Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) deputy political leader Farley Augustine has warned that the newly formed Tobago House of Assembly (THA) alternative executive council will provide resources within communities despite “push back” within the divisions.
At a virtual news conference on Friday, Augustine announced the establishment of an alternative executive council to address the needs of Tobagonians until a solution to the six-six deadlock is determined.
The members of the council, comprising the PDP’s six assemblymen, have been assigned to the various divisions and are expected to begin work on Monday.
Augustine, who retained the Speyside/L’anse Fourmi/Parlatuvier seat in the January 25 THA election, said the executive council has already identified a series of “simple, cost-effective”projects they intend to pursue across the island.
However, he said some divisions are exhibiting an unwillingness to assist them with certain projects.
“We recognise that we have begun to see a push back from some divisions who are trying to say to us democratically elected area representatives that we can’t do certain projects because we need to get their permission,” he said.
Augustine said this was the case when Bethel/Mt Irvine representative Pastor Terrence Baynes tried to replace a back board for the basketball ring on the Black Rock hard court.
He claimed staff at Division of Sport and Youth Affairs told Baynes they had no money to replace the backboard because it was not budgeted for in this fiscal year.
Baynes, Augustine claimed, told them he was willing to provide the back board but they refused.
Augustine said the PDP will not be prevented from bringing resources to Tobagonians.
“Let me sent a send a signal now to all those who want to use the public service to run politics. My alternative secretaries will no longer be patient with that that kind of foolishness.”
He continued: “We have several areas of neglect and neglect for donkey years and my area representatives will be doing their work with or without your permission.
“If you want, you bring in the police. If you want you come and lock up Farley.”
Augustine said the PDP will get their projects done with or without approval from the respective divisions.
“As far as I am concerned, no six is greater than the other six.”
At the news conference, Augustine also announced that PDP chairman Dr Sean Nedd has sent letters to several international institutions asking them to review the deadlock in the THA and recommend solutions.
He said Nedd has reached out to several Caricom governments, the United Nations and other agencies.
“What is happening in Tobago is highly undemocratic and requires a firm stance at this moment?”
Commenting on the development, PNM Tobago Council political leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine said the party is focusing its energies on the island’s governance, including covid19 and the vaccine rollout.
“Our urgency in reaching the public is to encourage people to be part of the vaccination process,” she said.
Davidson-Celestine maintained a return to the polls is the only solution to the deadlock.
“Until we get back to the polls for the people to decide, we continue to represent all of Tobago under a legitimate process. PDP walked (away from) the negotiating table, that was their choice.”
The PNM and PDP each won six electoral districts in the January 25 THA election.