The Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA), which was launched on August 2, has unveiled its executive, as it begins to mobilise for the next THA elections.
The members were announced on Monday during a news conference at the party’s headquarters in Scarborough.
Tobago Festivals Commission chairman Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus is the IDA’s political leader, while retired special branch police officer and guidance counsellor Bevon Dennis is its chairman.
The other members are Ayanna Phillips (secretary); Kay Trotman (PRO); Sandra Aliendre (treasurer); Terrence David (elections officer) and Stacy Herbert (welfare officer).
Tsoiafatt Angus the members were selected after an intense process.
“The executive you now see before you is the product of months of deliberations, interviews and consultations,” she told reporters.
“A lot of discussions among interested parties led to the development of specific criteria that was utilised to identify individuals, engage with them and align to respective positions. The result is the cadre of experienced and competent individuals you see before you today.”
Now that the IDA’s structure has been formalised, Tsoiafatt Angus said the party plans to continue educating Tobagonians “towards greater capacity and a mindset of advancement.”
She added, “At the same time, we are cognisant of the upcoming THA elections and intend to be fully mobilised to contest the elections and provide the people of this island with the only option for prudent management of our resources, equitable distribution of resources and promotion of a model society that yields benefits for all citizens.”
The January 25, 2021 THA elections ended in an unprecedented six-six tie between the PNM and PDP. However, the THA (Amendment) Act, proclaimed in July, paves the way for fresh elections. The Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) has been given 90 days, upon the proclamation of the act, to produce a report and submit it to the Minister of Rural Development and Local Government for the purpose of creating 15 electoral districts in Tobago.
Tsoiafatt Angus said the party intends to contest all 15 electoral districts.
“The IDA is truly the voice of representation of all Tobagonians and residents of Tobago, as can be seen within the composition of our executive body. As such, it is always going to be our intention to represent all Tobagonians when the elections are called and the electoral districts are announced by the Elections and Boundaries Commission.”
She said the party will reveal its candidates in due course.
“As is synonymous with any well-managed political organisation, there is a process of screening and consideration of all individuals who may present themselves as an option for representation. The IDA continues to observe this process on an ongoing basis, employing detailed methods of scrutiny and subsequent training for all who will be presented as candidates. When the time is upon us, the candidates for the respective districts would be presented to the general public.”
Tsoiafatt Angus dismissed the view that the IDA is a tool to split votes in the election.
“The Innovative Democratic Alliance is focused on building the capacity of the people of this island and delivering leadership that takes us into developed country status. We are not concerned with political rhetoric nor are we going to waste the precious time that citizens set aside to listen to our messaging, to promote any unproductive discussions. We have a mandate to fulfil, and the citizens of this island to provide with unbiased and prudent leadership.”
She the party also has other committees, which will be revealed as the campaign for the THA election draws nearer.
Tsoiafatt Angus reiterated anyone with Tobago’s interests at heart can become a member of the party.
“Our mantra is that we represent all Tobagonians and stakeholders in Tobago. We are, therefore, an organisation that remains open, available and accessible to anyone that is willing to offer advice or any other level of support to assist in building not the not just the party, but the island of Tobago and its people.”
Asked if members of the executive were once part of any other political organisation, she said, “We have all over time, just as every voting-age citizen, supported one political party or another. However, for one reason or another there is now a comfort level with respect to the perception of the overall vision for this island, and so we have all decided to now heavily invest our efforts in promoting what we believe is the ideal direction and leadership that Tobago needs in this time of seeming uncertainty. As such, we are committed to the vision and mission of the Innovative Democratic Alliance.”
On whether the IDA is discussing support with any financiers at this time, Tsoiafatt Angus said, “The Innovative Democratic Alliance, as the name implies, is designed to forge alliances towards the benefit of Tobago and Tobagonians and all residents. We are available to conduct discussions with any stakeholder that is willing to support the policies and efforts to take Tobago forward and upward into the next phase of our development by creating a thriving society.”