COREY CONNELLY with reporting by KINNESHA GEORGE-HARRY
Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) Bethel/Mt Irvine representative Pastor Terance Baynes has described as “political mischief” threats allegedly made by a Cepep employee to “interfere” with the eight newly installed lights at Sou Sou Lands park.
The project, which cost $19,320, was commissioned during a simple ceremony on Thursday last week.
Baynes told Newsday the project began on March 26 and all necessary approvals were sought.
“We first inquired as to who had jurisdiction over the park and I was pointed to a committee of sorts who had jurisdiction over the park, and we wrote to the committee.”
Baynes said he later had a conversation with the chairman of the committee and was given the green light to begin the project.
But he claimed after the commissioning ceremony, the individual approached him aggressively, asking on whose authority permission was granted to begin the project.
Baynes, who said he made a report at the Shirvan Police Station immediately after the confrontation, said, “I was shocked by the line of the questioning and the tone of it. So I explained to him that I went through the protocols, as I understood them, to go through with the project.”
Baynes said while Cepep maintains the park, the special-purpose company does not own it.
“I was under no commitment to talk to Cepep, because Cepep does not own the park. Maintenance of a place doesn’t mean you own it.
“If there was another layer of permission I was supposed to get, I would have done so, but there was no need to do that.”
Baynes said the individual did not complain about the project when it began last month.
“So, why did he express concern last night? How is it he never attempted to contact me? There was enough time for him to raise a protest, which I am sure could have been resolved before last night.”
Baynes said when he asked the official the question, he received a nonsensical answer.
“So it is political mischief, and it almost resembles a premeditated kind of action to provoke people who just trying to do something in their community, because that is what the people voted for.”
Baynes said residents living east of the park complained to him about the absence of lights during the THA election campaign.
“They had security concerns because the place was so dark. So I said to them I would try to see if something could be done.”
Baynes said several people from within and outside Sou Sou Lands contributed to the project.
“And this is why this incident is frustrating and disturbing to me at the same time. I see it as provocation.”
Earlier, in a Facebook live video, Baynes claimed there are groups of Tobagonians who believe the island belongs to them.
He added: “The time has come for us to resist this nonsense in this Tobago here. We have to resist these minions that think that this Tobago space belongs to them.”
Baynes said the PDP’s six elected representatives are entitled to work in their respective electoral communities, just like their PNM counterparts.
“The PNM six not bigger than our six. We keep saying that. But they don’t understand that.”
Baynes told the residents they must ensure the lights are not tampered with.
Contacted for a response on Monday, Secretary of Community Development, Enterprise Development and Labour Marslyn Melville-Jack, whose division is in charge of Cepep, said she was unaware of the incident.
Melville-Jack said, "No instructions were given by myself or this division to any Cepep worker to do anything but to maintain the park."