Political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots, Watson Duke is calling on THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine to come clean on the leaked audio allegations, as Tobagonians “deserve no less than an honest and clear response to these grave allegations.”
At a recent event in Bacolet, Tobago, Augustine assured that he and the THA’s entire executive will be “properly exonerated” when he speaks about the audio recording by the end of this week.
In the voice note, a man and a woman believed to be THA officials, are heard talking about using state funds to hire people to carry out political propaganda.
But in a second open letter to Augustine on Wednesday, Duke said the chief secretary’s statement leaves much to be desired.
“In your attempt to control the narrative, you seem to sidestep the urgency and seriousness of these allegations,” he said.
Duke, electoral representative for Roxborough/Argyle, also poured cold water on Augustine’s “insinuation” that the recording was a fake.
“The insinuation that the audiotape might be a deep fake might be a serious claim in and of itself and needs to be substantiated with evidence.
“While the issue of deep fakes is a legitimate concern in today’s digital age, invoking this without solid proof can be seen as a diversion tactic to shift attention away from the matter at hand.”
He said Augustine’s claim “does little to inspire confidence in your commitment to transparency and truthfulness.”
He added, “Further, your claim that the issue goes beyond the audiotape and involves some “extremely serious” considerations seems conveniently vague. By failing to provide specifics, you create an atmosphere of doubt and uncertainty. This strategy, intentional or not, creates an impression of evasion and deflection rather than forthright engagement with the issue at hand.”
Duke, who has called on the entire THA executive to resign over the issue, criticised Augustine for saying the matter would be addressed in due course.
“You used the idiom, ‘It could be 21 days for crapaud but schoolboy only need one day. In the context of your statement, it could be interpreted as a subtle attempt to belittle those who are pressing for a faster response. This rhetoric doesn’t contribute to resolving the issue and may further distance you from those you serve.”
In a WhatsApp video, Duke also slammed Augustine for saying that the media does not set his agenda.
“What are you saying? That you are in control of the media and when you are ready you will speak to the media. It does not work so.
“In a democratic country, there is freedom of the press and the press is free to ask you to comment on an issue which is engaging the public’s attention…… It is utter rubbish and it makes you look foolish. Wise up Mr Chief Sec. Start understanding you are running a country and not a classroom with 20 unlearned students.”