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'Tobagonians will suffer if they were to vote TOP'

By Elizabeth Williams Tobago Bureau

Members of the Movement for Development and Democracy, economist Dr Vanus James and attorney Deborah Moore-Miggins, have said Tobagonians will suffer if they vote for  the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) in next Monday's Tobago House of Assembly election.

"The people of Tobago would be crazy to put (TOP leader) Ashworth Jack in power after his disastrous performance in that debate, and given the threat the (proposed Tobago bills) pose to Tobago, the people of Tobago should vote against the Central Government and therefore vote against the TOP in the elections," James said.

James and Moore-Miggins were speaking to the Express during an interview at their party's Scarborough offices last week.

James says the Constitution Amendment bill for self government in Tobago is unfair and arbitrary, and can only lead to trouble.

Taken together with the other provisions, it is akin to a declaration of war on Tobago in 2013.

"I mean, what is Trinidad, and what is the 'exclusive economic zone' of Trinidad and Tobago that does not belong to Trinidad and does not belong to Tobago? The bill does not even bother to say. Tobagonians will now be forced to demand to know, fast," James said.

There is no natural gas inside the 11-mile boundary outlined in the legislation, he said.

If Tobago is to develop its economy as it sees fit, it must invest in its capacity-building industries— tertiary education, ports, land development policy, etc.

"Responsibility for all of these is placed under the concurrent list – thereby providing Trinidad and the other territories with the unfettered right to block Tobago's development efforts. Take for example, the quay-side and heliport facilities. Tobago will need to establish its own

Moore-Miggins, a fellow member of the Movement, said the bill was also an attack on the economic rights of the people of Tobago, and Tobago should not limit itself to 11 miles, when at this time, the nautical miles were limitless.

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