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PNM paints Scarborough red
A large crowd of Tobagonians wearing red PNM jerseys marched through the streets of Scarborough yesterday, answering the Tobago PNM Council’s call to join in their “Red Day” march ahead of Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election. The action began shortly after 3 pm with a PNM music truck disrupting the launch of the Tobago campus of the University of T&T, at which Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisssessar was present.
Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) leader Ashworth Jack and several government ministers, including Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training Fazal Karim, were also present at the function.
PRO of the Tobago PNM Council, Dr Denise Tsoi-a-Fatt-Angus, said the march “provided an opportunity for all right-thinking Tobagonians to express their disapproval of the cynical manner in which the People’s Partnership Government has rejected the view of Tobagonians and is attempting to force us to accept their amendments to the Tobago House of Assembly Act.
“The future of Tobago is at stake...This generation of Tobagonians must take the responsibility for the protection of our heritage and the preservation of our way of life,” she said. The walk climaxed in a Women’s Forum at the Scarborough Esplanade later in the evening. The massive show of support for the PNM came even as Persad-Bissessar expressed confidence that Jack would be sworn in as the new chief secretary of the THA.
The PM and an entourage of government ministers had begun a hectic round of campaign activities with Jack on the island since last Sunday. Yesterday, at the launch of UTT’s Scarborough campus and the PTSC/NESC Trade School, the PM dismissed allegations that a site was already selected for the campus and that friends and family were involved in the decision. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“There’s a site selection committee looking at various sites in the east and no friends or family of anyone is involved.” Jack yesterday apologised for the action of several TOP supporters who were allegedly involved in a reported act of violence against a rival PNM supporter, said to be a teenage girl. Present at both functions, he was asked about the reports of intimidation. Jack said he had received no reports of TOP-inflicted violence.
Told, however, that his party had issued a public apology to 16-year-old Signal Hill resident Crystal Smith, who was allegedly hit by a TOP supporter for wearing a PNM jersey, Jack said: “There are so many spurious allegations going around. It is really disappointing that the PNM has descended to such a level. They are doing everything to sidetrack from the issues.”
Jack still urged TOP supporters to avoid confrontations with PNM supporters. “Please walk away,” he pleaded. “This is not a part of the policy of the TOP...We will not want to support such actions,” he said.
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