Publish THA Green Paper
The Editor: I would like to publicly recommend to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Administration that it move immediately to publish as a THA Green Paper, the two bills on internal self government for Tobago which were approved by the THA and sent to the Attorney General and the Prime Minister for deliberation by Cabinet.
The two THA bills have been totally ignored by the AG and the PM.
It is clear that the PP Government in Trinidad is intent on its established course of seeking at every turn to undermine the authority of the democratically elected and legally constituted PNM Administration in Tobago.
It is also clear, unfortunately, that there are Tobagonians who are prepared to allow themselves to be used by the PP Government in Trinidad in its said endeavours.
In the circumstances, there seems to me to be little point in proclaiming that the Central Government Green Paper should be ignored, that it is not worth the paper it is printed on. The Central Government Green Paper is already in the public domain, Tobagonians are going to comment on it, the PP Government in Trinidad is going to proceed with these "consultations" and "deliberations" and it is going to publish its White Paper in due course, while studiously ignoring the THA Administration and pretending as if the two THA bills do not even exist.
The THA Administration should therefore move purposefully to place the two THA bills in the public domain as its own Green Paper and so give the people of Tobago the opportunity both to make their own comparisons between the two Green Papers and, more importantly, to make comments on the two THA bills as set out in a THA Green Paper. To do otherwise, in my considered view, would be to cede centre stage to the Central Government Green Paper and to a PP Government in Trinidad that has continuously demonstrated that it has no compunction whatsoever in sidelining the PNM Administration in Tobago, the democratically elected representatives of the people of Tobago.
The time for a "unified Tobago position" seems long gone. The political battle lines have clearly been drawn. And if the THA Administration does not put the THA's Tobago position on internal self government squarely on the table, in the public domain, alongside the Central Government position, it runs the risk of getting trampled in the political dust.
Please give the people of Tobago the opportunity to adjudicate on two Green Papers.