Tobagonians yesterday gave Orville London and the People's National Movement (PNM) a fresh mandate to take the island forward for the next four years. And they did so by giving the PNM an historic landslide 12-0 victory over Ashworth Jack's Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) polls.
Speaking to supporters last night, PNM's Orville London, who secured a fourth consecutive term in office, said he was humbled by the trust the people had put in his party to lead them once again. "This is not an Orville London victory. This is not a PNM victory. This is in fact a victory for the people of Tobago," London told a huge gathering of supporters at the party's headquarters in Scarborough last night.
Citing the bitterness of the campaign, he said it was now time for the supporters of both parties to cast aside their differences and work to ensure the self governance promised for the island was delivered. He also called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to sit down with him, after he is reinstalled as Chief Secretary on Thursday, to discuss the relationship between the Central Government and the THA.
London said one of the matters that should be addressed almost immediately by the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Larry Howai was the disbursement of the $625 million owed the THA. "The best inauguration gift we can get would be a cheque from the Minister of Finance saying that what is due to Tobago, Tobago must get," London said.
He said he was happy the winning PNM team had members with youth and experience. He said his team "will provide the kind of pelau that Tobago will enjoy." The new PNM team, in its next term of office, was "service oriented and ready." London said over the next four years the people of Tobago will be called upon to play a more critical role in the island's development.
Leader of the victorious PNM, Dr Keith Rowley, said the victory was "not just a Tobago PNM victory but a Tobago people's victory." "It represents a turning point in this country and in this party," Rowley said, adding there was jubilation in Trinidad and merriment in Tobago. Rowley listed the major PNM campaign issues:
�2 the need for good governance in T&T
�2 Government must speak the truth and respect the people
Rowley said the TOP defeat was a confirmation that the Government in T&T was bad. He told the cheering PNM audience that the road ahead would not be smooth, since there would be many challenges and obstacles. He stressed: "Once again Tobago has lit the candle to show T&T the way."
PNM's THA winners
�2 Orville London - Scarborough/Calder Hall
�2 Hilton Sandy - Roxborough/Delaford
�2 Claudia Groome-Duke - Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden
�2 Godwin Adams - Plymouth/Golden Lane
�2 Tracey Davidson-Celestine - Parlatuvier/L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside
�2 Hayden Spencer - Belle Garden/Goodwood
�2 Joel Jack - Bacolet/Mt St George
�2 Jomo Pitt - Lambeau/Signal Hill
�2 Handel Beckles - Bethel/Mt Irvine
�2 Ancil Dennis - Buccoo/Mt Pleasant
�2 Huey Cadette - Canaan/Bon Accord)
�2 Sheldon Cunningham - Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah