The signal from the electorate that it rejects the politics of the People's Partnership Government has to start in Tobago (with the THA elections), Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Orville London declared yesterday.
"If we don't send a signal in Tobago, we are saying that we condone everything that has transpired in this country over the last 18 months," he told the People's National Movement (PNM) annual convention, held at the Grand Stand, Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain, yesterday.
The convention was the first political meeting since the dissolution of the Tobago House of Assembly on Thursday. The THA was dissolved, paving the way for the THA elections, which are constitutionally due by the end of January.
London, PNM deputy political leader, said the Lord had given the Tobago population an opportunity to send the right signal.
"Don't disobey the Lord," he urged.
Quoting scripture, London said if one looked at what the United National Congress (UNC) and its Tobago Organisation for the People (TOP) "puppets" in Tobago were doing, they were sending people in the firing line whom they regarded as expendable.
He said the expendables are "the Volneys, the Mary Kings, the Partaps. And if I call names for the untouchables, yuh go whistle but I wouldn't call names because we all know who the untouchables are," he said, provoking laughter from his audience.
London said apart from the expendable and the untouchable, there was also the targeted. He said he was proud to be numbered among the targeted because those who were targeted by the UNC and their TOP "puppets" were those who stood in defence of decency and democracy of Trinidad and Tobago.
Noting that Rowley was among the targeted, London pledged to that both he and "that proud stubborn Tobagonian" (Rowley) "and nobody could daunt him", regardless of all the lawsuits the Government brought against him, would stand firm.
"Imagine months before an election when they trying to mamaguy Tobagonians", this "wicked" Government was giving $200,000 to the Tobago scholarship fund, which helped thousands over the years to the tune of $100 million. This, despite the fact that the Fund utilised $8.5 million last fiscal year and the THA had requested $10 million for 2013. London added that Tobago Affairs Minister Delmon Baker was a beneficiary of this kind of assistance, when he was a student and was "stranded" in Grenada at St George's College.
"Mr Wilson had to go up to Grenada and begged the bursar (saying) 'don't put them out yet' and we were able to find $800,000 to fund his education alone.
"And Dr Delmon Baker sits down in a Cabinet and gives $200,000 to Tobago for an entire year...for every single Tobagonian to go to university", London said. "The country must know this," he added.
He said he wanted Tobagonians to understand what was happening. And, he said, he also wanted citizens of Trinidad and Tobago to know their responsibility.
London said he wanted to suggest that the mantra for each PNM person in Trinidad be to talk to a Tobagonian "and share the pain you are feeling so that they can avoid that pain. Because you are living, experiencing and understanding the pain, but many of us across the waters don't understand because we haven't felt it".
He said each person who had a concern for what was happening in Trinidad and Tobago had a responsibility to keep talking to Tobagonians and give them a sense of what life would be like under the People's Partnership THA.
"I want you to urge them (Tobagonians) to reject the politics of spite and vindictiveness and bullying and character assassination," he said.
London, who is facing intense heat from the Government for a $243 million Administrative Complex under a BOLT (build, own, leave, transfer) contract, stated: "I want to give you the assurance that we (the THA) are a responsible administration. We are going to ensure that the resources made available to Tobago, we would utilise those resources to the maximise benefits of the people of Tobago," he said.
"And regardless of how much they try to assassinate our character, regardless of how much they try to pillory us, we will continue to do what is right by the people of Tobago."