THA Chief Secretary Orville London and former chief secretary Hochoy Charles met for almost an hour yesterday (Thursday 31st January 2013) to discuss Tobago people’s business in the wake of the outcome of the January 21 THA election.
The two agreed that priority number one should be the issue of self government for Tobago and that all of Tobago should collaborate and cooperate in dealing with this matter. They further agreed that the Assembly get the power of law-making and executive power without the interference of the Cabinet under Section 75 of the Constitution.
In an interview following their 50-minute historic meeting at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex, Scarborough Charles said: “We are going to ensure that these things happen to us and that these things are delivered to us in the shortest possible time.”
Charles who is leader of The Platform of Truth (TPT) said they also agreed on a common effort, a common plan and a common strategy in order to keep these issues on the front burner and to bring them to the table and to the fore so that they can be discussed. He said they would not disclose their strategy at this time.
He added that self government was passed for Tobago more than 35 years ago and didn’t think that “we should wait for the 40 years like the people of Israel waited in the wilderness before we can get it”.
The meeting followed a similar one between London and Dr Vanus James, of the Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD) last Saturday. London will also meet with the Tobago Chapter of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce next Tuesday to be followed by other organisations during the month.
London admitted that Charles and himself have been on different sides of the political fence for many years but one of the things they had in common was the major priority of the interest of the people of Tobago. He added that basically the results of the election meant that there was no minority presence in the Tobago House of Assembly. He said this doesn’t mean that Tobago politics should revolve around one party and contrary to what people might think it presented an insurmountable challenge. He added that it presented an opportunity to introduce into Tobago true democracy between elections. “Democracy is not just about election results, democracy is about what happens between elections and therefore we felt we had to be the catalyst involving as many individuals, organisations and communities in the process,” he said.
London disclosed that that he would be taking a motion to the first sitting of the House of Assembly next Thursday to treat with the strategies and vision for treating with Tobago people’s business during this very unique period of challenges and opportunities for Tobago.
The Tobago Chief Secretary described the meeting as interesting and productive, adding that Charles was able to bring his experience to the table and will help him to fine tune his proposals and even make them more effective. “I want to thank him for that,” London said.
London said Charles has committed to be part of the process which would give Tobagonians the assurance that “we are going to work assiduously to ensure that what Tobago people want and deserve with respect to internal self government is what they are going to get”.
He said all the leaders with the exception of one would have said that the views of the people of Tobago must be respected and they must form the basis of any kind of agreement between Tobago and Trinidad, between the Assembly and the Central Government and of course based on what should happen in Parliament.