Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 9th 2017 Contents viewpoint A21
Monday, January 9, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Who will Tobago chose to lead the Tobago
House of Assembly (THA) later this month? Af-
ter looking at the news coverage of parties filing
nomination papers, this election race will be
heated. The People's National Movement (PNM)
is in a comfortable position going to the polls as
the incumbent. Some say they have nothing to
gain, as they are currently seeking re-election
for all 12 seats. The campaign slogan titled "Let's
go further" is aimed at letting Tobagonians know
that the journey to developed status continues.
The dynamic of a new political leader of the
PNM in Tobago creates is a fresh face for the
party going into this election. Kelvin Charles has
the mammoth task of leading the PNM to regain
its 12 seats. The PNM has started its marketing
campaign and will do an official launch in Sun-
The Tobago Forwards (TF) has filed nomina-
tion papers for all seats. Led by Ms Christlyn
Moore the party has been on the scene for some
time and opened their party headquarters in
Scarborough. The recent addition of former
People's Partnerships member Dr Delmon Baker
may or may not add political capital to the cam-
paign, but that is left to be seen.
The TF has decided to go after the PNM di-
rectly with their campaign. The party uses the
colour blue. The use of a "blue soap" to wash
the red out, is a cultural campaign strategy being
used by the TF. How they project themselves as
an alternative to a 60-year-old PNM party with
16 years control of the THA will determine how
they emerge in this race.
The Watson Duke-led Progressive Demo-
cratic Patriots (PDP) has emerged as a serious
contender, as reports confirm they are building
momentum. Nominations were filed to contest
all seats on Tuesday. Watson Duke has a radio
programme on every morning in Tobago titled
"Rumble in the jungle" promoting his PDP party.
The campaign slogan "Fight for a better Tobago"
and a direct attack on the PNM's tenure in the
THA puts the party in combat mode.
Labour leaders usually have a tough transi-
tion to politics. The ability of Watson Duke to
convince the electorate that he has what it takes
to lead the THA will be a major issue that the
party will have to resolve with the electorate.
All that being said, the fight for Tobago will
be won by the party able to best translate their
campaign into votes and win the most seats on
election day. All parties led a strong contingent
to the nomination office as a show of force. The
Tobago people will decide on January 23 which
political option will best represent their affairs.
T&T is the land of baccha-
nal. Whether it be politics,
sports, carnival or some na-
tional issue, there is always
some chaos and confusion.
The topical issue is carnival
with pan men and mas aficio-
nados demanding something
of and from the Government.
This is a repetitive ques-
tion, when will we get it right
in T&T? Carnival is touted
as a billion-dollar industry.
why are the audited accounts
from the various bodies not
be made public, particularly
since its "we thing?" Let us be
privy to them. Why is it the
stakeholders do not demand
accountability and transpar-
ency on how the revenue gen-
erated is spent or allocated?
Why is it every year prior to
Carnival celebrations groups
have to beg for monies for
their respective organisa-
tions? Decades of carnival
celebrations and we cannot
get it right. Governments
come and governments
go and the goal post shifts
around to individuals' whims
and fancies. Why can't it be
standardised so that which-
ever government is in power it
must follow what is in place?
Why can't the various com-
petitions such as the Soca
Monarch, Chutney, Pano-
rama, Extempo, Kings and
Queens, Children Carnival
and other groups be allocated
a particular amount and be
weaned off the dependency
syndrome after some time.
Why after all this time they
aren't self-sufficient? How
many times have we heard
this organisation or that or-
ganisation is in the red and
debts are simply written off?
Are the monies being spent
on high salaries or wages,
or feeding nepotism that
10 months later sectors are
demanding monies to pay
participants or workers? We
as citizens need to know, be-
cause clearly those involved
are not asking. I wonder why?
Today it's pan men. In T&T
we continue to do the same
things over and over and want
to obtain a different result.
Pan men had an entire year to
raise their grouses with Pan
Trinbago and yet days before
the so-called greatest show
on earth are threatening to
boycott pan. This is not about
you guys, this is the national
instrument which is regarded
around the globe and treated
with contempt at home.
Thousands of citizens sit
at home enjoying pan music,
do not deprive them because
of your failure to address
shortcomings within the pan
fraternity during the last 12
Former Pan Trinbago vice
president Byron Serrette re-
signed citing fraud, collusion
and other improprieties and
called for proper governance,
transparency and financial in-
dependence towards a global
positioning. Where were the
voices of the pan men in sup-
porting such a call?
In T&T, the new normal is
when a person stands for what
is right he/she is ostracised or
demeaned and nothing hap-
pens. As the saying goes "the
more things change the more
they remain the same." That's
where we are at as a country
today. Wrong has become
right and right has become
wrong for the greedy and cor-
rupt among us.
Like every organisation,
leaders have their (supporters
or cabal), who turn a blind eye
to their wrong doings, while
others simply don't turn up to
vote, but complain the most
A pan boycott! Really, you
think someone taking you
seriously? This is Trinidad,
it's always a handful of peo-
ple standing for what is right
and the rest sitting idly by the
wayside hoping others fight
on their behalf, and reap from
the derived benefits. Trin-
idadians stand for nothing,
Pan men are calling for Diaz
and his group to go shouting
no panorama in Carnival. You
all sat by while pan was re-
moved from the streets of the
capital and in parties and now
you want to act. I suppose
better late than never.
While you all fighting
among yourselves at home
boasting that "pan is we
thing" foreigners are experi-
menting with pan at univer-
sities, colleges and privately.
We don't even have a pan
headquarters and no one is
asking whey the money gone?
The Petrotrin (then Texaco) refinery
was once rated as the ninth largest in the
world, with a capacity of 360,000 Bar-
rels. That was in its heyday. Now, years
after, the effects of globalisation, political
excesses and a Cepep/URP mentality as
befits our people, we have a half-blind,
constipated, lame refinery, capable of
producing only 50,000 barrels per day.
This, with a staff, hired directly or indi-
rectly, of around 11,000.
This figure translates into a lot of union
dues. To compound this, our local pro-
duction has dropped to the lowest levels
in years, and we have to import crude to
keep the refinery operational.
Recent headlines in the press screamed
about the $billion losses experienced by
Petrotrin over the years.
Considering these annual losses, the
reduced production, lower prices and
higher maintenance and operation costs,
where has Petrotrin been getting funds to
finance its daily operations? Have my tax
monies been used to keep this bed-ridden
Comparing apples with apples, only a
few years ago, we read in the local press
where the refinery in St Croix had closed
operations---rated at 380,000 barrels and
with a total staff of just under 1,800. Yes,
under 1,800 people, as reported by the
media. The operation was just no longer
Just using this as an example should
not, therefore, Petrotrin be closed? I say
closed, because given the uncertain state
of its assets, no one would want to touch
it at this time.
We do have some intelligent and skilled
workers on board who can no doubt gain
employment elsewhere. As for the dead
weights, maybe various party groups and
the unions can absorb them. This is what
the Government is concerned about.
The bottom line is no union should hold
this country to ransom. My tax monies
can be better used for health, education,
youth development and for better utili-
We have to get out of the senseless
gimme-gimme syndrome and evolve with
Shut Petrotrin down. To be more vocal,
shut the drain down.
ST ANN'S, MAYARO
'Nobody asking where the money gone?'
No union should hold country to ransom
Tobago battle begins
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