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BATTLE FOR TOBAGO

36 vying for 12 seats

By Keino Baird

Nomination Day for the Tobago House of Assembly Elections took place on December 31 and the Elections and Boundaries Commission has since released information to the Tobago News about the official candidates for the three parties that will contest the January 21 election. The People’s National Movement (PNM), The Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and The Platform for Truth (TPT) are contesting in all 12 electoral districts with a total of 36 candidates.

In the Buccoo/Mt Pleasant electoral district, retiree Richard Alfred will be the standard bearer for the TOP, customer Service Officer Ancil Dennis will do the PNM’s batting while businessman Ricardo Phillip with be the candidate for the TPT. This is a seat to watch carefully as it is currently held by Albert Pilgrim – a PNM elected representative, who retired from his post as a secretary within the current PNM administration. Pilgrim has been relatively silent since his resignation from the Executive Council but he continues to represent his constituency.

Rolly Quaccoo, the TOP incumbent will defend the Canaan/Bon Accord seat against Huey Cadette of the PNM and Barry Nelson of the TPT. Both Quaccoo and Cadette have experience in the Assembly and it looks like this race it will come down strictly to ground organization and getting voters out on Election Day. Like many others, this constituency was keenly contested during the 2009 polls, with Quaccoo, edging the now deceased Frank Roberts by just a few votes. The Bethel/Mt. Irvine seat will be contested by Handel Beckles for the PNM, Haynes Cowie-Clarke for the TPT and Sherry-Anne Rollocks-Hackett of the TOP. The seat is currently held by PNM’s Whitney Alfred. The veteran Alfred did not offer himself for re-election. Both Beckles and Hackett are facing the electorate for the first time. Godwin Adams will lead the PNM in the Plymouth/Golden Lane electoral district while Certica Williams-Orr will do battle for the TOP.

What makes this race super interesting and a tough contest is the presence of Hochoy Charles, “the Heavy Roller.” Plymouth/Golden Lane was also a close call in the elections, four years ago and with the introduction of the experienced Hochoy Charles to the race, this is gearing up to be a tough seat for anyone to win.

Claudia Groome-Duke is returning to the polls as the PNM incumbent against Theodil McPherson of the TOP, and Curtis Douglas of the TPT in the Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden electoral district. Groome-Duke has a history of victory at the polls but this is not to say that she isn’t in for a tough fight against McPherson.

Ashworth Jack of the TOP will face off against Sheldon Cunningham of the PNM and Ernest Belfon of the TPT in the Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah electoral district. Jack is the longest serving Assemblyman on the island and the defending incumbent of this seat. While we may easily want to assume this is a TOP safe seat, we will have to wait and see the degree of mobilization of the PNM and TPT to unseat the TOP leader.

Lambeau/Signal Hill is currently being held by the PNM , but it will not be defended by the sitting incumbent, but rather Jomo Pitt, will face off against TOP’s Robinson Alleyne. Even though this is usually referred to as a safe seat for the PNM, Minister of Justice Christlyn Moore who is from Lambeau, has been on the campaign trail supporting TOP’s Robinson Alleyne effort to capture it for the TOP. David Fraser will contest the seat for the TPT.

Orville London, PNM political leader will return to his old stomping ground of Scarborough/Calder Hall in a rematch against Anthony Arnold of the TOP. Development Consultant Andre Phillips will contest the seat for the TPT. Will Arnold unseat London this time? It is difficult to say, but it was very close the last time and Arnold has been on the ground for four years working actively in the community, while residents of the community say London has done much work there over the last few years.

The TOP will defend the Bacolet/Mt. St. George seat but with newcomer Gladstone Solomon against Joel Jack of the PNM and Juliana Henry-King of the TPT. With no assumptions, this race is up for grabs and will depend solidly on momentum, ground organization and getting voters out.

The Goodwood/Belle Garden West electoral district will be contested by the incumbent Steve Jack of the TOP, Pertrina Shanghie of the TPT and Hayden Spencer of the TOP. To what degree has the PNM made inroads into this constituency or to what degree are residents unsatisfied with Steve Jack’s representation is left to be seen and it comes down to the ground game and voter turnout.

