“You cannot have democracy; you cannot have true governance, except you have the involvement of the people.”
That’s the lesson THA Chief Secretary Orville London left with the residents of East Tobago at Tuesday (March 1) night’s community meeting in Goodwood/Belle Garden.
“Governance is not just about the area representatives or the Assembly because there are very many different definitions of democracy but all of them have one thing in common, they include the word people,” he told constituents of Goodwood/Belle Garden. The Chief Secretary said the people’s involvement in governance must be “meaningful” to have democracy.
London said he is hoping for two things: one, that the quality of the conversation between the public and their representatives will be enhanced during the Face to Face series of community meetings; and two, that the conversation will continue after the meeting.
According to the Chief Secretary, a lot has happened in Goodwood/Belle Garden and in Tobago over the last four years. Despite our economic challenges, he added, a lot is happening and will continue to happen. He called on the community to also be understanding of the nation’s current challenges.
London said the economic situation will not improve significantly in the next year.
“So therefore just as you have to manage your household with limited resources, we in the Assembly and you in the community, just as how we have to manage our development in a manner that takes into consideration the reality, we can only be successful if we understand, if we appreciate and be able to make the necessary adjustment.”
Development will not stop in Goodwood/Belle Garden or in Tobago, London stressed, while advising the audience that it will not proceed as quickly as in the last 14 or 15 years.
“That is the reality that we have to face and regardless of the challenges that we have to face, Tobago will come out of this stronger and better than we came in at the beginning of this year,” He added.
Speaking on the issue of land titles in Tobago, London said it is not an easy one to fix. He noted that three pieces of legislation have been drafted and passed to the Office of the Attorney General in the hope that it will be resolved.
“This is not something that is simple but I am confident that that is something that can happen in the shortest possible time,” he said.
The community meeting was the third of 13 in the series being held in the island’s 12 electoral districts, which will run until July. The next meeting is scheduled for March 17 at the Lowlands Multi-Purpose Facility in the Buccoo/Mt Pleasant electoral district.