Tobagonians on PDP’s 14-1 victory: ‘PNM licks was booked’

A supporter shows off her PDP-branded face mask in Scarborough on Tuesday. - Jeff K. Mayers
A supporter shows off her PDP-branded face mask in Scarborough on Tuesday. - Jeff K. Mayers

The Progressive Democratic Patriots' (PDP) historic 14-one defeat of the People's National Movement (PNM) in Monday's Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election may have surprised Trinis, but Tobagonians knew sweeping changes were on the horizon.

As seat after seat was declared for the PDP after the polls closed on Monday, the island exploded into celebration as the six-six deadlock from the January 25 election was broken.

The PNM had controlled the assembly for 21 consecutive years, and was campaigning for another term based on providing "stability and continued development."

But its appeals were drowned by cries for change.

On Tuesday afternoon, Tobago was buzzing at almost every corner as the public discussed the election outcome and shared hopes on how they anticipate the next four years under a PDP administration would be.

They all said PNM stood no chance.

"That cuta-- was booked," Kurt Solomon of Buccoo told Newsday.

He said Tobago's voting pattern has changed with the new generation.

"This surprised those old folk, not us. Nobody really surprised here. It's always, 'PNM till I dead,' with this old generation. A lot of the elders pass away. This generation smarter. We vote for action."

He said the PNM had got too comfortable in power for two decades.

"I know PNM all my life. I just wanted to see what difference we could see. That 41 years they holding on to Buccoo, we caused that and made them comfortable."

Harrison Nedd of Buccoo, Tobago discuss the THA election result on Tuesday. - Jeff K. Mayers

PNM supporter Harrison Nedd told Newsday even though he pushed hard to get votes for his party, he observed the PDP had galvanised the support of the younger people.

"I'm a PNM, but I feel the youths make PDP win. They get in their head.

"People say they want change, so let's see the evidence of change. I hope they use the money wise and pave the way for youths."

Nedd admitted he wasn't pleased with outgoing chief secretary Ancil Dennis's representation in Buccoo/Mt Pleasant.

"He just study to bling and giving out Cepep work."

Andre Guy, a reef tour operator, also believed Tobago deserved a change, but he had some concerns about the PDP.

"I have no problem with results. Tobago has finally spoken and taken a stand for injustice for all these years under PNM. We really don't want this party, but we want change and this is best option."

PDP supporters celebrate at their party's headquarters in Roxborough, Tobago on Monday night. - David Reid

In the coming years he hopes to see the resources allocated to the island being shared equally.

Tony Noel said he spent the last few years disgusted by the way the PNM handled Tobago's affairs.

"This had to happen like that and God never give a blessing to Tobago like that. God put his hand."

John Payne of Darrel Spring said he was intrigued by the vision of a new Tobago as sold by the PDP on the platform.

"PNM had a weak team. PDP had a better campaign. PNM was only driving around making noise."

He called on the PDP to keep its promises as it steers Tobago in the next four years.

Alisha Charles Stephens of Belle Garden said she hopes the PDP works closely with the public to move Tobago into a better position.

"As they said, 'Leh we fix dis,' so I expect them to join forces with the people to make Tobago what we envisioned for the island, which is a bright future for us. We hope the newly elected remain humble."

Reginald Smith of Bagatelle said he doesn't want to keep his expectations too high but would like to see an improved agriculture industry.

"The results were expected, but we are watching to see what's PDP's next move."

Sanjay Gunness of Glen Road, a Trinidadian living in Tobago, said he wishes better for the island he has called home for the past eight years.

"I'm not shocked with the results. I was expecting a win, but not of that magnitude. From a deadlock to landslide, that is a shame. PNM came with this same old strategy of paving the roads just before election and handing out goodies. This win is much deserved."

He encouraged the PDP to focus heavily on youths, the education sector and creating employment opportunities.

Dave McKnight of Plymouth described the outcome as an explosion. He said Tobago finally gave birth to what it's been suffering in labour for the past 21 years.

Dave McKnight describes the PDP election win as an "explosion." - Jeff K. Mayers

He advised the PDP not to fight with central government, but to find ways to work together so Tobago can get what it wants.

A North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) poll a week before said the election was too close to call but gave the PNM the edge on incumbency and resources.

Responding to the NACTA poll, PDP deputy leader Farley Augustine told Newsday last week that NACTA was unaware of what was happening on the ground.


"Tobagonians on PDP’s 14-1 victory: ‘PNM licks was booked’"

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