The opposition United National Congress (UNC) and Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) are disrespecting Tobagonians.
So says People National Movement (PNM), Political Leader Tobago Council, Tracy Davidson-Celestine.
In a statement on Monday, she said the two parties met before the start of the debate on the Constitutional Amendment and Tobago Island Government Bill and are now ensuring that Tobagonians are denied the right to self-determination.
She said “The UNC, by its refusal to support the Bill, has in effect denied Tobago receipt of an enhanced fiscal package from as early as October 2021 and the opportunities for us to make laws for Tobago.”
Davidson-Celestine, who observed the start of the debate from Parliament in Trinidad, said: “It’s a sad day for the people of Tobago with the announcement that the UNC will not support this. Listening to the debate, the opposition has not yet put forward any cogent argument or any main reasons as to why the Bills should not be supported.”
More than 250 consultations were conducted over the last 10 years throughout Tobago to garner what people on the island wanted out of autonomy.
Davidson-Celestine said: “After all the years of work and consultation it is strange to me, that the argument now is that more consultations are needed. My position is always that the Bills are not perfect, but at the same time, it takes Tobago closer to autonomy.
“The UNC argument is a stalling tactic and they are playing politics with the affairs of the people of Tobago. UNC and PDP are trading politics before people.”
Some of the priority areas for Tobagonians under the quest for autonomy and this Bill include recognition of Tobago as an equal partner with Trinidad, expansion of the island’s nautical miles under its control, increased budgetary allocation
and the power to make laws for the island.