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After a year of hanging in the balance, unable to get much done because of the 6-6 tie in the January polls that left the Tobago House of Assembly in a deadlock, it’s now over and the people have spoken in a resounding voice, casting their ballot in favour of the Progressive Democratic Patriots led by Watson Duke and deputy Farley Augustine.

It was no mean feat for the PDP, barely five years old, to oust the ruling People’s National Movement. Tobagonians turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots in yesterday’s election, the second this year, but which had some major differences — there were five parties contesting 15 districts up for grabs, three of them newly-minted.

PNM Tobago Council leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine thanked supporters in her concession speech, promising to regroup in the years ahead and to return again.

The turnout and reactions at the political level reflected a maturity in the Tobago voting population, who historically have cast their votes on issues that affect them and not along political lines.

Now that a new THA has been elected, one can only hope the people of the island will benefit from the kind of leadership they believe is so critical to the island’s future growth and development.

It is clear that the people of Tobago had lost faith in the PNM under Davidson-Celestine. The party will have to do its own introspection to determine why it lost such significant ground that not even three new seats could have helped them this time around.

In his victory speech last night, Augustine sounded all the right notes as he spoke of love for people more than love of party, noting that the people of Tobago must not be disappointed anymore and that the problems of the past 21 years must be fixed.

Augustine declared that a wind of change had blown across Tobago but was hopeful the PDP and PNM would have a cordial relationship going forward.

Like Trinidad, Tobago continues to be ravaged by the deadly COVID-19 virus. It is now up to those who have taken charge to chart a way forward and create a brand of message that will ensure Tobagonians get on the vaccination train. More than 200 people have died from the virus in Tobago — a huge number when one considers the population is just over 60,000.

The virus, however, is but one headache facing this new PDP-led Assembly. How they get the Tobago economy going in the face of the deleterious effects of the pandemic, dealing with a rising crime problem and addressing the many other ills facing the island is now up to those who lead. The ball is in their court.

One only hopes that the central government led by the PNM will understand the people of Tobago have spoken and they must now work hand in hand with the PDP for the good of all and ultimately for the good of Trinidad and Tobago.

The election is over, those in charge must now put their proverbial noses to the grindstone and get the job done.