In the Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford electoral district, Hilton Sandy will return to the polls as the incumbent for the PNM to face the electorate against Anslem Richards of the TOP. This is a hotly contested race and both parties appear fully mobilized for a fight to the end. Senya Martin will contest the seat for the TPT.

In another rematch and probably one of the closest races in this election is in the Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside electoral district. Tracy Davidson-Celestine returns as the PNM incumbent and Fitzherbert Taylor will once again do the TOP’s bidding. Both candidates from opposite ends of the district have their respective bases, geographically and demographically but will have to deal with the effects of the presence of TPT candidate Samuel Mapp.

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popeye said on Wednesday, Jan 23 at 6:36 PM

Now that the PNM won the Elections I only hope that they do not victimize those who wore yellow jersey's for the Top. They are now given the opportunity to run the affiars of Tobago un-hindered,they have no one to block their part I hope that when members of the Public need assistance from them they will not reject their plea, because their name is not on the PNM membership slate. They will be taking an oath 24-1-12 to service all the people I for one will be blogging on their performance as it pertains to the service that will be delivered.We all will now have to be judges of their action in public life.I hope the Tobagoian take an active part, and also work eight hours for a full day work, and are paid for the said service.A country cannot be built on four hours work, just as they leave and go to America and work all day, let them now produce the same enery in the Tobago economy, where once you visit an office in the THA service with a smile,and pleasent disposition must be displayed

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briyanna said on Wednesday, Jan 23 at 12:46 AM

cout u see i post something

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aliyah said on Wednesday, Jan 23 at 12:45 AM

this ia asswhole thing i like to say on me behalf

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RJ said on Sunday, Jan 20 at 9:07 AM

THE EXPRESS POLLS CANNOT WIN ELECTION. It is the Tobago people who go out and vote TOP, that can win the election,

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citylimer said on Saturday, Jan 19 at 8:03 PM

POPEYE WHO CONTROLS AIR AND SEA SERVICE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT. WHO MADE THE ORDER FOR THE NEW ATRS PNM. WHO HAD BACHANAL WITH CAL AND THE ATRS WHEN THEY CAME INTO POWER AND LOST SOME OF THE ATRS UNC. WHO DEVELOPED TOBAGO WITH LIMITED FUNDS PNM. WHO CRASHED THE ECONOMY UNC.WHO FIRED ALL THE BLACK PEOPLE IN THE STATE ENTERPRISES WHO BUT UNC. THERE IS SO MUCH TO WRITE MY EYES ARE STARTING TO POP OUT.

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POPEYE said on Saturday, Jan 19 at 5:39 PM

MR.ORVILLE LONDON WHERE WERE YOUR EARS WHEN SALARIES FOR WORKERS WERE NOT PAID INTO THE BANKS, FOR PARENTS TO FEED THEIR CHILDREN ON A FORTNIGHTLY BASIS.MR ROWLEY WHERE WERE YOU WHEN TOBAGO PEOPLE HAD TO SLEEP ON THE COLD GROUND AT THE AIR PORT AND THE PORT FOR LACK OF AIR AND SEA SERVICE.SINCE THIS PP GOVERMENT CAME INTO OFFICE, THE TOBAGO PERSON CAN SAFELY SAY THEY CAN NOW LEAVE TOBAGO, AND RETURN ON THE SAME DAY DUE THE THE INTERVENTION OF JACK AND THE PP GOVERMENT.MR.ROWLEY PNM HAVE NOT OFFERED THE VOTING POPULATION ANY VISIONARY ADVANCEMENTS AS IT RELATES TO BOTH TOBAGO AND TRINIDAD. LETS LOOK AT THE AREA WHERE OTHER PNM REPRESENTATIVES CONTROLLED OVER THE YEARS IT HAVE NOT BEEN UP-GRADED ROADS ARE IN A TERRIBBLE STATE, PROGRESS IN PNM LED AREAS IN TRINIDAD ARE REJECTED BY THE PARTY. ONCE YOU DO NOT VOTE FOR THE PNM THEY TREAT YOU AS NOT BEING PART OF THE LANDSCAPE THAT NEEDS DEVELOPMENT.LOOK AT THE ABJECT POVERTY THIS GOVERMENT IS NOW ENCOUNTERING.PNM IN OFFICE THE PIE NOT SHARED

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RJ said on Saturday, Jan 19 at 4:55 PM

Vote TOP to move Tobago forward!!

