PM concerned about inter-isle relations: 'When did Tobago become like this?'

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley  -
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley -

The Prime Minister is concerned about the current relationship between Trinidad and Tobago.

Speaking at a PNM Tobago Council public meeting on Sunday in Mason Hall, Dr Rowley said as prime minister of the republic, he took an oath of office to be responsible for the affairs of all the people of TT.

He said November marks 42 years since his entry into public life, as he first mounted a PNM platform in Tobago in 1980, contesting the general election on the island in 1981, losing to National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) Tobago East representative James Ivan Ogiste. He said even at that time, he did not give up on Tobago.

He said many years later, he contested the elections in Trinidad and was elected MP for Diego Martin West, where he has been serving since 1991. Now, as prime minister, he said he has no intention of asking anyone, “least of all in Tobago,” to respect him.

“The one thing you’re not going to get from me is any fight with any office-holder in Tobago over respect, any fight with any office-holder in Tobago over truth, and any fight with any office holder in Tobago over office."

He was referring to THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine’s Facebook post telling him to mind his own business and stay out of Tobago affairs.

“What they’re asking you to do is to breach your oath of office, and I have no intention of breaching my oath of office – none whatsoever. I have every intention of ensuring that the people of Tobago get everything that the Parliament says that the people of Tobago should get.

"The policy of the government in TT is that as we develop the nation, develop the country, is that we try to leave no one behind, whether you’re in Carapichaima, whether you’re in Carenage, whether you’re in Charlotteville, whether you’re anywhere in this country – we are not going to run this country with a policy to leave you behind.”

He said having met with the executive previously, he realised politics was taking over performance in Tobago, as the party that won the elections had disappeared, and others became independent and later formed their own party. He said he did not get involved as it was not in the interest of the people of Tobago.

“All that they went through, all that they’re going through,
including police and warrants,
were of their own doing, without the PNM, without the Central Government, without the prime minister – they did that to themselves.”

He was referring to the police search of the home of several THA officials in July. The search, carried out by officers of the Anti-Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB), is believed to be part of the probe into a controversial audio clip in which people, believed to be high-ranking government officials, can be heard planning to use THA resources to fund a political propaganda campaign. The audio recording began circulating on social media on May 23.

He also referred to the special sitting of the THA in July when Augustine made serious allegations against him, including playing into the assembly’s records, a purportedly secret recording that included Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) membership officer Akil Abdullah.

“That matter is now in the court. It is in the court. I can tell you I am still in shock – I am still in shock because I never expected that.”

He added: “People of Tobago, when did we become like that? When did that become a part of Tobago’s ethos? Prime Minister of Tobago, one of the little ones – they never know that anybody could hate Tobago so like how the Prime Minister hate Tobago. And all I would say: Girl, why you don’t ketch yourself, ketch your falling feathers.”


"PM concerned about inter-isle relations: ‘When did Tobago become like this?’"

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