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Bloody Bay man challenges Chief Sec over PDP fallout

Corey Connelly Bloody Bay resident Rawle Thomas. THA
Bloody Bay resident Rawle Thomas. THA

A Bloody Bay man on Tuesday sought to challenge Chief Secretary Farley Augustine over the fallout between Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) Watson Duke and the THA executive, during an executive council town hall meeting at the Parlatuvier Multipurpose Facility.

The THA executive resigned from the PDP on December 4, 2022, almost one year after the party enjoyed an overwhelming 14-I victory over the People’s National Movement in the December 6, 2021, THA election. They have since declared themselves independents in the assembly.

During the open forum on Tuesday, Rawle Thomas told Augustine he was very upset about what was taking place in the THA.

“I am upset with the way the island is, so I am glad for this opportunity,” he said.

Thomas told the audience he had made three videos encouraging Tobagonians to vote for the PDP in the run up to the THA elections.

“I take my money and go to the studio and make song encouraging people to vote PDP and I hear men only 'wheeling’ that song." He said the song has resonated with the public and up to January this year people have been congratulating him.

“So the state we are in today, I feel real disappointment and bad. That is why I come here tonight.”

Thomas noted it was Duke who formed the PDP, “and he real work.

“It was PDP-Watson Duke, PDP-Watson Duke. So when it start to spread out and you (Augustine) became involved in it….”

At that point, Office of the Chief Secretary communications director Avian Parks interrupted Thomas’ contribution in an attempt to get him to address his specific concern.

But Augustine, the representative for L’Anse Fourmi/Parlatuvier/Speyside, allowed him to continue but warned that it was not a political meeting.

“We are allowing you to finish but the truth is this is not a party political meeting. This is really a whole of THA. That is why the THA is here and the administrators are here. And in all fairness to them, I wouldn’t want them to be part of a discussion that treats specifically with a political party,” he said.

“However, I am going to give you alone the privilege since you’ve already started. But I will ask you to also keep it brief.

"But I will be available right after if you want to have a party political conversation. I wouldn’t be able to answer on this platform but certainly I will be able to answer you outside of this setting. But I want to allow you to finish.”

Thomas, in response, cited the advertisement for the town meeting, which had urged people from Castara, L’Anse Fourmi and surrounding areas to attend.

But Augustine replied, “The Tobago House of Assembly wants to hear from you, not PDP – the THA.”

Thomas told him, “You is part of the THA.”

Augustine reiterated, “I am allowing you to finish so go ahead and finish, but I am just saying for everyone else in all fairness to the administrators, they are not members of PDP. They are THA public servants. So I don’t want us to take the conversation down there.”

Thomas continued to vent his frustration about the rift in the PDP.

“What I am saying is that the issue we face in Tobago have a lot of we annoyed. Plenty ah we vex. We must include the PDP."

Augustine responded, “What we are trying to get through are the issues for the THA, meaning the actual government to fix, not the political party to fix.”

Thomas said Augustine did not understand his point of view.

“I know it have more people who want to talk and I don’t know if you understand what I am trying to say. So let meh make it clear so that I can walk off and let other people come and talk.

“We Tobagonians go through a thing from PDP to THA, which become independents, and it annoying we.”

Augustine again said, “Let us have that conversation outside of this forum. So wait on me, Mr Thomas.”

But Thomas, walking away from the microphone, continued, “Let me eh waste time because when we start off and I know you, it was PDP and end up in THA….My issue: it start from PDP, go into THA and going to independents.”

Augustine urged him to “wait for me, we will have that conversation.”