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Tobago leaders hold talks on self-rule
Chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Orville London has met with leaders of the political parties in Tobago to discuss issues related to Tobago’s struggle for internal self-governance. The meeting was held at the Mt Irving Bay Hotel on Tuesday. Attending the meeting were PNM Tobago council chairman Neil Wilson, political leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Ashworth Jack and leader of The Platform of Truth Hochoy Charles.
After the meeting, the leaders and their representatives concluded that with respect to full autonomy for Tobago, the interest and demands of the people must take priority over partisan politics. “The leaders agreed that they had a responsibility to devise strategies and mechanisms to translate the legitimate demands of the people into meaningful reality and they also agreed that a successful resolution to these troubling and longstanding issues can only be achieved through a united and sustained approach,” London said.
He said there was a consensus that leaders meet within one month to decide on non-negotiable demands and strategies to be presented to the public. “At that meeting, the leaders are expected to arrive at a consensus on the non-negotiable demands, the strategies to translate those demands into meaningful reality and the measures to be implemented for the meaningful participation of the churches, youth groups, business sector, civil society, community and other groups,” he said.
Jack said the meeting on the issue of autonomy was a good idea as it would chart the way forward for generations to come. “I believe Tobago’s autonomy will benefit not only Tobago but all of Trinidad and Tobago and even the Caribbean by extension,” Jack said. “With that in mind, as we have always done, we will continue to work in the best interest of the people of Tobago to ensure that future generations will be able to make decisions that affect us here by the persons who reside in this island.”
Charles also told the media that a unanimous voice from the political heads was needed to liberate the people of Tobago. “We ought to speak for Tobago with one voice because the issue is an issue of liberation and empowerment of the people, that is the Tobago issue and we could not do it as individuals or separate groups and that has been the mantra coming from The Platform of Truth,” he said.