Tobago musician: Autonomy bill criticism isn't anti-PNM

Xavier Edwardz -
Xavier Edwardz -

Young conscious musician/artist Xavier Edwardz has said criticism of the Tobago "autonomy" bills must not be dismissed as anti-PNM rhetoric.

Edwardz spoke to Newsday on Wednesday after Parliament debated the Constitutional Amendment (Internal Self-Government) Bill and Tobago Island Government Bill.

The Prime Minister, in his contribution on Tuesday, said the United National Congress (UNC) and certain Tobagonians were opposing the legislation because they felt they were “doing the PNM something.”

He addressed the positions of named detractors of the bill and questioned whether they were qualified to speak for Tobago.

Dr Rowley said former chief secretary Hochoy Charles had served Tobago well in the past but questioned his relevance today,

He said he once locked horns politically in Tobago with political commentator Dr Winford James, and economist Dr Vanus James had been on a PDP platform in the last THA election.

“Christlyn Moore was a UNC senator,” he added.

Edwardz said, “There are agendas at play that would lead people to be either for or against, (but) I think the labelling of anybody who does not directly support the bill as anti-PNM or PNM haters is immature and it’s a poor display of what I would call leadership.

"That language, that tone regarding respecting people in the Tobago space, elders that I look up to and respect and people who have contributed greatly to society, organisations that are working towards the education of the people and political maturity in our space – to chant down these groups is sad to see.”

Edwardz said while listening the debate in Parliament he could not help but remember the THA in abeyance since the six-six result in the January 25 THA election.

“It’s ironic that in the midst of this parliamentary debate – and I have my thoughts about the use of the word debate versus discussion – in the midst of this happening, the 12 elected representatives within the Tobago House of Assembly are struggling to come to some kind of amicable agreement to have a properly constituted House and manage the affairs in a democratic process."

Edwardz said he was unimpressed by the debate.

"The demonstrations of many of the ministers is sad, it’s embarrassing, it's deplorable. I can’t speak too much to debating tactics but I could speak to emotional intelligence, compassion, tone and the art of conversation. To quote one of my elders: it’s a cacophony of a show and the children would be ashamed.”

Edwardz said he wanted to “take snippets from that debate concerning the affairs of Tobago and extract bits and pieces and show to children to see their reactions...I think we’ll be amazed at the responses we’ll get, or sadly disappointed.”

Edwardz said Tobago's assemblymen could help advance the island's interest through a show of unity.

“This is an important issue but more importantly, the Tobago House of Assembly needs to be constituted appropriately. That would be a great display of maturity in the assembly between the 12 elected assembly persons and that would speak to their ability to show up in Parliament and advocate on behalf of Tobagonians with the honest and true development of our space as most important, as opposed to individual or political agendas.”


"Tobago musician: Autonomy bill criticism isn’t anti-PNM"

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