The meeting between teams from Tobago and Central Government to discuss the island’s appeal for self-government has been postponed.
The teams were scheduled to meet March 27th at the Hyatt after their initial meeting at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort in Lowlands, Tobago on March 4th. It was, however, postponed at the request of Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr. Lincoln Douglas, the chairman of the Central Government team.
Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London, who is heading the Tobago team, expressed his concern at the length of time between the first and second meetings.
“I am hoping that when we meet on the 15th (of April), we’ll be able to have regular meetings so that we can bring this matter to closure as soon as possible,” London said during Wednesday’s post Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.
The Tobago team also includes Tobago Platform of Truth (TPT) leader Hochoy Charles, former Minister of Government and Parliamentary Representative Stanford Callender, representing the People’s National Movement, and former THA Chief Administrator Allan Richards. Senior Council Gilbert Peterson and attorney Ingrid Melville are their advisers.
The Central Government team includes Tobago Development Minister Dr. Delmon Baker, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh and Food Production Minister Devant Maharaj. They are advised by Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) leader Ashworth Jack and Tobagonian Senior Council, Christo Gift.
The Forum of Political Parties in Tobago has been pursuing autonomy for the island for over a year and has made several requests for meetings on the issue with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. In February, Persad-Bissessar finally responded to London by announcing the Central Government team to meet with Tobago’s representatives.
London stated that the Tobago team has continued to prepare for the second meeting.
“We on the Tobago Committee have been working,” he stated. “We had a retreat, an all-day session, at the Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute a week or so ago, and then we met again (on Tuesday, March 31st).”
The Tobago team is scheduled to convene again next week before their meeting again with the Central Government team.