The Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement(PNM) said Tobagonians are alarmed at the recent revelations on the activities of Progressive Democratic Patriots(PDP) leader Watson Duke, as it relates to him receiving half a million dollars in pension from the PSA, whilst he remained in office.
The Tobago Council is now accusing PDP’s deputy leaders Farley Augustine of hypocrisy, claiming he was eager to accuse the Council’s leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine of wrongdoing but silent on Duke’s wrongdoing.
In a release on March 25, the PNM described Augustine as “uncharacteristically silent” that Duke’s wife received millions of dollars in contracts from the Water and Sewerage Authority, and he, as President of PSA received over $500 million in gratuity, yet he remained in office.
The PNM also said Augustine and Duke made different statements about the financing of the party’s 2019 Tobago House of Assembly and national elections’ campaign launch at the Magdalena Beach Hotel and Golf Club.
The PNM claimed that in 2019 Duke and Augustine told a reporter, supporters funded the event, but last week Duke, in a Facebook post, said he had financed it with his gratuity.
The PNM Tobago Council release said: “Farley Augustine cannot remain silent in the face of all of these facts and still maintain credibility in the eyes of the Tobago public. His response, in the present environment, will give us some indication, as to whether he is man or mouse, or maybe just a willing pawn.”
The PNM then asked “Are you the same Farley Augustine who portrayed himself as a champion of morality in public life when you launched that vicious campaign against PNM Political Leader, Tracy Davidson Celestine? Should Tobagonians not conclude that you are guilty of the highest level of hypocrisy?”
However, Augustine, in response to the PNM Tobago Council, said it is “false equivalency” to compare the Davidson-Celestine situation that was based on ‘facts” from the Auditor General and Executive Council notes to Duke collecting gratuity from the Public Services Association(PSA).
Augustine said he stands by his statements about Davidson-Celestine on the zipline as they all stemmed from citations from the Auditor General and or legitimate Executive Council notes.
He admitted that he too had questions on Duke’s gratuity issue with the PSA and said he welcomed the PNM’s investigation on Duke’s actions.