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PP still has time to recoup
Congratulations to the People’s National Movement on its resounding victory in Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly polls. The outcome was not what I was expecting but as the Prime Minister has said the people have spoken and the most important result in the exercise is that democracy again is alive and kicking in sweet T&T.
One obviously disheartened TOP supporter who still found the time to be light hearted, told me Tuesday morning; “Boy dem PNM people too damn greedy, they take all the seats...you mean to say dey couldn’t give we at least one seat?” During the campaign of course many people were asking around about whom they felt would have won.
I couldn’t make any forecast as I did not go to Tobago during that period to get an on-the-ground feeling of what was taking place and how the respective campaigns were looking. But viewing the television coverage of the meetings I really was not expecting the sort of outcome that took place.
I also dismissed outright the polls which predicted a defeat of the TOP which had four seats in the last THA term. In order to make some sense of the 12-0 PNM victory I canvassed opinions from a variety of people, who unlike me, had no known favourites in the keenly contested race.
My eldest daughter told me in quite a surprising (to me) manner: “Daddy, Tobagonians are very clannish people and as a Trinidadian you don’t go over there and criticise any Tobagonian even though they may be wrong...” Uhmm…
A retired engineer who was undertaking his almost daily ritual of reading the newspapers at his favourite watering hole and was among a group of us discussing the polls blurted in a vehement manner: “Trinidadians do not understand that Tobago is an African tribe.
You just cannot transplant Trinidadian culture over there. And that was the mistake the People’s Partnership and the TOP made; instead of Port-of-Spain leading the campaign for the TOP they should have allowed Ashworth Jack to do so.
As I have written before, the election would have determined the political future of both the Chief Secretary-elect and the leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People, Ashworth Michael Jack, who unfortunately, has lost his seat. A good friend who months ago told me she was disenchanted with the PNM told me last week she was going to vote PNM “for spite”.
Why? I asked her. She responded that she had fallen out with somebody who she perceived to be a PP apologist. That kind of attitude begs the question: did Tobagonians vote PNM out of spite for the PP? I would not rehash all the criticisms of the TOP and of course the PNM was also not squeaky clean in the way it conducted its campaign.
But all of that is water under the bridge as the saying goes. I would leave the analysing of the results in the capable hands of those more eminently qualified than I, and one thing I am certain about is that the PP administration is going to be severely beaten upon by its detractors who would read all kind of things in Monday’s results.
I know there is one particular radio talk show host who cannot wait to get behind that microphone on Sunday morning to spew his usual venom on the PP people. However, my simple take at this time is that if the result is an indictment against the PP it should be used by the Kamla Persad-Bissessar-led administration as a wakeup call to do even more for Tobago.
And to those who may in this time of gloating say that it is a forerunner of things to come in 2015, I say the PP has enough time to correct whatever are their perceived wrongs. I did say last year that the political future of a number of people including TOP’s political leader was hanging in the balance based on the outcome of the polls.
Unfortunately Jack was the main casualty. But he is relatively young and still has the opportunity to make a comeback if he decides to stay in the political arena. In the meantime the PP administration has to keep its pledge to grant internal self-government to Tobago if only to prove to Tobagonians that the PNM was wrong to say because the bill was laid in the parliament during the campaign it was a bid to fool the people and that it was an election ploy.
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