Augustine: Autonomy 'dead in the water' under PNM

PDP's Farley Augustine  - Assembly Legislature
PDP's Farley Augustine - Assembly Legislature

Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) deputy leader Farley Augustine said Tobago's autonomy dream would be "dead in the water" of the People's National Movement is voted into office.

Augustine was speaking on Thursday at a political meeting in the Bagatelle/ Bacolet area.

Augustine said, “There is only party that believes that Tobago deserves its autonomy – and that’s the Progressive Democratic Patriots."

The autonomy bill is currently before the committee stage in Parliament. The bill is meant to give Tobago greater control in managing its affairs – including some law-making powers.

The PDP has argued that the bill, which needs a constitutional majority, does not represent the will of Tobago.

Augustine said the maritime boundary is one of the main areas of concern.

He claimed the PNM had previously criticised the United National Congress over it.

"Those same people today are telling you, you ent deserve not even one square inch of your own waters.”

He added: “I am Tobago born, I am Tobago bred, I am living Tobago and when I’m dead, I’ll be a Tobago dead. Therefore, this place belongs to me and every other Tobagonian and we would fight tooth and nail to protect this island – it's ours.”

He said there are far-reaching implications if the autonomy issue is not settled.

“It is not just access to hydrocarbons. It’s not just access to our waters – but have you thought for a second the wealth of resources we have in our marine space?

"Have you thought for a second that we need to protect our marine space – have you thought for a moment that we have to take good care of our fish stock?

"Having our own autonomy means we can control our priorities, we can determine what we want to do first, second and third and let Trinidad stay down there and fight up with crime while we build a better society, a much more competitive society, a society that is much more beautiful and coherent than our neighbours in Trinidad – that is what we want.”

Despite PDP leader Watson Duke previously advocating for independence, Augustine said that is not the PDP's goal.

Also addressing supporters was the party’s candidate for the area, Nathisha Charles-Pantin, who said Tobagonians must not “grow weary of doing good, for it is our purpose to restore a sense a pride in our people, the people of Tobago.”

She said, “If you give PDP a chance, you can have more, you can have better and richer experiences.”

Politics, she said isn’t a long-term relationship where one political entity has to rule forever.

“You have to give yourself a chance by voting for the PDP.”

She said the PDP will fight to implement a system that ensures that everyone is given the best opportunity that the island can offer, both in the private and public sector.

“As your future representative, I would be visible at all times, keep regular meetings with you, address the needs in your area and represent you throughout the entire four years. I will serve your interest throughout the entire four years.”


"Augustine: Autonomy 'dead in the water' under PNM"

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