Now that the dust has settled and the oaths have been taken, President Paula-Mae Weekes is urging the new Tobago House of Assembly (THA) team to get to work.
Speaking prior to the administering of the oaths of office for secretaries and assistant secretaries on Friday at the Assembly Legislature in Scarborough, Tobago, Weekes said Tobagonians are looking on as the new assembly would be expected to hit the ground running from day one.
“I, along with the rest of the nation, would be watching you fulfil your legal duty contained in the preamble to the Tobago House of Assembly Act – to make provision for the administration of the island of Tobago and for matters connected therewith.”
Weekes said the people of Tobago were unequivocal, resolute and confident in deciding whom they wished to give stewardship of their affairs.
“And they have every right that those stewards would be competent, trustworthy and ready, willing and able to put their shoulders to the plough. They expect you to hit the ground running from day one. And you would be called to deliver on your platform promises, as well as in other areas not considered during the campaign.”
To Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, she said she has every hope that he would steer the transition and realignment with the poise and leadership expected in the new position.
“Your vantage point might have shifted, but I have little doubt that with integrity, courage and discipline as your guidepost, you would chart and stay a course that would improve the fortunes of Tobago and, by extension, the nation.”
To Minority Leader Kelvon Morris, she said an active opposition presence is critical to hold the ruling party to account and ensure judicious debate on proposed plans and policies, thereby providing a system of checks and balances on the public interest.
“Like the cheese, you stand alone. But that does not mean that the task is beyond you, and I trust you would be ably supported by the experienced members of your party.”
She added: “I urge you to fiercely defend that public interest not by opposing for the sake of opposition, but in order to add value to the political process.
“This involves doing much in-depth research on polemic affairs, seeking the views both compatible and divergent of affected parties, bringing to the table reasonable, informed arguments and – here’s a thought – if there is something worth supporting, support it.”
She told the assemblymen and councilors that the ball of governance has been logged squarely in their courts as they now shoulder the responsibility to bear true faith and allegiance to TT, uphold the constitution and the law, and conscientiously and impartially discharge their duties and responsibilities.
“These words are the standards by which you’ll be measured and judged during your four-year term.”