Tobago’s rendezvous with fate | Journalist


Wouldn’t it… er, fun if the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) led by Farley Augustine and Watson Duke set off to win the Tobago Stakes in tomorrow’s resumption of the House of Assembly elections?

The last time these two political parties met, less than a year ago, the meeting ended in a controversial six-six tie that gave Duke bragging rights, not without merit, since his brand new PDP made huge gains in terms of overall votes and the number of seats he captured. Yet they did not dislodge the cunning PNM who used the exercise of power as an instrument to gain another chance to control HAT, which they have held since 2001.

Now I must clarify that I have not been “on the ground” in the Covid campaign, with all the restrictions. And in my years of monitoring, evaluating, and trying to project election results, I have learned that the field is where one needs to be in order to get the vibes of the electorate before risking their election. reputation. So there is that, and there is also my ignorance of the Tobago culture, the special relationships that Tobagonians share, that my Tobagonian buddies talk about.

Readers should note that in 1956, when the founder of modern and postcolonial T&T and father of the PNM, Dr Eric Williams, dropped his bucket, as he wrote, and wiped out the older generation of politicians from the elections In the equation, half of Tobago has stood firm with APT “Fargo” James, dismissing PNM Prince ANR Robinson. Williams did not conquer the island until 1961. Later, when the Prince and Father fell out and the latter reluctantly conceded to grant a pint of autonomy to the sister island, like us, Nationals of the Republic of the Two Islands, affectionately known as Tobago, “Robbie” resigned his seat in the Legislative Assembly, contested the first THA election in 1980, defeated the PNM and became de facto King of Tobago and the de jure chief secretary of the THA.

I recall some brief historical facts about the politics of the more recent relationship between the two islands that many citizens of T&T are not familiar with, and which I think are important in making informed judgments about the politics of today. I have seen and felt tons of dung on this topic being dumped on mainstream and anti-social media, which is why I feel compelled to speak … or write.

Robbie, at the head of his own party, the Democratic Action Congress (DAC), retained control of the THA between 1980 and 1986, when he resigned to take charge of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR), an amalgamation of several parties (which continued to wipe the PNM off the national political map), scraping it 33-3.

Let me correct myself “once” before some precision and detail-oriented man exposes my flank. The NAR wiped the PNM off the electoral map, not the political map, since the party, in opposition for the first time in its 30-year history, had garnered an impressive 183,000 votes, while the multi-party NAR (ULF, DAC, ONR, Tapia and others) raised 380,000.

The THA would remain under the control of the DAC / NAR until the 2001 elections, surviving the demise of the NAR, which had collapsed before 1991 when the new PNM led by Patrick Manning returned to government, flogging the UNC with Basdeo Panday in Trinidad, but Tobago staying with the NAR, which really meant Robinson’s DAC. Indeed, this party would retain control of the THA, therefore of Tobago, for four consecutive terms, until the PNM muster the support and the muscles necessary to defeat it in 2001. This is the point that I am trying. to argue in my opening paragraph. In the days of CAD / NAR, there were powerful leaders in Tobago who fought tenaciously for Tobago.

Lennox Denoon and Hochoy Charles have not been easy. But none of them were as rude as Watson Duke, who seems to have found a fool in Farley. Together, they took the campaign to new depths – in terms of language, rudeness in general demeanor and, if we assume that the series of TV commercials directed at them by PNM are accurate in the accusations made, anyone of sound mind will question his fitness to stand publicly. Office. However, in today’s political world, jesters seem to thrive, as witness Donald Trump, Jair Bolsonaro and others like them.

The Tobagonians might just ignore the more seedy side of Watson and his sidekick Farley, in the same way that a majority of them seem to ignore Covid regulations. In other words, fed up with the governance of the PNM, the day before the party’s elections on promises made many years ago and I have heard accusations of victimization and other minor sins, may well be find himself removed from his functions at the THA by Monday evening. If that happens, the many good Islanders shouldn’t be ashamed of what Watson’s policies might do to their image.

After all, we are living in the golden age of silliness where no low is too low.


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