The Progressive Democratic Patriots(PDP)has invited three Tobago political parties, excluding the People’s National Movement (PNM), to discuss the August 10 general election.
The Tobago Forwards (TF), Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and The Platform of Truth (TPT) are the parties invited to a meeting to discuss the way forward.
This was confirmed by PDP’s leader, Watson Duke, and chairman of the One Tobago Voice steering committee, Hochoy Charles.
Duke has also got the support of the People’s Empowerment Party led by Phillip Alexander.
The TF, TOP, and TPT have formed one political grouping called One Tobago Voice but the PDP wrote to each party’s political leader separately, Guardian Media understands.
“Yes, we each got a separate letter. However, we met under the One Tobago Voice umbrella and decided we should meet with the PDP. The meeting should have taken place today (Friday, July 10), but the PDP had its headquarters’ launch, so the meeting did not take place,” Charles said.
Guardian Media spoke with Duke exclusively on the matter, at the launch.
“We, the PDP, decided to reach out to them as this election is a Tobago fight and all of Tobago should go to the election as one group fighting the PNM,” Duke told Guardian Media.
Asked if the PDP was now seeking to form a coalition, Duke said, “We do not want to form a coalition but want an absence of division.”
Pressed further for an explanation, he said, “The absence of division means, instead of Hochoy Charles aiming his guns at Watson Duke…he must understand that kind of talk is not serving the interest of Tobago because I am not the enemy. I am not the one denying Tobago the right to internal self-government. I have assisted Tobago with issues relating to the interisland boat, the airfare, and Central Bank.”
“Infighting among the parties is a distraction and creates confusion in the minds of Tobagonians,” Duke added.
Last year, the PDP spurned the coalition party’s advances, to join their party and form one group to speak on Tobago’s behalf.
Meanwhile, at the simple ceremony to mark the opening of its party’s headquarters at the Port Mall, Scarborough, the PDP renewed its call for legislative changes for Tobago.
Duke, who brought remarks at the ceremony, said the PNM had its time to make the changes but had not done so.
Waxing Biblical, he quoted from the books of Ecclesiastes and Daniel, telling the crowd of supporters there is a season for everything.
“For 40 long years, we have been battling in Tobago seeking internal self-government…it is the season for the PDP to deliver it,” Duke said.
Duke will represent his party in Tobago East and Tashia Grace Burris- Tobago West. They will face the PNM’s Ayanna Webster-Roy and Shamfa Cudjoe, respectively.