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TOP activist accuses rivals of thuggery
Confrontations between rival political supporters are becoming commonplace as campaigning for the January 21 Tobago House of Assembly election heats up. This is the claim of Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) campaign “groundsman” Kevin “Shabba” Davis in relating how the upcoming election has divided normally easy-going Tobagonians into two distinct groups.
He accused a supporter of a rival political party of brandishing a gun and chasing away TOP supporters in Milford Court. Davis made the charge while putting up bunting and fresh TOP posters on a lamp post with a group of fellow activists on the Old Store Bay Road. “We were campaigning in Milford Court and a man come out with a gun and say, ‘Come out we yard.’ Another time, a man come out with a cutlass and run we from he yard.”
Agreeing with the consensus among Tobagonians that this is the most hotly-contested election they have experienced, in terms of political rhetoric, Davis said: “They tearing down posters and vandalising TOP banner, buntings and things. They keep tearing them down. That’s why we putting up new ones now.”
The TOP campaigner accused TOP’s opponents of “bringing a race fight to Tobago politics.” Davis claimed a young man from Milford Court, whose mother is a TOP activist, was fired from the THA’s works department after just two days on the job.
“He grow up in a PNM household from small. He mother voting for change and he is being victimised,” he said.
Davis said fear has been injected into citizens, so much so that PNM supporters are afraid to be seen liming with TOP supporters. “Yesterday, we were liming with some friends and when they saw a PNM councillor coming, they got up and left. There is a rift between the people now. Some are saying the white man buy out we land and the Indians coming to take over, and such illiterate things,” Davis said.
Despite the obvious tension, there is an upbeat mood among TOP supporters, who are saying the election is the most exciting they had ever witnessed. “I am excited and anxious,” said TOP supporter Crystal Daniel, of Sou Sou Lands. “I am feeling a good vibe. I feel the TOP will win. It will be a good change for Tobago.” Daniel said THA Chief Secretary Orville London has been in power too long and it’s time to give TOP leader Ashworth Jack a chance.
“For the last 12 years Tobago looking the same way,” she said. Daniel said the THA election debate between the political leaders did not matter to her. Delano, Roxanne and Sherry Ann (they did not give their last names) are in the undecided category, however. “I don’t know who I voting for as yet,” said Sherry Ann, of Crown Point.
“When I go to the polling station on Monday, I will decide.” Delano, from “up country” in the Canaan area, said he is not caught up in the election euphoria that has overtaken some Tobagonians. “All the politicians promise the same things and most of the promises are not kept,” he said. But Roxanne said she was voting for change. “I not sure who I voting for. I just want to see change,” she said.
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