The MP for Chaguanas West, Dinesh Rambally, has described as “offensive” and “reprehensible” statements by the Chairman of the Joint Select Committee on Tobago Self Autonomy, describing him as deceitful and obstructionist.
In a release, Rambally is claiming to be framed as someone who is deceitful and obstructionist by Planning Minister Camille Robinson Regis who he says is pouring scorn on him.
Rambally said Robinson-Regis was misleading the public into thinking that proper consultations were conducted concerning the two Tobago Bills which are before Parliament.
He stated, “To suggest that amending some clauses in a Bill is the same as having consultations is rank disingenuity. I consider it offensive and reprehensible that I am being framed by the Chairman as someone who is… obstructionist and who came with an agenda to delay.
“I categorically reject all such insinuations and insults as I find the remarks of the Chairman to be rather dishonest and fatuous and reeks of a certain desperation to save face and create the illusion that they cared enough to hear Tobago out on this matter.”
In the release he said:
𝐖𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫, 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐧 𝐢𝐦𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐥𝐲. 𝐅𝐚𝐢𝐥𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐨 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐞 𝐮𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐜𝐢𝐫𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐫 𝐟𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐉𝐒𝐂 𝐬𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐦𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐬 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐜𝐡 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐧𝐨 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬. 𝐌𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐥𝐲, 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐉𝐒𝐂 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐮𝐞 𝐭𝐨 ‘𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬’ 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐢𝐜 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐜𝐭 𝐝𝐮𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨, 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰𝐬 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬.
𝐈𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐒𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐆𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐧𝐨 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐢𝐩𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐦𝐞𝐚𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐦. 𝐃𝐮𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐝𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐥𝐨𝐜𝐤 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐓𝐇𝐀 𝐞𝐥𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬, 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐥 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐚𝐢𝐫𝐬.
On the 29th May, 2021 I issued a second letter to the JSC in which I again lobbied for wider consultations:
𝐈 𝐚𝐦 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐈 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐫 𝐚 𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐩𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐭 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐮𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐟𝐞𝐞𝐥 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭, 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐟 𝐰𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐨𝐰 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬, 𝐰𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐬𝐮𝐟𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐲 𝐰𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐣𝐞𝐜𝐭.
𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝐮𝐫𝐠𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐤 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐯𝐨𝐢𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐝. 𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫, 𝐎𝐧 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝟑𝟎𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝟏𝐬𝐭 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏, 𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝟑𝟏 𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐦𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐜𝐞𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐝. 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐯𝐞𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧 𝟏𝟕𝐭𝐡 𝐀𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝟒𝐭𝐡 𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏 𝐬𝐚𝐰 𝐚 𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐢𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝟏𝟗𝟓 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐧𝐬. 𝐈 𝐚𝐬𝐤, 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨𝐧𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐤𝐞𝐧?
It is deceitful of Ms. Camille Robinson Regis to say that I did not acknowledge the records of the consultations when I was expressly complaining of its paucity.
Further, The Chairman has accused me of “… 𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐞”. This statement is calculated to pour scorn on me. If it were indeed so, neither the Chairman, nor anyone else for that matter, had ever raised this issue with me over the 22 meetings. Raising such a belated concern in the public domain demonstrates a shortcoming of leadership. The fact is the only ‘delay’ that I was ever interested in is one that was requested by me – a ‘delay’ in the JSC’s deadline for laying its report in order to facilitate more widespread consultations, as stated in my letter to the JSC:
𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫, 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐨𝐫𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐫𝐲 𝐬𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐬𝐞 𝐭𝐰𝐨 𝐁𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐞, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞’𝐬 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐟𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨 𝐒𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐆𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐞 𝐫𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭, 𝐈 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐉𝐒𝐂 𝐭𝐨 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐧 𝐮𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐥 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐞 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐮𝐥𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨. 𝐈 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐓𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐬 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐬𝐮𝐜𝐡 𝐞𝐱𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐞, 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐱𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧. 𝐈𝐭 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐛𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐬.
It is paradoxical that the Chairman Camille Robinson Regis had been sincerely (as per the exact word used by me) urged to keep the consultations open for some time longer so this JSC would get it right, a request which she refused to facilitate, yet she accuses me of deception.
Truth be told, it was deceitful for the Chairman Camille Robinson Regis to say that “… 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐝𝐞”, when virtually all major political voices emanating from Tobago have expressed their disappointment at the namesake consultations which failed to capture their views. That is on the public record. It is of no effect that the JSC had a handy report to present to the Parliament according to its deadline but had a blatant disregard for the true wishes of Tobagonians and Trinidadians alike.
On what basis did the Chairman Camille Robinson Regis indicate so confidently that “…𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐣𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐛𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐬 𝐛𝐞𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐞 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐞𝐯𝐞 (𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐠𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐓𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐠𝐨)” ? It is perilous to make such comments without a proper basis for doing so.
The JSC Chairman Camille Robinson Regis and the PNM are no doubt feeling ashamed that they are hanging on to power in Tobago by a thinning thread. That is the scent of failure. They refuse to be woken up from their indolence, incompetence, petulance and arrogance. When confronted with their own ineptitude, insincerity and inadequacy, they throw a fit and take refuge in their feel-good modus operandi – blame the UNC, blame KAMLA, and now blame Rambally.