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Newly-installed THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis and President Paula-Mae Weekes at President’s House, Port-of-Spain, yesterday, after he received his instruments of appointment.

Camille McEachnie

Assemblyman Ancil Dennis received his Oath of Office from President Paula-Mae Weeks on Tuesday, May 12, six days after he was elected into office at a special Plenary Sitting in Tobago, on May 6.

According to a statement from the President’s Office, Deputy Chief Secretary, Assemblyman Joel Jack and Councillor Tracy Davidson-Celestine were at President’s House, Trinidad, to witness the ceremony.

Commenting on his swearing-in at President’s House, Dennis said he is “humbled and heartened to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Tobago.”

“I know it is a herculean task, but I believe I have been prepared for such a time like this. I am not daunted, and I believe that with the help of my colleagues and the people of Tobago, we will move Tobago in the direction we want it to go,” he said.

Dennis, who turned 33 on January 14, is the youngest ever assemblyman man and Chief Secretary.

He is expected to serve until January 2021 when the current THA term ends. He will name his secretaries and assistant secretaries soon. Speaking to Guardian Media on the issue on Friday, he said discussions were already taking place.

His appointment as Chief Secretary is being challenged by Tobago’s opposition party, the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP).

Minority Leader, Watson Duke, who also leads the PDP, is taking legal action against his appointment.

Hours before the special Plenary Sitting on May 6, Duke wrote THA’s Presiding Officer Vanessa Cutting-Thomas asking her on whose authority she was allowing the appointment of the Chief Secretary to take place.

Noting that the THA’s Act #40 of 1996 was silent on the issue, he said she could not take it upon herself to interpret the Act.

He said it was based on that he was asking her to present legal advice on the matter or allow a debate to take place to iron out the issue.

However, Dennis’ appointment went off without a hitch. The PDP had also written President Weekes about the issue.

Dennis was elected Chief Secretary as the post became vacant because the sitting Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles resigned on April 28.

Charles stepped away from the post following his defeat as the leader of the People’s National Movement Tobago Chapter, during the party’s internal elections based on the one-man-one-vote system.

Davidson -Celestine beat Charles by over 1,000 votes.