Chief Secretary Orville London is planning to set up a Public Interest Desk to allow the people of Tobago to ask questions relating to the operations of the various Divisions of the Tobago House of Assembly.
These questions, he said, will be answered at the plenary sittings of the Assembly which will be televised live on Channel 5 in the first instance. He added that Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries will also deliver statements on issues under their remit starting with him on Thursday.
London said he was hoping that this would create an environment where it would be the same as if there was a minority side in the House.
The Tobago Chief Secretary laid out these plans yesterday (Tuesday 5th February 2013) at a one hour meeting with the management committee of the Tobago Chapter of the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex.
London invited the Chamber members to the meeting to discuss their participation in the unique process of governing Tobago following the January 21st THA election.
He told the meeting that while some people saw the 12-0 result as a challenge because there was no opposition, he viewed it as an “opportunity to change the way in which we govern between elections”.
“I am saying now that there is no official opposition, I am not creating an opposition but my vision is to really create an environment in which the people will be involved in governance, which means that they would have to have the opportunity and they will also have to take the responsibility.” he said.
He added: “I want us to almost lock ourselves into a process that cannot change even though we change our minds and the only way to do that is to have the process, make it public and in a way all of us are now committed to the process because in the final analysis the public is my boss.”
He said this matter has to be dealt with in two phases, the first was to deal with the process and the second was how the process was to be implemented.
London said a Tobago Interest Group comprising various interests in the island would soon be appointed to interface with the Assembly to discuss issues of governance which hopefully would form part of the decision-making process.
Chamber Chairman David Wong told London his plan to democratise the House in the absence of an opposition was a unique one and will take it to his membership while Chamber Director Dianne Hadad agreed that this was the most correct path to take. Chamber Director Joseph Morrison said this was a process for change and he was not adverse to the Chamber participating in it to ensure it worked.