PROGRESSIVE Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke disagrees with the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA’s) plan to take legal action to get some $166.54 million which it claims the government owes in approved parliamentary allocations over the past few years.
He also scoffed at the THA’s decision to push for more substantial budgetary allocations through the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) to carry out its development agenda.
Chief Secretary Farley Augustine made the announcement in the Assembly Legislature, Scarborough, on Thursday as he moved a motion, calling on the House to adopt the THA’s re -prioritised agenda for fiscal 2024.
In its Tobago budget in June, the THA requested $4.54 billion from central government to manage its affairs over the next year. It received $2.85 billion – 55 per cent of its original request - in the national budget in September.
Augustine presented the THA’s re-prioritised budget after two separate meetings with executives, administrators and technocrats at Manta Lodge, Speyside and Shaw Park Cultural Complex.
At a news conference on Friday at the PDP’s headquarters, Port Mall, Scarborough, Duke said the THA should not have sought legal action.
“I am against legal action, yes. When you take legal action against someone it diminishes your ability to use moral suasion,” he told reporters.
Duke, a former Public Services Association president, said he was an expert at negotiations and would have handled the situation differently.
“You can see what is happening now from my departure from the union now as a whole. It is a football game there now.
“You have to know sometimes when to harden up and when to soften up and when to be consistent.”
He said Augustine does not know how to do that.