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citylimer said on Friday, Jan 18 at 3:24 PM

My People if Dr. Rowley did not reveal the the BACKGROUND of the embryonic stages of this Bill we Tobagonians and the Country as a whole would have been in the DARK. On top all this subterfuge towards Dr. Rowley and the PNM LED THA the PM AND HER HIT MEN AND WOMEN started the PROPAGANDA MACHINE BULLYING DR. ROWLEY TO SUPPORT A BILL HE DID NOT SEE AND WHICH HE AND ORVILLE LONDON had no ROUND THE TABLE TALKS about the various OPTIONS TOBAGO would like to explore such as a FEDERAL SYSTEM which will give Tobago more AUTONOMY AND WOULD FACILITATE AN EQUITABLE SHARING OF THE ENEGRY RESOURCES WITHINTOBAGO WATERS. I REPEAT EQUITABLE SHARING OF ENERGY RESOURCES.I ASK THE QUESTION WHY IS THE PRIME MINISTER SUBBING DR. ROWLEY AND ORVILLE LONDON AND HAVING SECRET TALKS WITH JACK.WHY IS THE PM AND HER HIT MEN AND WOMEN TRYING TO BURY THE 2 TOBAGONIANS IN AN AVALANCHE OF HATE,SPITE,ABUSE,SUBTERFUGE.The PM uses Tobagonians to MUTILATE THE CHARACTER OF ROWLEY AND LONDON,BUT SHE HARBOURS THE PINKPANTER

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citylimer said on Friday, Jan 18 at 3:07 PM

The UNC is trying ANOTHER SEC. 34 FIASCO WE say no never NEVER AGAIN.UNC does not sit down with the THA, I REPEAT DOES NOT SIT DOWN FACE TO FACE that is what negotiation is all about DIALOGUE. KAMLAR SITS DOWN ONLY WITH ASSHWORTH JACK. My People the behaviour of this REGIME is dispicable. Dr. Rowley who is the Opposition Leader wrote to the Prime Minister in order to have a face to face meeting on MATTERS OF STATE I.E THE MECHANISM FOR CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION. The letter was written after the PM wrote to him inviting him to join in the FORMATION OF A CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE which will drfat the TERM OF REFERENCE. Shortly therafter Dr. Rowley RECEIVED another letter from THEN MINISTER PARTAP who indicated to Dr. Rowley that the TERMS OF REFERENCE WERE ALREADY WRITTEN - ALL WITHOUT THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITIONS INPUT. - DICTATORSHIP AT THE HIGHEST-SAME TREATMENT THE PM GAVE TO LONDON. To date Dr. Rowley did not receive the courtesy of a reply from the PRIME MINISTER. SUDDENLY T/GO BILL.

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citylimer said on Friday, Jan 18 at 2:54 PM

THE BATTLE FOR TOBAGO IS NOT NEW but this time it is Tobagonians battling to protect their Land from a TROJAN HORSE named TOP and a DICTAORSHIP called UNC. The Bill UNC PRESENTED TO THE HOUSE is designed to make Tobago a SLAVE COLONY OF TRINIDAD which is ruled byt he UNC which is determined to expand their DIASPORA BIG TIME into new Frontiers. It is an conquering expedition the UNC is on so that their mother land could expand its horizons. SAT said he wants a HINDU PRESIDENT. Do we now think in terms of the RACE/RELIGION OF A PRESIDENT. The UNC Bill removes the current Authority of the THA and the Bill enshringes in the Constitution the current SUBTERFUGE AND DICTAORSHIP STYLE OF THE UNC TOWARDS THE THA AND TOBAGO. SIMPLE. The THA will have no jurisdiction over Energy - the LIFE BLOOD OF Tobago -, also Development Aspects,Tertiary Education, no say in Airports and Airlift Capacity,FERRY MANAGEMENT and related ASSETS, AGRICULTURE, MARINE RESOURCES. That is why Dr.Rowley said SCRAP IT.

