The six Assemblymen from the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) on the steps of the Assembly Legislature building in Scarborough. (Image: CAMILLE McEACHNIE)
Reporter: Camille McEachnie

The six assemblymen from the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), who met Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on Wednesday at the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Course, say they proposed a temporary system of Government, until the THA Amendment Bill is passed in its entirety in Parliament.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, one of the PDP’s leaders, Farley Augustine, said they proposed the positions of Presiding Officer and Chief Secretary be held by the People’s National Movement (PNM).

However, the PDP wants the positions of Deputy Presiding Officer and Secretary of Finance, as well as an equal number of assistant secretaries’ and secretaries’ positions.

He said the PDP wants two of the four available counsellor positions in the Assembly.

Describing the meeting as “cordial”, Augustine said the PNM indicated they want the proposal in writing.

He said Dr Rowley told the party he would take the PDP’s position back to his Cabinet colleagues.  The PM would make the Cabinet’s view on the matter, Augustine quoted Dr Rowley as saying.

Deputy Political Leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), speaks with the media outside the Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Course, on Wednesday 3 March 2021. (Image: CAMILLE McEACHNIE)

Wednesday’s meeting comes as just over one month has passed since the PNM and PDP won six seats each in the January 25th Tobago House of Assembly elections.

Both parties have not been able to agree on a Presiding Officer. Unless that position is filled, the THA cannot be fully constituted.

Dr Rowley, who is also the leader of the General Council of the PNM, led a debate in Parliament to amend the THA Act #40 of 1996 to change the number of electoral districts in Tobago from 12 to 15.

The amended bill passed in both the Lower House and the Senate with a simple majority.