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Kamla gets Tobago ultimatum


Kamla gets Tobago ultimatum

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SCARBOROUGH – Commit to a serious meeting on autonomy for Tobago by January 31, 2015, or we will go ahead without you.

That was the ultimatum Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London gave Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Sunday night during the first public meeting on Tobago’s autonomy, hosted by The Forum of Political Parties.

The meeting was organised by The Forum comprising leaders of political parties that contested the January 2013 THA elections.

The parties are the People’s National Movement and the Tobago Platform of Truth. The Tobago Organisation of the People pulled out of the process after its first meeting in January 2014.

According to a THA release, London stated that the Prime Minister had committed to speaking with Cabinet on the issue last year and promised to meet with Tobago officials but had failed to do so.  

London stressed: “If at the end of January we do not get a commitment from her, (if we) do not get the kind of positive action that would give us the confidence that she is prepared to treat with this situation seriously, we are going ahead and in fact we are going to be fast tracking our efforts to make sure that we have a Bill that takes into consideration all the demands of the people of Tobago and bring it back to you for ratification.

“The Forum of Political Parties has made a decision that in the first place we should give an opportunity to the Prime Minister and the Central Government to be involved in the negotiations; she said she would come back to us by the end of January, and that is why we are giving her until the end of January.”

London said the best way to deal with the matter would be to meet with central government and arrive at “common ground”, but stressed that he was not prepared to wait forever.

“We are prepared to utilise national and international support to achieve the objective,” he said.

The Self Government Secretariat, London said, had made contact with “two high-ranking international experts” who are scheduled to meet with a view to assisting Tobago in its quest for autonomy.

“I want to let you know,” he stated, “that this is a struggle that has excited the attention of people from outside of the region and I am saying that we are not in it alone. What those people want to know but more importantly we as Tobagonians should be concerned about is that we are the ones who have got to send the signal that we want it and we want it badly.”

According to the THA release, the Chief Secretary declared that the time had come for “decisive action” by The Forum, and added that Tobago must show decision-makers “at all levels” that they are prepared to take action.

“They must recognise that the people of Tobago are prepared to dish out punishment, recognise that the people of Tobago are prepared to move on, it is only then that we are going to get the kind result which we deserve,” London stated. (Express)

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