Unity of the People (UTP) political leader Nickocy Phillips believes the passage of the Tobago "autonomy" bills should precede fresh THA elections.
Phillips was speaking at a news conference on Tuesday at the Buccoo Integrated Facility.
Last Thursday, the Prime Minister announced that Tobago will head back to the polls to break the six-six election deadlock. Dr Rowley said the Cabinet approved the proclamation of the Tobago House of Assembly (Amendment) Act, 2021.
The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on February 19 and by the Senate on March 2, and assented to by President Paula-Mae Weekes on March 16. The act was proclaimed into law on July 26.
Rowley said within 90 days of July 26, the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) must give Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein a report outlining the boundaries of the 15 electoral districts the legislation proposes. Once this is approved by the House of Representatives, he said, there is a 60-90-day window within which the election could be called.
Phillips said, “How can this pave the way, when we have the two bills still in committee stages in the Parliament? Without the Constitutional Amendment Bill being passed, this proclamation would not be useful in taking Tobago forward towards self-determination.”
Phillips believes Rowley was being strategic to force support of the autonomy bills.
“This is the time when we all know that tricks are being played because it was a very good, smart move by the Prime Minister that with the proclamation made, it would force the hands of the Opposition to now put this bill into effect.”
Phillips said UTP would continue to push for Tobago and its development.
“A lot of things are happening in the background – I am not backing down. I made a promise to fight, and I am going to continue to fight. I am going to continue to represent the interest of the people I represent, and I am going to do so without fear or prejudice.”
Phillips said UTP will be contesting several seats in the upcoming elections when the date is announced.