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RJ said on Thursday, Jan 17 at 7:34 PM

Both tha African and East Indians are a majority in population. They are neck and neck, very close in percentage. We however need to look at good leadership and not race. We should vote TOP to move Tobago forward.

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the ferryman said on Thursday, Jan 17 at 3:37 PM

There is a sinking feeling in some quarters that the UNC/TOP campaign, with its over-reliance on money and governmental power, has already peaked and is now in free fall. A few reasons for this is (1) as Tobagonians contemplate a new and uncertain phase in their politics and government it is safer to so so with a party with the history and structure of the PNM. We cannot have uncertainty govern uncertainty (2) the propagnda that one party is for self government whilst the other is against is hogwash. All Tobagonians want what is best for Tobago. The issue could have been decided on who has better ideas, but no differences in ideas are forthcoming and ((3) the election campaigning seems to have ushered in flood of political consciousness for Tobago and Tobagonians will ensure that whoever they put in power will have to do better. People's power has taken root.

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JACK AND JILL said on Thursday, Jan 17 at 3:06 AM

"The African population is a minority in Trinidad and IF TOBAGO is EXCLUDED, its MINORITY STATUS becomes more pronounced. Let the 44,190 GO INDEPENDENT if THEY WISH or, for that matter, let them join a federal relationship with GRENADA and let Morgan Job be president. the Indian majority will climb... while the African will slip...'" - (2005) DEVANT MAHARAJ, Now Kamla's SENIOR ADVISER on population affairs and Minister of FOOD PRODUCTION in her CABINET

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JACK AND JILL said on Thursday, Jan 17 at 3:05 AM

"The African population is a minority in Trinidad and IF TOBAGO is EXCLUDED, its MINORITY STATUS becomes more pronounced. Let the 44,190 GO INDEPENDENT if THEY WISH or, for that matter, let them join a federal relationship with GRENADA and let Morgan Job be president. the Indian majority will climb... while the African will slip...'" - (2005) DEVANT MAHARAJ, Now Kamla's SENIOR ADVISER on population affairs and Minister of FOOD PRODUCTION in her CABINET

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S. Phillip said on Wednesday, Jan 16 at 4:56 PM

Please people, it is time to give someone else a chance. Let us remove race and irrational fear mongering from the equation and simply look at development. Are you pleased with how Tobago has progressed under 12 years of the PNM? I really think it's time to give someone else a chance! And I know change is scary sometimes but all the facts support that it has become desperately necessary in order to propel Tobago forward. My fellow Tobagonians, please stand up and make a brave decision on January 21st!!!

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SonofaTobagonian said on Wednesday, Jan 16 at 11:01 AM

@bucco man, don't try that. You say that you got threatened by a PNM team, yet you cannot even give a description of the people that threatened you and around what time it happened. Did you make a report to the police? I am smelling 2010, UNC, paid dirty tricks all over your post.

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bucco man said on Wednesday, Jan 16 at 12:22 AM

i was palnning on voting pnm as always.....but today when they came to my house campaigning the team there started to threatn me as someone had told them my son is voting top.....i told them there and then you have lost three more votes today because of this threatning you are getting on with. i plan to make sure that every one i know votes top....again most of the people here have already decided but are too afraid to say..on election night i would not be supprised if all 12 seats are lost by the pnm

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peoplesay said on Tuesday, Jan 15 at 6:34 PM

I agree with RJ some feel that the issues are not important. I want the PNM to tell the nation, if not now for the BILL when will it be given a hearing.Mr. London when will the "Bill" be given a hearing?.Mr.Rowley and the PNM want to stall,and impede the best piece of Document that is place in the Parliament, on behalf of Tobago. I say to my Prime Minister you are a real woman, and a mother. I am amazed that people whose children and grand-children who will benifit from such a "BILL" is wraped in the arms of the PNM, as far as I am concern the PNM era is in the past, this is a new age for advancement for the Island of Tobago.The "Bill" in years to come other things will be added,as done in America, look at the amount of Bills that is past in America, as we progress other pieces of legislation will be added as needed,so future lawyers will have the opportunity to add to Tobago's Bill.Our youths need to look beyound the pittances and meager wages offered by the PNM.Vote TOP.

