Tobago PNM leader: THA trying to scandalise my name to win next election

Ancil Dennis, PNM Tobago Council political leader. - File photo by David Reid
Ancil Dennis, PNM Tobago Council political leader. - File photo by David Reid

PNM TOBAGO COUNCIL political leader Ancil Dennis has accused the Farley Augustine-led administration of attempting to “scandalise” his name in the hope of winning the next THA election, constitutionally due in 2025.

“They believe that if they can scandalise and propogandise the leader of the PNM, then it will make it easy for them to win the next election to continue their tyranny in Tobago. But I will not allow it,” he said in a video on his Facebook page on March 22.

Dennis was the PNM assemblyman for Buccoo/Mt Pleasant from 2013 up until 2021, when the party suffered a crushing 14-1 defeat to the Progressive Democratic Patriots in the December 6, 2021, THA election.

In the video, Dennis accused the administration of using the Unemployment Relief Programme (URP) as part of its strategy to carry out this agenda.

“Even in the URP we now have paid propogandists. Just imagine that.”

He played an excerpt of a video in which a man, claiming to be a worker in the URP’s furniture workshop, complained about the calibre of work at the Buccoo boardwalk.

The man claimed the boardwalk was supposed to have been made from teak but instead pitch pine was used.

He said, “Watch wah we come and meet here. Watch wah we have to chisel out, pitch pine. The cross pieces is pitch pine.”

The man further said he did not know the contractor that got the job.

“Is not my business. I not into the politics. We just repairing….”

Alleging the man was a “paid propogandist” of the administration, Dennis said the boardwalk, which cost just over $7 million, was done in three phases.

He said, “You see those rails that that paid propogandist talked about in that video, it was done by URP. The railing aspect of the boardwalk development was done by the same URP that he is a part of and I am sure he is aware of that.”

Accusing the THA of attempting to destroy and malign the reputations of Tobago contractors, Dennis said the man’s claim that teak was supposed to be used on the boardwalk and not pitch pine was “absolutely false.”

He claimed, “The reason to use pitch pine had to do with the availability of a more appropriate and hardened material at the point in time because we were in the midst of a (covid19) pandemic. I want the people of Tobago to remember that.

“In a pandemic we were having difficulty sourcing appropriate materials for projects at that time. Even asphalt to pave roads was a major challenge during the pandemic.”

So the URP, Dennis said, opted to use a cheaper material that was available.

“Even with the use of that cheaper material, if periodic maintenance was done, that it would last longer than it did. Actually, it lasted almost four years.”

Saying the URP constructed the rails on the boardwalk, Dennis said during his tenure as chief secretary, the administration had sole selected a Tobago contractor to repair the jetty – the second phase of the project.

He explained, “We got up one morning and discovered that due to bad weather and rough seas, the Buccoo Jetty became almost unusable.

“It was significantly damaged by the bad weather during that period in September 2020. So given the nature of that situation, we sole selected a contractor quickly to repair the jetty. That contractor was not required to replace the rails.”

Dennis added the contractor was also required to do landscaping, signage, painting, bench repairs and lighting for the facility, which was done utilising solar energy.

He said the third phase of the project was the refurbishment of the Buccoo Beach Bar.

“That was done by a different contractor through a public competitive tender.”

Dennis recalled there was another contractor at that site when he became chief secretary. He said he, the then chief administrator and other THA officials visited the site but were dissatisfied with the quality of work.

He said he later instructed the chief administrator to take all of the appropriate and legal steps to fire that contractor from the project.

“She agreed and that was done, based on sound legal advice and we re-tendered the project publicly and competitively and another Tobago contractor, a totally different contractor, not the same one that was sole selected for phase two, but a different Tobago contractor won the bid and he delivered on the third phase of that project.”


"Tobago PNM leader: THA trying to scandalise my name to win next election"

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