Indarsingh: Give Tobago Equal Status with Trinidad

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE Opposition United National Congress (UNC) continues to insist Tobago needed equal status with Trinidad even as the Tobago Self-Governance Bill is being tabled in Parliament.

Opposition Member of Parliament Rudranath Indarsingh in his contribution to the Bill on Monday in Parliament quoted from Tobago politicians who have called for the Bill’s amendment.

Reading from a 1977 speech by then Tobago MP Arthur NR Robinson Indarsingh said, “Whatever the fate of this motion, whether honourable minister opposite oppose it or accept it, internal self-government for Tobago is on the national agenda from today and it would continue to be on the national agenda until, with almighty God, justice and internal self-government are brought to the people of Tobago.”

He also read from a Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP)’s letter to all Tobago’s political parties which states, “As responsible organisations in the Tobago space, it should behoove us all to press the national parliament to move more progressively in the direction of granting Tobago equality in status with Trinidad and therefore positioning  Tobago to achieve its fullest potential.”

Indarsingh who also gave a historical account of Tobago’s governance said the People’s National Movement (PNM) has been given the reigns of power in central Government more than any other political party yet continued to fail to grant full freedom to Tobago.

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He said although, Tobago has been given responsibility for more nautical miles, there was still nothing substantial to protect the world famous Buccoo Reef and the ecosystem in Speyside.

Indarsingh also referred to a 2013 bill brought by the former administration which he said offered more to Tobago including the allowance to make its own laws regarding economics and both the Tobago House of Assembly and the Parliament would have dual control. Key issues which needed to be addressed were Town and Country Planning, marine parks, licensing and the operation of quarries.

“The voices of Tobagonians are panting in the direction of the 2013 Bill which offered more. Why should we accept Bills which are offering far less?” the MP asked.



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