The Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) has opted to present a mandate instead of a manifesto, ahead of Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly elections.
PNM candidate Kelvon Morris recently criticised the PDP for not presenting its plans to the public via a manifesto. He said this should disqualify the party from the election race.
But PDP deputy political leader Farley Augustine analysed the party's mandate at a news conference in Scarborough on Wednesday.
He said, "We began to dissect the mandate issues – we don’t have a manifesto, we have a mandate from the people. We started dissecting these mandate issues from last year.”
Several of the issues, he said, have already been addressed and brought to the public domain, including: housing, land management, land titles, agriculture and food security, fishermen and the blue economy, safety and security at sea, education, e-governance and healthcare.
“So far, we have been giving video versions of the mandate and vocalising the mandate. Now we are going into the print version, and that print version would come in varying forms. It would come in a long form and it would come in a short form as well.
“We are painfully aware that many people do not spend sufficient time reading these policies. However, we sought to find a mixture of media to present the mandate.
He said in "every single village, candidates have presented plans relative to that district. In fact, about two Mondays ago, when we did our virtual meetings, every single candidate from every single district spent time itemising and listing what the developmental plans are specific to those districts.”
He said so far the campaign had been smooth and successful "and we have been having a campaign that demonstrates the kind of growth, the kind of maturity that the Tobago populace expected of us.”
At a previous meeting, Augustine promised that within his first 100 days in office, the THA would develop and implement financial rules to ensure efficiently and transparency. He claimed proper procurement was lacking within the THA and corruption was rife.
“So when they tell us zip our lips – 'zipline our lips – that kind of arrogance must be punished," he said, in reference to alleged mismanagement of an abandoned PNM plan for a zipline in the Main Ridge Forest Reserve.
"Because every single time they create this kind of mess, you get less services. You cannot get a single house built in four years, yet we have $1 billion plus unaccounted for,” he said.
Candidate for the Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden district Abby Taylor said Tobago has been the victim of bad management, poor decision-making, wastage and corruption. She said this was evident in the 2016 auditor general’s statement.
“If we are truly serious about development, if we are seriously looking to catapult Tobago into developed-nation status, then we can safely agree that we deserve more, we deserve better,” she said.