ground. It's that kind of traditional, back-to-basics politics we have been practising the last four years. Just keep in contact with people, keep intimate relationships going.

"Sometimes we progress so much and we forget what politics should be about. Politics is about people, election is about numbers. If you keep the politics about people you will get the numbers right."

Addressing crude remarks made by Duke about two Tobago women prior to the general election, which many felt cost him the Tobago East seat, Augustine said it is public knowledge he disapproved of the remarks and told Duke about it.

He noted that the discussions were animated but the PDP is a family and would have disagreements.

He said the party is not "pretentious" and acknowledges its internal issues unlike the PNM. Citing the decision by former PNM leadership candidate Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus' decision to contest Scarborough/Calder Hall as an independent candidate, Augustine said the PNM is not immune to internal issues.


"Augustine: PDP getting warm reception from voters"

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