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All set for Debate

By Keino Baird

Tomorrow night's debate will take Tobago and the nation as a whole into a new era of the evolutionary process of politics.

It is no doubt that the political culture of the twin-island republic is under transformation.

With the advent of coalition politics to maintain the needed parliamentary majority to form a government and now a political debate, things are evolving. All eyes tomorrow night will be on the three men vying for the position of Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly on January 21.

This important and historic election with a lot to win or a lot to lose by the two major parties, is described by many Tobagonians as a very close election.

There were some logistical problems and allegations of lack of communication between the Trinidad and Tobago Debates Commission and the Chief Secretary, including an apparent misudertanding of the established rules for the debate (needed a minimum of 6 nominated candidates - this did not happen untill December 31) and the New Year, did not make a process which was smooth enough to London's liking; however, he understood the intracacies surronding the planning of events of this such as this and was willing to be cooperative moving forward.

According to Carlos Dillon, a member of the Local Organising Committee the debate will concentrate on the major issues that people of Tobago think are important. Information collected from residents through the use of social media and emails directly to the commission were all factored together to determine the topics of focus. Furthermore, a team of researchers was deployed under the direction of Prof Rhoda Reddock to gage the topics of interests to Tobagonians.

Janet Parks, another member of the Local Organising Committee sees the debate as having a positive impact on the culture and strengthening the democratic process. "The whole culture is changing, no longer a culture where people are jumping up on bandwagons," said Parks, hoping that the debates become a permanent feature in our politics. She hoped on the morning of January 11, undecided voters will be able to make choice. Parks encouraged Tobagonians to "see themselves as catalysts and not to wait for an election to come," to engage the issues.

In a few weeks the Trinidad and Tobago Debates Commission Facebook page peaked with tremendous activity from relative obscurity to over 704 "likes" as of Monday. One comment on the page from a Trinidadian of Tobagonian ancestry said, "Thank God the issues will be discussed. People want a better life not old talk. Time has come for this change and the Chamber is leading the way. My Mother and Father born Tobagonians and cocoa was their main crop. My grandfather used crates to transport items from Tobago for my father to sell in Trinidad during the war, what happened. Let us hear what are the plans by the THA to develop food sustainability in Tobago. We will listen. Maybe I will go home to my roots."

The Debate will air live on several television and radio stations across in Trinidad and Tobago at 8 p.m.

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Bago Boy said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 7:52 PM

Manontheground....spoken like a true Indian!

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Bago Boy said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 7:51 PM

*True East Indian

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Bago Boy said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 7:51 PM

Manontheground....spoken like a try East Indian......

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manontheground said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 11:57 AM

Mr. Charles failed in the first question also Mr. London, he Mr. Londond was reminded about his signature to a 1995 Minority Bill for Tobago. He was astonished that someone remembered his history.We the population have a decision to make , their is a van driving around Tobago preaching hate, but the indivual is hiding his face from the public the PNM is on the run here in Tobago. The black businesses that are in Trinidad how many youths have they employed and given them proper wages for a days work. When it is Friday for the youths to get salaries they Hide and even fly out of the country. Who is treating the youths bad their own brother who is a part of the PNM league.

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Bago Boy said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 8:25 AM

Secrets of the Census in Trinidad and Tobago written by Devant Maharaj, Maha Sabha member and current PP/UNC Government Minister - "Dr Morgan Job has been attempting to influence the people of Tobago to seek a federal relationship with Trinidad. He even advocates outright independence. I say let the 44,190 (Tobago) go independent if they wish or, for that matter, let them join a federal relationship with Grenada and let Morgan Job be president. The result will make the African population of Trinidad a smaller minority by another two per cent. With the Tobago figure taken out of the 2000 census figures, the Indian majority will climb to 41.85 per cent while the African will slip to 35.04 per cent." Let Those who have eyes see and those who have ears here, now is not the time to play with the future of Tobago or Trinidad....vote PNM!

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Bago Boy said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 8:23 AM

The Ferry Man, with regard your last question "Why are the UNC and its financiers, as seen by the level of money pumped into TOP's campaign, so obsessed with self government for Tobago?" I suggest you google "Secrets of the census in Trinidad and Tobago" written by current PP/UNC Govt Minister Devant Maharaj......I'm confident that once you read that article you will understand the motive of the UNC. Tobagonians must not be duped by the UNC into separating from Trinidad. You have all been duly warned.

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the ferryman said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 3:01 AM

Voters will make an assessment, from the debate, as to which leader is best suited to be Chief Secretary. On this criteria Jack failed because of his poor literacy and verbal skills. Charles personality resonated with Tobagonians. Had he belonged to a structured organization as the PNM, it would have been a hands down win for him. Have you wondered why the UNC and its financiers, by the amount of money being pumped into TOP's campaign, is so obsessed with self government for Tobago?

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Anonymous said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 2:54 AM

Voters will make an assessment, from the debate, as to which leader is best suited to be Chief Secretary. On this criteria, Jack failed because of his poor literacy and verbal skills. Charles personality resonated with Tobagonians. Had he belonged to a structures organization as the PNM, it would be a nands down win for him. Have you wondered why are the UNC and its financiers, judging from the amount of money being pumped into TOP,s campaign so obsessed with self government for Tobago?

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the ferryman said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 2:48 AM

Voters will make an assessment, from the debate, as to which leader is best suited to be Chief Secretary. On this score Jack failed principally because of his poor literacy and verbal skill skills. Hochoy Charles personality resonated with Tobagonians. Had he belonged to a structured organization like the PNM it would have been a hands down win for him. Why are the UNC and its finaciers, as seen by the level of money being pumped into TOP's campaign, so obsessed with self government for Tobago? hmmmm...

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citylimer said on Friday, Jan 11 at 9:22 PM

A Jack CHEATRD by carrying in NOTES to the Debate and Hochoy caught Jack copying. Those Noted are the same ones compiled for him by the 8 Minister who used Government Money to hold a SO CALLED CABINET MEETING IN TOBAGO 1 day before the Debate. They pumped him up and he CARRIED NOTES INTO THE EXAM ROOM TO COPY. Typical UNC TOP SLEIGHT OF HAND AGAIN. NO INTEGRITY For NOT FILING with the Commission, to Pumpkin House and now CHEATING IN A DEBATE AND BEING CAUGHT. WHAT A SHAME.

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