The Tobago question

The national government has gone on the offensive with the much anticipated constitutional changes as it relates to the Tobago/Trinidad relationship. As was reported, the government has published a green paper which has incorporated all the submitted views on the issue. The intention of the Government to take the Green Paper around the island for public consultation must be commended.
The question of the Tobago relationship between Tobago and Trinidad has been a contentious issue for a very long time. Since the British colonial authorities decided to join Tobago with Trinidad during the 1880s, there have always been demands by Tobagonians for a better deal within the relationship. During the 1950s, the Tobago cause was championed by then Tobago nationalist APT James. During the 1960s, the more extreme rhetoric of medical doctor Rhodil Norton took center stage in the Tobago/Trinidad issue. Norton was actually proposing the secession of Tobago from Trinidad. However, Norton never had the massive support required for such a move.
It is important to note that the PNM Government headed by Dr Eric Williams never saw it fit to propose any initiative on the Tobago/Trinidad relationship. The historical truths will reveal that it was the peoples’ uprising of 1970 which brought the Tobago situation to national attention. Back then, the poverty and exploitation of the Tobagonian was exposed by the 1970 movement. The upheavals eventually forced the resignation of the Tobago east Parliamentary representative ANR Robinson from the PNM Government.
By 1977 the struggle for more autonomy for Tobago had intensified with Robinson taking the fight to the PNM Government. By 1980, the first Tobago House of Assembly elections were held and thus began the new status of the Tobago/Trinidad relationship. In 1996 the THA Act was enhanced to give more powers to the THA. Then in 1999, Hochoy Charles the then Chief Secretary fought the UNC Government and secured more funding for the THA. When the PNM took control of the THA the Tobago/Trinidad relationship was put on ice because the expressed view was, “PNM in Trinidad; PNM in Tobago” was best for Tobago.
However, all that changed when the PNM Government was swept from office. The Tobago PNM for some reasons known to them suddenly took up the struggle for Tobago, while those in opposition in Tobago who could justly lead the Tobago struggle responded. Hence, we are where we are at present.
We will be closely following the next chapter in this quest for Tobago’s governance. We also praise the PP Government for sticking to their campaign promise of granting more autonomy for Tobago.

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Desuperman said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 9:35 PM

There were a mistakes in the blog: ..."because of petty politicking..." ..."with this government and their disrespecting..." ..."the struggle intensified"...

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Desuperman said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 9:29 PM

And with this devious group of people in the government they are very capable of sending their "troops" here to voter pad, the good thing is they may be very easy to identify. I just hope that the Elections and Boundaries are on top of things. I am really disappointed in the Editorial of the Tobago News. How can they "praise" this PP watered down Green Paper over the John Prince's draft which has potential for "Fuller Autonomy" for Tobago? For the T.News to claim that the PNM "suddenly took up the struggle" is dishonest. The "struggle" started in 2007 and it involved the Minority side, the PNM John Prince and Russel Martineau, who are both Tobagonians. But of petty politicking, Asworth Jack pull out and the PNM remained in the "struggle". However, with what Tobag has witnessed with this government and there disrespecting of the INSTITUTION call the THA, then "struggle" intensified and rightfully so. We just CANNOT allow them to get their way, not even with Ashworth supporting them.

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atlanta gonian said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 9:09 PM

10 miles around Tobago? economic zone.Here we go again,more Trinidadian trickery.We need to extend it out to 200 miles out as in that treaty one of the other bloggers had mentioned.Trikidadians know why they are saying that,they want to sell more deepwater blocks in the Caribbean Sea.The Caribbean sea is shallower ion average than the atlantic ocean..That means less money spent on the rigs and it look more attractive to potential bidders..Aside from that,are there any contingency plans if we ever have a BP like disaster in Tobago waters.What about our input in knowing who is drilling where and for how long these rigs are going to be there.What about security for our coastline,our fishing resourses and our economic activity.Is Tobago going to be responsible for our full administration or are we going to be just puppets on a string,A WARD OF TRINIDAD!

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atlanta gonian said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 8:54 PM

What? 10 miles around Tobago and 4 months in Tobago before you can vote in the election.Thats a huge case of potential voter padding. Trinidadians can come to Tobago and rent for 4 months or just stay with a friend,change drivers license to back to Trinidad and come back to Tobago to vote..Well check this out.

