Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. Azlan Mohammed/AZP News
By Sue-Ann Wayow
TOBAGO’s population and especially public servants are being warned that if they want to protect their future, they must vote for the People’s National Movement (PNM) in the upcoming Tobago House of Assembly (THA) general election.
Prime Minister and PNM’s Political Leader Dr Keith Rowley on Monday night called on Tobagonians to not gamble with the future of the island on January 25, the date set for the THA election.
“This is not a Bingo. It is not Play Whe. It is not the horse-race track. This is the future of the children and all the people of Trinidad and Tobago and it is not a chance matter,” Dr Rowley declared.
The PNM and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) led by Watson Duke who is also the president of the Public Services Association (PSA) are the main contenders in the election.
On the eve of the PNM’s celebration of 65 years as a political party on January 24, the PNM launched their concert-style campaign in Tobago that consisted of several musical performances, the introduction of candidates and addresses by leader of the PNM’s Tobago Council Tracy Davidson-Celestine, and Dr Rowley.
The party’s election slogan is “Building Tobago Better.”
Dr Rowley, who is also a Tobagonian, in his brief address said, “On the eve of the 65th anniversary of the PNM as political leader of the memorable organisation, I could not be more pleased than to see the quality of candidates that the PNM has presented to the people of Tobago.”
He pointed out that in the general election held in August, 2020, the two Tobago seats won by the PNM was significant enough to decide who sat on the Government’s side in the House of Parliament. “You may be small but you are not insignificant,” he told supporters.
Even though the main contending political party was the PDP, Dr Rowley hit at the United National Congress (UNC) led Opposition who is not contesting any electoral district.
“Could you imagine, this experience of the people of Tobago being called upon to go to the polls to choose the administration of this section of the country, Tobago of Trinidad and Tobago, and there is an Opposition in the Parliament with 19 seats that does not even look north-east to Tobago, far less to take part in the election.”
He asked, “Who is their proxy in Tobago? Why is it that they are so confident that they could ignore Tobago so totally and still expect to be in charge of Trinidad and Tobago?”
Tobago’s progress depended heavily on a Government “looking out for Tobago.”
The prime minister said although Tobago was still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, infrastructural developments were in place including the new airport terminal, new Roxborough Hospital which is scheduled to be commissioned this week and a possible fire station also in Roxborough.
He said, “Even though world tourism is down sometime in the not too distant future people will start travelling again by the millions and when they start doing that, we would have completed the new Tobago airport terminal. We know there will be situation where the people of East Tobago will like everybody else around the country have a hospital to provide healthcare as good as or even better than elsewhere in the country because we are improving their lives.”
“It does not matter what we are going through now, once we behave as we could behave, that we will be in a position to enjoy the future after the storm,” Dr Rowley said.
Speaking directly to public servants he said, “You go and put somebody in office who believes he vex with everybody else, and then when they come and start to deal with you because they believe you did not support them enough or at all and treat you the same way they treat their union members after the last election, then you will know, it is not a chance thing. Your future is secure with the PNM because the PNM is about fairness. It is about responsibility and it is about a vision for all the people of Tobago.”
He also told attendees he was very pleased to see how disciplined they were practicing Covid-19 protocols while at the event.
And Dr Rowley advises, “Continue to be as disciplined as that as you continue to go for the next three weeks. Do not let any aspect of exuberance cause you to take that mask off your face unless you have to. But be always cognisant of the fact that this major event, the election in Tobago is taking place within a period of great danger and one of the assignments that we all have at the personal level and at the national level is to protect ourselves from spreading this virus.”
THA elections are on January 25.