The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) was dissolved on Tuesday and the major political parties in Tobago are ready for the polls.
Citing the THA Act 22(1), Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis proposed the dissolution just after the Tobago Marine Park Bill was passed unanimously during the 42 Session of the 2017- 2021 THA term.
“ In reality, the passage of this act is, in fact, the final act of this session of the House and therefore … I beg to move at this point in time that this house now be dissolved,” Dennis said.
The dissolution comes almost three months before the assembly’s 2017-2021 session comes to an end in January.
It paves the way for the THA elections to be held within the next 90 days as prescribed by the constitution.
According to the constitution, “The president, after consultation with the Prime Minister and Chief Secretary, shall fix the date of a primary election, which shall not be earlier than the expiration of two months after the dissolution of the assembly nor later than the expiration of three months after that dissolution.”
In an immediate response, deputy political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots(PDP) Farley Augustine said the move did not surprise the party.
“ We are ready for the election, and we were not surprised by the news. In fact, in our estimation, the election would be around January 18. We are expecting elections around that date. Additionally, the fact that we had two Sittings so early in the month outside of the usual date was a dead giveaway as to what their plan or strategy was,” Augustine told Guardian Media.
And Hochoy Charles, leader of the Platform of Truth( TPT) and chairman of the steering committee for One Tobago Voice ( OTV) said he is ready for the elections if Tobago is ready.
He declined to say whether the TPT or OTV will contest the elections.
Meanwhile, the People’s National Movement ( PNM) said the party is prepared for the THA elections.
In a statement immediately after the THA session, the PNM’s Tobago Council’s political leader Tracy Davidson-Celestine said Tobago is facing a new normal because of COVID-19. She said the party is evolving and adapting to the situation.
She said the party’s 64 years of experience equipped it with the necessary leadership tools to continue fighting the pandemic.
During the last THA elections in 2017, the PNM won 10 of the 12 electoral districts.
The PDP won two.
The PDP and PNM recently fielded 12 candidates for all the electoral districts.