The third meeting on Tobago’s autonomy, scheduled for Wednesday (May 6), has been postponed.
The meeting was set for the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, where the first such meeting between teams for Tobago—led by Chief Secretary Orville London—and Central Government was held on March 4, 2015.
The second installment, originally scheduled for March 27, was postponed to April 15 on the request of Dr. Lincoln Douglas, the Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism, who heads the Central Government committee.
After the postponement of the second meeting, the Chief Secretary indicated that he was concerned about the length of time between meetings, as he hopes to bring negotiations over Tobago’s demands for self-government to a swift and satisfactory close.
According to London, too much time was spent at the last meeting “defending positions rather than focusing on areas of consensus and focusing on the general objectives, and how those objectives could be achieved”.
London was hopeful that the team would make better progress on the matter, though, stating that they had come up with a “process, which I hope would be more progressive”. The teams were each expected to provide a report stating its position and a list of what it sees as the critical issues regarding Tobago’s autonomy.
This would allow them to focus on those issues, and not defending their individual positions.
In addition to London, the Tobago team comprises Tobago Platform of Truth (TPT) leader Hochoy Charles, former Minister of Government and ex-Parliamentarian Stanford Callender, representing the People’s National Movement (PNM), 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 being advised by Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) leader Ashworth Jack and Tobagonian Senior Council, Christo Gift.