One month after assuming the position of PNM Tobago Council political leader, Ancil Dennis said the party is in the process of rebuilding after its crushing 14-1 defeat to the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) in the December 6, 2021, THA election.
Dennis, who served as chief secretary from May 6, 2020 to December 8, 2021, was the sole contender for political leader when the Tobago Council held its internal election on April 24. Eleven other positions on the party’s 17-member executive were contested unopposed.
“We have hit the ground running,” he told Newsday.
Dennis said the members of the new executive hosted a leadership retreat last Sunday at the Black Rock Community Centre.
In attendance were Tobago MPs Shamfa Cudjoe and Ayanna Webster-Roy and Minority Leader Kelvon Morris, who won the PNM’s only electoral district, Darrel Spring/Whim, in the THA election.
Dennis said he was pleased with the retreat.
“We had a very good, powerful session discussing leadership and our strategies going forward and we had, as part of that, some team-building exercises.”
He said the party will host a thanksgiving service on Sunday at the Signal Hill Secondary School from 4pm.
“Following that, from next week, we will be going out to start our consultations and meeting with our members.”
After his victory on April 24, Dennis had told reporters he intended to make some changes to the Tobago Council’s internal structure.
On that occasion, he also said he wanted to listen to the views of the party’s members.
“It is important to really talk to our membership, so my first order of business will be to meet with the new executive, to hear from them their concerns, their ideas and, of course, we will extend those consultations to the general membership of the party and that is, of course, concerning the internal party arrangements because I think we need to make some changes to the organisation itself.”
Dennis added, “I feel the need for the party to talk to the people of Tobago once again – as we have been doing all along. But I think we need to have a fresh conversation with the people of Tobago to determine our platform going forward – those set of values that we would be promoting as a party, as an alternative administration on the island of Tobago and, therefore, we will have those conversations with the people of Tobago going forward.”
In assuming the post of political leader, Dennis succeeded Tracy Davidson-Celestine, who had created history when she became the Tobago Council’s first female leader on January 26, 2020.
Davidson-Celestine decided to not seek re-election after the party’s defeat to the PDP in the THA election.