Farley Augustine, deputy political leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (Image courtesy PDP)

The Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) has won all 15 of the electoral seats in Tobago, taking control of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

The People’s National Movement (PNM) had reigned in Tobago for the past 21 years, but the PDP—headed by Watson Duke and Farley Augustine—will now run the affairs of the Tobago House of Assembly until 2025.

“Tobago, we promised you that we will transform this place.  We promise you that we will fix the things that have gone to waste for so many years. We promised you that we will correct the wrongs of the last 21 years, and that we should begin to do immediately,” said deputy political leader of the PDP, Farley Augustine.

He urged supporters and party officials to be magnanimous in victory.

“I wish to even use this platform tonight to caution all of my colleagues that we ought to remain grateful in victory, because at the end of the day, we wake up tomorrow morning as one island, one group of Tobagonians and we all have to love and respect even our family and friends who chose to vote otherwise,” the PDP deputy leader said.

Augustine declared the breaking of a new day in Tobago and encouraged supporters to do better than the PNM.

“We have to reverse this culture of victimisation and create a culture that says it’s not we time now but is a’ we time now… Tobago time now.  It is time for Tobago to win, and not just a political party to win, but for Tobago to win,” he told the party faithful during his victory speech last night. 

Farley Augustine sounded a call to arms, reminding Tobagonians that there is much work to be done.

“It will not be easy, but we require every single one of you to put your shoulders to the wheel.  We have to become more productive and industrious,” he stated. “We have to tap into our creative genius, and we have to do it because tomorrow’s generation depends on us all to do it.”

He added: “We have to do it because I truly believe that this Tobago that we’ve now become stewards of, can become the greatest little island on the planet. I need you to believe that with me and work towards that with me.”

The PDP deputy leader assured Tobagonians that his party will fulfil its campaign promises, including that of more accountability.

“The things I covenant with you remain the same,” he declared.  “I made a covenant with you that all 15 of us—those who will end up as elected members and those who will come in as councillors—we covenanted with you that we will give you a THA that is far more transparent and accountable.  We covenant with you that we will have a zero-tolerance approach to corruption.  We covenant with you that the people who will benefit from Tobago’s resources will be all of you—will be the many, and not the few.”

And even as he called for a cordial relationship with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Farley Augustine observed that the people of Tobago have rejected the Prime Minister’s bullying tactics.

“This win should also be a solid message to the Central Government, being led by a Tobago-born Prime Minister, that you cannot treat Tobagonians the way you want.  We will reject that, and we have rejected that,” he asserted.

The PDP deputy leader added: “Let this win be a strong message that Tobago has rejected your incomplete Autonomy Bill, and we demand more.  Let this be a resounding message—a strong message—that we have rejected your notion that we are only good enough to earn $200 million per year, and we must resort to being beggars of the national purse.  Let this be a strong message, Mr Prime Minister, that we in Tobago have rejected your bullying tactics, and that the kind of bullying that is part of the political culture in Trinidad is not welcome in Tobago.”

Farley Augustine also asked the PM, “do not spite Tobago”, noting that country must come before party and before self.  He said the PDP was willing to work with Central Government to see the island of Tobago truly develop.