Chief Secretary Orville London is assuring Tobagonians that his new administration will not victimise or discriminate against anyone following his party’s 12-0 victory in the January 21 THA election.
He said no one at the level of the executive council will be involved in this practice and if anyone below this level took it upon themselves to do so “we will take care of them”.
“We are not going to interfere with anyone who did not vote for us. We are stretching out a hand to everybody,” London told the first sitting of the Tobago House of Assembly on Thursday February 7 2013) as he presented a Motion asking the House to endorse the strategies and initiatives proposed by the Executive Council for the further enhancement of the democratic process in Tobago.
The Tobago Chief Secretary said the elected representatives in his administration had taken a decision that they had come out of the election mode and had put on their business suits. “We are committed to no victimisation and no discrimination. There should be no gloating and no recrimination. We have no intention to victimise or discriminate against anybody,” he said.
London described the election campaign as the most acrimonious the island ever experienced and appealed to the decision-makers that “we have to start to repair the bridges. He said there must be a corridor of cooperation between the THA and the Central Government and was very heartened by the positive response “from across the waters. We will continue to stretch out our hands”.
He said a unique situation had emerged following the election and looking directly across the floor said the vacant chair symbolised there was no Minority Side in the House, something that was not envisaged in the THA Act. However, he said, in the coming years his administration was going to turn a challenge into an opportunity and listed some of the steps to be taken where the people of Tobago will participate in the democratic exercise.
He added: “Although we won all the seats we did not get all the votes. There were 50 per cent of the people who did not vote for us and therefore there are people out there who are going to judge us.”
London said he had already met with Dr Vanus James, of the Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD), former chief secretary Hochoy Charles and the Tobago Chapter of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce. He said they all made valuable suggestions and will be meeting with other individuals and organisations in the coming weeks to discuss the proposals for democratising the process in the absence of a Minority Side.
“People have to be given the opportunity to be part of the process but they must also take responsibility. The interest of the people of Tobago must take priority,” he said.
He said a Tobago Interest Group with representatives from all sectors will be appointed shortly, a Public Interest Desk has been established with the temporary e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org, and telephone 639-3688. He said Assemblymen will meet regularly with their constituents including individuals and groups while Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries will have monthly meetings in each electoral district starting in March.
London said: We are committed to walking the talk. We understand that we are going down the road on which we have not traveled and we are looking to the people to provide advice. We are doing this to prove ourselves right. On January 21 we shouted across the waters. We have got to ensure that the next four years are going to be productive.”
During the sitting the three new Councillors – Dr Denise Troiafatt-Angus, Deon Isaac and Gary Melville received their instruments of appointment from Presiding Officer Kelvin Charles.