IDA: Chief Secretary 'disrespectful' to the elderly

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine at the Rotary Club of Port of Spain on March 19. - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale
Chief Secretary Farley Augustine at the Rotary Club of Port of Spain on March 19. - Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

POLITICAL Leader of the Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA) Dr Denise Tsoiafatt Angus has denounced Chief Secretary Farley Augustine for what she described as "disrespectful" remarks to Tobago's elderly.

In a media release, the IDA took umbrage with Augustine's comments during the TPP's political meeting in Speyside on March 17.

Discussing the quest for autonomy, Augustine said: “There are some voices who feel that they are the only gurus on autonomy and if they don’t talk, then the thing not going good – if they not leading it, then the thing ain't good. Some of those who are knocking on their casket doors should not be leading the conversation.”

The IDA called on Augustine to embody the statesmanship that the people of Tobago expect from their leaders.

“It is disheartening to witness such disrespectful behaviour from a public official, particularly when his own councillor, Orlando Kerr, who on the same platform chided the Prime Minister for being disrespectful, emphasised the importance of mutual respect among officeholders by giving due respect to the Prime Minister and his office in a very deliberate way. Disrespect should never be tolerated, and bullying tactics have no place in our democracy.”

The IDA claimed that Augustine's remark about those "knocking on their casket doors" was in direct reference to economist Dr Vanus James, who supported Augustine's former party, the PDP, in the last THA elections.

In January, Augustine referred to James as "my good friend...sometimes my not so good friend."

Contacted on March 19, James declined to comment, saying he prefers to not get into that side of politics.

Newsday called Augustine for further comment but he did not answer calls to his cellphone.

Tsoiafatt Angus said, "This is the same Dr James to whom he gave assurances about his commitment to establishing good governance structures and to focus on autonomy. His remarks did not only insult the individual targeted but also the majority of attendees at the meeting, given the sparse representation of young people.

"His irreverence to the elders who supported and paved the way for his campaign cannot be overlooked. Such divisive language only serves to deepen divisions within our community and distract from the real issues at hand.”

The autonomy bills are currently before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament. At the funeral service of former chief secretary Hochoy Charles, Dr Rowley told those gathered that the Tobago Self-Government Bill and the Tobago Island Administration Bill "will be put before the Parliament for the 41 members of Trinidad and Tobago’s Parliament to vote on it on your behalf.”

The bills require a three-fifths majority for passage.


"IDA: Chief Secretary ‘disrespectful’ to the elderly"

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