Tracy Davidson-Celestine becomes the newest councillor in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) by 4 pm today in a Special Meeting held in the THA Assembly Legislature chamber, Jerninghman Street, Scarborough.
Sources say she is set to become Tobago’s Secretary of Health following the resignation of the island’s health secretary and councillor Agatha Carrington on February 28, 2020.
Davidson -Celestine’s ascension to this position comes after she replaced Kelvin Charles as leader of the People’s National Movement ( PNM) Tobago council in the party’s internal run-off election on January 26 this year.
She is the first female to lead the party’s council.
As the (PNM) is the THA’s ruling administration, the THA’s Act #40 of 1996 allows the party to have three of the Assembly’s four councillors.
“The Presiding Officer shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Chief Secretary, appoint three councillors and the Minority leader appoint one councillor,” the act says.
According to the law, Davidson-Celestine’s victory allows her to become a councillor and Secretary, but not Chief Secretary.
She could only become the chief secretary if she had faced the electorate and won the support of other elected members.
” Upon the election…the Assemblymen shall elect from among their number the Chief Secretary and Deputy Chief Secretary,” the act says.
The new councillor is no stranger to the Assembly having served as Deputy Chief Secretary, Secretary of Tourism and councillor during the Orville London-led era.
She left to become this country’s ambassador to Costa Rica in April 2017 having similarly lost to Kelvin Charles in the party’s runoff internal election in June 2016.
Charles took up office on January 17, 2017 and his term was expected to end in 2021 when the next THA election is constitutionally due.
The 2016 election was the Tobago Council’s first introduction to the one-man-one-vote system.
Back then only the posts of political leader and chairman were subjected to the new voting system.
The other 15 positions were derived through the party’s selective process.
Fast forward to 2020. On January 19, Charles, Davidson-Celestine, Joel Jack- Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary for Finance, as well as Dr. Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus- former THA Presiding Officer, vied for the party’s top political leadership position.
Charles received 1513 votes, Davidson-Celestine 1447, Jack – 1066 and Tsoitfatt-Angus 904.
Neither Charles nor Davidson- Celestine won the party’s constitutionally required number of votes to become leader.
On January 26, a run-off election was held.
When the dust was settled Davidson-Celestine pulled 3,150 votes to Charles’ 2042.
The newly elected leader took to the airwaves to call for Charles to vacate the post of chief secretary.
Charles said he had no plans to leave until the end of his term in 2021. Charles then called on Jack to resign.
The party’s leader Dr Keith Rowley intervened. After meeting with them, news emerged of a “smooth transition.”
On February 11, at a joint news conference with the new leader, Charles announced he was resigning as the chief secretary at the end of April.
He also said the new leader begins as a councillor on March 1.