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BOOOOOO said on Sunday, Jan 13 at 5:06 PM

Satan now resides on Tobago,

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RJ said on Sunday, Jan 13 at 3:33 PM

The PNM has already taken Tobago backward. Tobago now needs Jesus, plenty prayers and a party like TOP to take it forward.

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the ferryman said on Sunday, Jan 13 at 10:14 AM

Tobago should consider itself fortunate to have a party with the history and structure of the PNM as it considers internal self Government. It is quite appropriate for a party to be estsblished in the two units of a federal structure. Not all sections of the population have done well under the PNM, niether in Trinidad or Tobago. In fact some parts of Trinidad are doing particularly poorly. But to let the UNC, who has been unable to establish a footing in Tobago, use TOP to make some Tobagonians hate the PNM is unforgivable. By supporting TOP as an 'indigenous Tobago party' the UNC's real mission is, not internal self government for the island, but to have Tobago eventually secede, and so remove itself from the current political equation in Trinidad & Tobago.

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flowers said on Saturday, Jan 12 at 11:45 PM

Wow! People wake up. Tobago is not America for it is to small. Top will bring it down. Andre Phillips, Ashworth Jack & the Rollocks family will destroy the life. & its people in Tobago due to their greed. None of them has never done anything like what Mr. London has done & guess what! They ain't going to do nothing for the Tobagonians if you put them in there. Its ashame to see that there are people who cannot see what these gold diggers are up to! Open your eyes people & put back Mr. London in that seat before you offer itto a bad driver.

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Concerned citizen said on Friday, Jan 11 at 12:43 PM

WHAT TOBAGO NEED IS JESUS: IF MY PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED BY MY NAME SHALL HUMBLE THEMSELVES AND PRAYER AND TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS.....THEN GOD WILL HEARD THEM AND HEAL THE LAND.

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the ferryman said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 7:40 PM

the virginian @ 6.32 pm. You truly are a pseudo-intellectual. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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correction said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 6:51 PM

and the urgent need not to vote Top.

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Anonymous said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 6:49 PM

Tobago boy i did read the article on devant and i hope many Tobagonians does the same,it would clarify a lot of what they are not understanding about the importants of Tobagoes wealth beign fought for to eradicate Tobagoes people as invaluable.and the urgent need to vote TOP.they should look at America as an example,the indians are not leading america side by side with the whites no,the whites has totally eradicated them,and indians are struggelling to regain some kind of power in their own country.Does Tobagonians really want to suffer under the same consequeces of foolish naiveness,lets hope not.Just because the modern day terms of war to take over another coutry has changed and seems like politicians just wants the best,by fooling the gullible does not mean that its not the same intention,divide,conquer and overtake.The worse part is that their are those willing to give up Tobago with no interest for themselves our children in mind.we are not to be bought ever.

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the virginian said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 6:32 PM

the ferryman@2:42PM;I'm astounded to encounter a person in the 21st century making such a Neanderthal-like statement.Sir,are you for real?Do you fully understand the implications of such a position?In otherwords,if you don't look as I do,think as I do,worship as I do,perhaps work and play as I do,or even think as I do,then I can't respect or be tolerant of you and our differences and,therefore,you must be rejected.That's fundamentally what you're espousing,Sir.My goodness!Where's Gandhi,Mandela and MLK?

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the ferryman said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 2:42 PM

Does tobago want to see its basically afro-christian culture being lost in a multicultural maze where other religions will spend money to project thier culture over tobago's traditions? It is not a question of race but one of culture.

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the virginian said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 1:24 PM

Anonymous@8:27AM;you might also want to apply the same principle to the PNM,only the flavors in columns might differ somewhat but a rose by any other name is still a rose.

