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ANCIL DENNIS

Gail Alexander

Time for Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections to resolve the deadlock in Tobago.

That was the view of THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis Friday.

Dennis and Innovative Democratic Alliance leader Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus commented after the Election and Boundaries Commission’s (EBC’s) draft order of Local Government and the Tobago House of Assembly (2021) was laid in Parliament.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who presented it, will next Wednesday pilot debate on a motion to approve the order.

Once approved it opens the way for THA polls to be held up to a minimum of two months and a maximum of three months after. Rowley recently projected polls before year-end.

The order increases Tobago’s 12 THA seats to 15 with three additional seats in Lambeau/Lowlands, Darryl Spring/Whim and Mt St George/Goodwood.

A total of 4,810 voters from seven polling divisions were transferred in order for the three seats to be created.

The Lambeau/Lowlands seat involved changes to the original Lambeau/Signal Hill/Buccoo Mt Pleasant seat.

The Darryl Spring/Whim seat involved changes with Black Rock, Spring Garden/Whim.

Mt St George/Goodwood, resulted from changes to Providence/Mason Hall-Moriah/Goodwood/Belle Garden.

Changes of names for 10 existing seats were listed. But Buccoo/Mt Pleasant and Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/ Speyside were retained.

The largest number of voters in Tobago are in Mason Hall /Moriah (3,869) and the lowest in Roxborough/Argyle (3,131).

The total electorate is 51, 216.

The PNM lost four seats in the last THA poll in January and ended up in a 6-6 tie with the Progressive Democratic Patriots.

PNM Tobago leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine didn’t answer calls yesterday. On the order’s implications for swift elections, Dennis said, “It’s time we get back to the polls. I look forward to the order being debated and accepted so that after, a date can be called, we can resolve this deadlock and get on with the business of the people in Tobago.”

Asked what PNM’s done to strengthen the party since January, Dennis referred this to the party. But he said, “PNM is a longstanding party, 60 years strong in the field. We’re ready to contest all 15 seats and make our case to the people – they’ll decide.’’

Asked about the involvement of former THA head Kelvin Charles and members who’d “parked up” in the January elections, Dennis said Charles continues to be a “member and supporter of PNM- I’m not aware that’s changed.’’

He said the IDA’s debut “doesn’t warrant a response or attention from me.”

IDA’s Tsoiafatt-Angus yesterday said, “While there’s a lot of speculation as to where the new seats may fall and there has not been any definitive information yet. If the document is indeed being debated on Wednesday, the IDA welcomes the resolution to Tobago’s current stalemate.”

“IDA continues to indicate its intent on contesting all seats declared as we’ll always give Tobagonians the opportunity to support the vision of a new and modern society, where every Tobagonians and resident has the opportunity to benefits from the island’s resources and be part of its development.’’

PDP’s Watson Duke didn’t answer calls.