IN one line, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Farley Augustine told Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley not to interfere with the THA’s electoral affairs.
“Just mind yuh damn business!” he told Dr Rowley in a Facebook post on Monday.
In the video Dr Rowley says, “I am not involved in their business. As Prime Minister, I stay out of Tobago’s business. The law keeps me out. I have responsibility as head of the Cabinet and then I am out of your business.
“Tobago’s business is run at the administrative level by the Tobago House of Assembly. It is the only place in the country where I am Prime Minister where there is an Executive body running the affairs of that part of the country and you all better understand that.”
Augustine’s comment to the video was, “Well just mind yuh damn business then!” Also accompanying the video, were photos of the law that listed out the THA’s areas of responsibility.
Dr Rowley in a recent op-ed said that given the THA executive history since gaining office in 2021, a fresh election should be called as the members of that executive have formed a new party, different to what they belonged to upon their election into office.
However, according to Tobago attorney Martin George, the THA executives had no legal standing on which they needed to set a date for a new election.
In his statement, Dr Rowley, political leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM) admitted that the THA elections which resulted in an overwhelming victory for the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) led by Watson Duke was a sobering one for the PNM that only won one seat out of 15.
He also stated, “In full public view, the elected members of the PDP, through a series of expulsions and withdrawals have created a situation where the business of the Executive of the Tobago House of Assembly, has ended up in the hands of a self-serving group of independents, who, while under no legal requirement to resign their positions, have no mandate from the people of Tobago.”
Referring to the newly formed political party led by Augustine and his team, the Tobago People’s Party, Dr Rowley said, “If the independent political aspirants of the disintegrated PDP wish to be taken seriously by the Central Government and the people of Tobago then the Chief Secretary would do well to make arrangements for an early election within the same time frame that he is making to register a new political party with the Elections and Boundaries Commission.”