Political leader of The Platform of Truth Hochoy Charles has described the decision by Prime Minister Kamla Persad–Bissessar to present a bill on Tobago’s internal self-government in Parliament yesterday as “insulting” particularly in the midst of the campaign for the Tobago House of Assembly elections.
Speaking with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Charles said the timing of the debate for Tobago’s internal self-governance was “all wrong.”
“You cannot carry a bill during the midst of an election in parliament to discuss Tobago’s future.
“That is insulting to the people of Tobago and in fact, we will not sit down here and allow that to happen. If we have to mobilise the whole of Tobago to deal with that and to take the matter even elsewhere, the international forum or court. You can’t do that; you are having an election. Let the election come and go and then we will sit down to talk,” Charles said.
He said the Government should have waited until after the THA elections on January 21 to have the debate since the discussions needed to be had with those in control of the THA to discuss Tobago’s power. He hinted of taking the matter to the United Nations for a resolution.
“If they fail to deliver that power to us we are not going to sit down idly by. We are taking it to the United Nations under Article 73 of the charter. Self-government was passed for Tobago since 1977. This is 35 years we have been waiting on it and we are not waiting any longer. This old nonsense coming during an election, to say it. I mean it is so insulting, we are not going to allow it to happen,” Charles said.
The bill for Tobago’s Internal Self Governance is expected to “revisit the provisions of the Tobago House of Assembly Act with a view to granting greater autonomy and responsibility to the people of Tobago over matters that directly impact on Tobago.”
The bill is as a result of public consultations arising out of the Green Paper put forward by the People’s Partnership Government.
Chief Secretary Orville London has also described the move as “troubling and insulting” and said that PM Persad-Bissessar did not “consult, discuss or even inform the THA about the proposed changes.”
DECLARATION REGARDING NON-SELF-GOVERNING TERRITORIES
Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognise the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:
• to ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses;
• to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspirations of the peoples, and to assist them in the progressive development of their free political institutions, according to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and their varying stages of advancement;
• to further international peace and security;
• to promote constructive measures of development, to encourage research, and to co-operate with one another and, when and where appropriate, with specialised international bodies with a view to the practical achievement of the social, economic, and scientific purposes set forth in this Article; and
• to transmit regularly to the secretary-general, for informational purposes, subject to such limitation as security and constitutional considerations may require, statistical and other information of a technical nature relating to economic, social, and educational conditions in the territories for which they are respectively responsible other than those territories to which Chapters XII and XIII apply.