PDP Growing in Trinidad

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

THE Tobago-born Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) is growing in Trinidad.

On Sunday, the political party led by Watson Duke had its official Trinidad launch at the Hyatt Regency whose hall was packed with supporters clad in party T-shirts.

Addressing the crowd and holding a spear, Duke pledged a more “in touch” style of politics promising to build a “Spartan army” fighting on behalf of citizens.


Referring to the PDP’s historic win over the People’s National Movement (PNM) in last year’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections, Duke said, “We fought with everything we had.” 

The leader of the two major political parties Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, now both in their 70s were no longer able to effectively run the country and Duke promised to “decentralise power from central government.”

The former union leader complained about the increasing costs of gasoline, housing and healthcare while salaries were not being increased.

A gas march is being planned to protest the increase in prices and Duke said he intends to request permission from Acting Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob.

Through a “loaves of love” initiative, the political leader promised to distribute at least 1,000 loaves of bread to the people in need in “depressed” communities.


Duke said he planned to spend a week in those communities to live among residents and share their lifestyles.

“I want to know how it feels like to be in Laventille. I want to know how it feels like to be in Beetham…I want to know about the gang warfare, I want to live it, Spartans nah fear that!” he said.

“We moving in and we ain’t going to rent no place, you know. We going and live by somebody. What them eat, we eating, what them sit down on, we sit down on too. What them bathing with, I bathing with, because unless you have walked in these people shoes you can’t represent them,” Duke said.

He added, “We have to empower people by going and live among them. This is the greatest form of empowerment where you take up residence among the people who have nothing, they begin to communicate with you.”

Duke also said he hoped every home in Beetham would have a swimming pool and every home in Laventille a nice verandah.

He called on the rich in Trinidad to assist the party and its vision.

“We are calling upon the rich part of Trinidad… those persons who have ‘rel’ money and don’t know what to do with it, give the PDP something, those who have given already, keep giving because we are on the path to build a better Trinidad and Tobago.”

The PDP will ensure that no child or family will have to deal with lack, he stated.

THA’s Chief Secretary Farley Augustine also spoke at the event.

Duke promised to empower local government and hoped to see the THA head enjoy the same status as Cabinet’s head, the prime minister.

Earlier, Augustine said after 60 years of independence, Tobago and Trinidad were not equal. 

The PDP also introduced its other executive officials. 

  • Deputy political leaders-Suzette Louwe and Kezel Jackson;

  • Chairman -Peter McClean;

  • Vice chairmen – Maryam Abdullah and Dr John Paul Alexander;

  • Assistant secretary – Ronald Rattan;

  • Education officer – June James; and

  • Membership officer – Laura Guaverra 


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