Tobago not Prime Minister’s priority

Tobago House of Assembly.
Chief Secretary Orville London has said the priorities of the Tobago House of Assembly and the people of Tobago are not the priorities of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the Central Government.

He added that the Prime Minister without consultation and without prompting from any organisation, and individual or any group of people now has a Bill before the Parliament to amend the Constitution to introduce an element of Proportional Representation to local government. The Prime Minister would expect the House to approve that in a matter of days and yet a matter which has been engaging the people of Tobago for more than five years and which I have been raising with the Prime Minister since the Tobago House of Assembly election about seven months ago, what I get is that it is being given consideration. I find that quite distressing and even a little insulting.

I would really want to urge the Prime Minister and her Cabinet to give these very critical issues the attention and the urgency that they deserve; I don’t think that we as Tobagonians should accept any less.

We have been very patient and the Prime Minister has demonstrated by her action in this particular case that if the interest is there the urgency will come and therefore it is extremely disheartening that this matter should drag on like that, bearing in mind that I have made two suggestions to the Prime Minister which I hoped would have even though not resolve would have elevated the situation.

I would have recommended to the Prime Minister shortly after the election that in light of the 12 nil configuration of the Assembly that we should in fact approach the Parliament to have a Motion or Bill passed to allow the President to appoint two Councillors to the Assembly, I definitely did not receive a response on that.

I also recommended to the Prime Minister that we should have a reconciliation commission comprising representation from the Assembly and the Central Government to look at the Bills and all the supporting documents and just as how the Dispute Resolution Commission was able to resolve the financial issues surrounding the relationship between the THA and the Central Government some years ago, hopefully it might have been able to find a solution. Again I received no response. This is disheartening, it is troubling and I am urging the people of Tobago to observe and draw their own conclusions so that somewhere down the road we can take appropriate action.

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