Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tobago autonomy talks begin today: to span two months

Equality, boundaries and borrowing are just a few of the areas which Tobago’s political leaders have agreed should be the focus of autonomy talks for the island over the next two months.

The leaders intend to present to central Government a document on the fundamental issues to come out of the round of talks being held in Toba­go and Trinidad.

Thirteen issues have been identified for the discussion on greater autonomy for Tobago.

The issues form part of a report coming out of five recent meetings of political parties—People’s National Movement, The Platform of Truth and Tobago Organisation of the People.

These are the parties that contested the last Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections in 2013 and make up the forum.

Representatives from these political entities now make up the forum that is driving two months of public talks on the contentious issu­es.

The forum agreed to establish a common approach to address the constitutional arrangements between Tobago and Trinidad, with the establishment of core principles that transcend political differences and a process for inter-party consultation on fundamental Tobago issues.

Starting today, the leaders will consult with all sectors and interests in Tobago this month to consider and ratify the fundamental issues prior to presenting them to the Government of T&T.

They meet first with THA assemblymen and Tobagonians who sit in both Houses of Parliament, politicians and political activists.

They will also meet with stakeholders who represent village councils, community councils, other community groups; commercial interests; NGOs of various interests—social, educational, health, commercial; faith-based organisations; youth and sports groups, schools; arts and cultural groups; Tobagonians in Trinidad; and Trinidad interests.