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Dr. O.M.A. said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 8:59 AM

Well, I listened to several TOP meetings on the radio and on location over the past two weeks and the speeches had no substance, especially from Sherry Ann Rollocks Hackett. She needs to be removed from the line-up of speakers because she just hurts the TOP with her unschooled behavior. Her thoughts are unclear and irrelevant, statements made are not forceful, and she just doesn’t know how to express herself with enthusiasm. Hope TOP removes her from the line-up of speakers. She keeps voters away from the TOP.

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Anonymous said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 8:27 AM

I came up with an idea to evaluate the UNC/PP/TOP government. Get a sheet of paper and pencil and draw three colums. The headings for the columns are: Accomplishments, Failures and Debacles. Whatever you write under accomplishments,don't forget to include their success in racially polarizing the country. Under failures, you have to include their inability to secure our waters and implement policies to reduce crime. Under debacle, I do not know where to start. Oh! You have the intelligence scandals, the state of emercency in the so called hot spot, and the infamous Section 68. What will be the legacy of the first female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and the caribbean?

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Ruth said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 3:41 AM

I was told that the PNM is so desperate, they are ringing around and asking people, about who they are voting in an intimidating voice. They then try to convince them to vote for PNM. TOP however seem to be the winning party.

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Bago Boy said on Thursday, Jan 10 at 12:19 AM

This is a quote from one of Devant Maharaj's articles speaking about Tobagonians "They must understand that Tobago does not belong to them alone and the people of Central Trinidad must share in prestigious housing estates like Bon Accord." Tobagonians that is their agenda....all yuh play dotish and vote TOP....all yuh will eat the bread the devil needs. They want all the caroni land for themselves cause they say they there the longest...yet still they think they entitled to Tobago lands when Tobagonians were there the longest. They are too blasted greedy! They want everything and they want to leave Africans in this country with nothing! Look for the article on Google. "Call on the Prime Minister for Mixed Communities in Tobago". But when Sandy talk about the Indian invasion they say he is racist. Sandy was only speaking the truth! Tobagonians open up all yuh eyes!!!!

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jacob said on Wednesday, Jan 9 at 9:40 PM

who ever wins make TOBAGO INDEPENDENT

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to shabby abi said on Wednesday, Jan 9 at 6:04 PM

Tobago will get in life what it has doled out to the innocent people who have died and suffered on your soil, no justice given , as to abi , where you come off being self righteous, people like you are part of Tobagos problem , curses to you also

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RJ said on Wednesday, Jan 9 at 12:58 PM

IF PP HAS A VISION, AND GOOD LEADERSHIP, THEN THEY SHOULD BE BE VOTED

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Abi said on Tuesday, Jan 8 at 4:01 PM

Anonymous who said that Tobago deserves to be doomed, I hope by January 21st 2013 you are not on Tobago soil otherwise you would be part of the doom and may it approach you 10 fold for the wicked heart that you possess. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Curse be you from henceforth!!!

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TobagoYankee. said on Tuesday, Jan 8 at 2:07 PM

My people please go out and vote I will be voting too donot let PPP take over Tobago.

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Anonymous said on Tuesday, Jan 8 at 1:53 PM

The 2013 THA election is no longer about which person or party will be best for Tobago and the interest of Tobago people. It is now about who will be the least destructive. We will be voting for the lesser of two evils. This revelation is truly a frightening one. May god help us all.

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Anonymous said on Tuesday, Jan 8 at 11:45 AM

Tobago is doomed and deserves to be

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RJ said on Tuesday, Jan 8 at 9:21 AM

!!Lets keep focused on the issues and not personalities. It seems we may find question marks over all the leaders that may not be proven. However we need a leader who can transform Tobago and move it forward; this is important. This is because Tobagonians are not satisfied with the high cost of living. Having to pay exorbitant prices for products that can be grown or manufactures in Tobago. No effective tourism, No improvement in the roads leading to Charlotville. No industrial development. Cost overuns, that has wasted a lot of the revenue expenditure. ect.

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Concerned Citizen said on Monday, Jan 7 at 1:59 PM

I sincerely hope that after this election is over each and every person no matter which side of the fence they are on can put aside their differnces and work togther again making a better country.

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