From left to right – Kwesi Des Vignes (Assemblyman), THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis and Stanford Callender (PNM Tobago Council Chairman), at a press conference at the PNM Tobago Council’s headquarters in Scarborough, Tobago, on Tuesday 2 March 2021. (Image: CAMILLE McEACHNIE)

The Tobago Council of the People’s National Movement (PNM) is making it clear the party has not discussed the current impasse in Tobago House of Assembly (THA) with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley MP.

Instead, it is Ancil Dennis, as THA Chief Secretary, who has done so.

Dennis is the PNM’s area representative for Buccoo/Mt. Pleasant.

This is the party’s position on statements by the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) that Dr Rowley—the PNM’s National Council leader—met with only the six PNM Assemblymen in the THA.

The PDP said PM Rowley did not reach out to them to discuss resolving the THA impasse.

Speaking at a press conference at the PNM’s Pump Mill, Scarborough headquarters on Tuesday, the island council’s chairman, Stanford Callender, denied any meeting took place with the PM.

“Those who wish to give the impression that he [Dr Rowley] has met with the PNM, I want to categorically deny that.  As chairman of the party, we were neither called to a meeting by the political leader and Prime Minister, nor held any discussions with him as it relates to the current situation,” Callender stated.

He said Dennis, as Chief Secretary, could meet with the PM Rowley, as authorized by law.

When Dennis was asked if he discussed the matter, he said:

“I talk to the Prime Minister all the time… The Prime Minister is the prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago…”

When told he had not answered the question, he replied:

“Of course, we have discussed the issue on several occasions.”

The THA impasse occurred because the 12 Assemblymen could not agree on electing a THA Presiding Officer to fully constitute the Assembly.  They all won their seats in the January 25, 2021, THA elections.

Dr Rowley is scheduled to meet with all 12 Assemblymen at the Magdalena Grand and Golf Course on Wednesday, March 3rd.

He also will meet with all past and present Chief Secretaries later that day.