Dr Winford James

Political commentator Dr Windford James believes that newly-installed Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis may not have enough time to have an impact in Tobago. In a telephone interview with Guardian Media yesterday, James said that with the Tobago House Assembly elections carded for January 2021, Dennis is to pave the way for Political Leader of the Tobago Council Tracy Davidson-Celestine, to create history, becoming the first female Chief Secretary of the THA.

“He only has seven months to go, but he told us he would be happy to participate in the election of the female Chief Secretary on the island, which tells us that this is what this is all about. This is not about him becoming Chief Secretary…he is going to hold office in the interim yes, but it is all aimed at making Tracy Davidson-Celestine the first woman to become Chief Secretary,” James said.

“His age is not an issue for me, it is his knowledge and what he can accomplish in seven months I don’t know if he could accomplish anything of substance in the remaining seven months before there are new Tobago House of Assembly elections,” he said.

Weighing in on the issue involving the validity of Dennis’ appointment, as raised by the Minority Council after the oath of office was administered on Wednesday, he suggested that there might have been a breach of protocol, which can be challenged at the courts

“Whether Mrs Thomas as the Presiding Officer was authorised to swear Mr Dennis in as Chief Secretary, some people have read the constitution and the Tobago House of Assembly Act to be saying, that is the job of the President, that is not the job of head of the Assembly Legislature and understand what they are saying and I think they have a point, but of course it’s a point we can only be sure about if the matter is taken to court and challenged,” he said.

He said, former Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles’ resignation triggered several constitutional arguments and faux pas, which have created a crisis on the island.

“This is a crisis, quite frankly, created by the Tobago PNM and particularly involves the new Political Leader Mrs Celestine, so Tobago is in a quandary here, is in some trouble, there are lots of things to repair, even if the repair relates to people’s understanding of what’s going on, so the PNM has lots of work to do,” he said.