Thursday, February 22, 2018

Villagers protest PM's presence


FRIENDLY CHAT: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar chats with members of the Plymouth New Testament Church of God after the church service yesterday. Church members were outraged over the protest by fellow villagers. Photo: ELIZABETH WILLIAMS

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Prime Minister Kamla Persad- Bissessar yesterday faced a small protest from villagers in Plymouth, Tobago, when she attended a church service at the Plymouth New Testament Church of God.

Supporters of the opposition People's National Movement (PNM), with a PNM banner, gathered at the bottom of the street near the church calling on the Prime Minister to leave the village as she was not wanted there.

When the Prime Minister's entourage passed by they called on her to leave, saying the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) was not welcome in Plymouth. The situation caused a stir and even Pastor of the Plymouth New Testament George Alexander, said he was disappointed with the display by residents, and that it was not called for.

"And I believe it was a total disgrace for people who are supposed to be so sensible and have right thinking in their mind, knowing that somebody coming to the house of the Lord to worship, and would stand at the corner to behave unseemly."

Persad-Bissessar sat alongside Minority Leader and TOP chief Ashworth Jack, managing director of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Jearlean John, TOP candidate for Plymouth/Golden Lane Certica Williams-Orr and Tobago East representative Vernella Alleyne-Toppin and her husband Lenn Toppin.

She greeted the congregation reading Psalm 121 and Psalm 23, and was later prayed for by Pastor George, who invited both PNM and TOP members. Following the service she said she felt energised and really wonderful.

Asked to comment on the Opposition's decision to not support the Constitutional (Amendment) (Tobago) Bill 2012, she said the Opposition was being hypocritical on the matter.

"The Opposition is being very disingenuous to say that you will not support it because you want X, Y, P, Q. That's the very purpose of sending it to the Joint Select Committee," Persad- Bissessar said.

Persad-Bissessar said while the debate will continue on Wednesday as planned, everyone will be consulted on the Bill. She said Wednesday's debate was not the final step in the process of constitutional reform for Tobago, and no one will be left out of further consultations on the Bill.

"The tripartisan committee will consult with all stakeholders which will include, Tobago, Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago, and all such persons who wish to be consulted, that process is not going to be terminated and finalised on Wednesday," Persad- Bissessar said.

Asked for her thoughts on the TOP's chances in the upcoming THA elections, she said she sees the votes in favour of the TOP.

"I think the TOP are on top of it... they are well poised to win. At the end of the day the people of Tobago will decide. I have been here and I see a very good, positive movement towards the TOP," Persad- Bissessar said.