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the virginian said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 4:45 PM

Citylimer,even though sometimes our views don't coincide,nevertheless,you're a credible force and you can't come this far only to surrender. To the publisher(owner)and editor,I'm sure you must have heard of this statement by Dr.Martin Luther King:"the true measure of a man is not where he stands in times of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." This is a time of challenge and controversy in Tobago,so please gentlemen,unless a point of view is so blatantly vile or vulgar or so incendiary that it seriously threatens the stability of the nation,Tobago in particular,then please favor us by sharing those views.Most,if not all,of us are either bona fide Tobagonians or still have a stake in Tobago's affairs.Sunlight,not darkness,is the best disinfectant.Come on now Sirs,please do the right thing. I,myself,have felt the weight of your censors,but for me it doesn't matter,it's inconsequential.Citylimer's case is different.

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CITYLIMER said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 3:37 PM


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citylimer said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 3:14 PM


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Desuperman said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 2:42 PM

This Editorial alone tells you why your blogs weren't posted. This article looks like it was written by someone like Ware, the problem we never know who is the writer of Editorials. But for the Tobago News to write this nonsense, "praising" the PP government for "sticking to their campaign promises" is unbelievable. The PP is prepared to give Tobago 10 nautical miles around the island instead of the 200 mile zone which the John Prince's Draft has and the Tobago News is supporting this. They have not dealt with the length of time a person can live in Tobago before they can earn the status of residence, which the Green Paper has as 3 months as against 4 years in the John Prince's. This draft went public for Tobagonians to debate and give their input, did we see any "praises" from the Tobago News? Unfortunately, they got caught up in attacking the PNM for being a part of it now, SO WHAT? Is that the reason the other draft is no being given the credit it deserves? It's a lot better.

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Desuperman said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 2:26 PM

Citylimer, the media is not for the PNM, none of them. So what you're experiencing is expected, but trust me, that won't help whoever they're trying to help. Keep on writing and keep sending the same thing. It's funny what passes for democracy in this country.

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citylimer said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 1:47 PM


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citylimer said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 1:20 PM

Mr Editor I am not seeing my comments on the comparison of both the PP/TOP and the THA's proposals. Please find and publish. Some thing seems to be wrong. Thank you.

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Long Mango said on Thursday, Mar 8 at 11:49 AM

The PNM never gave any support to the idea of self determination to Tobago.This is the first time that some one in the that party has said that there is a need to move towards a better administrative arrangement,but the sad thing is that they are only repeating what they have vigrously opposed in the past. The other side is that the Leader of the PNM party has not yet said a word for the progress of Tobago.So is it a convenience call at this time since the ground is saying a total demolition of the PNM when the next THA electionS is called.Quite frankly Mr, O London we do not believe you.

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atlanta gonian said on Wednesday, Mar 7 at 11:03 PM

I too am a past pupil of Bishops High School. I think its high time the idea of Tobagos autonomy should be decided among tobagonians,not by some Trinidadian politician who is selfserving for themselves.Tobago is truly a sleeping giant in the Caribbean. That's why we need to up the ante w.r.t the Tobago Question.

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Anonymous said on Wednesday, Mar 7 at 4:31 AM

From the article. I think we need another 1990 and there just might be one. Tobago needs to be given its full economic zone, not just 6or 8 nautical miles of the coast. If Jack allows that, I won't be angry with him, for he does not know better, but if Vernella Alleyne, Bishop's High School graduate, allows such, I, Mr. Collier, and all the noted Geography teachers of Bishop's will be very disappointed and hurt. should we get our rightfull maritime boundry and work together as one, we will be a formidible force in the Caribbean, if not the world.

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atlanta gonian said on Tuesday, Mar 6 at 6:14 PM

Tobago do need more autonomy.Trinidad should thank Tobago because of us,the maritime boundary is extended all the way out past barbados.I don't want to hear Trinidadians talking nonsense that tobago don't contribute.Many offshore platforms are in Tobago waters if Tobago was a sovereign country! So that being said,Tobago do need more autonomy,not the token type,but real autonomy.Tobagonians need to be given the full reigns to develop their island and we need to bring/invite more foreign based tobagonians to add value to the island human and real resources.We need to develop strategies that will enhance our island ,just like singapore which has no resources except human.We need more tobagonians to go to places as central america,ghana and other countries and offer ideas and information/business that can enhance tobago.This is just a few ideas.

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D Mouse said on Tuesday, Mar 6 at 10:26 AM

More autonomy for Tobago is the Key to its future.

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too late said on Saturday, Mar 3 at 9:20 AM

Tobago has already fallen,all that is needed is to flush clean.

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ATLANTA GONIAN said on Friday, Mar 2 at 3:40 PM

Tobago became a ward of trinidad in 1889.Scince then till the first T.H.A was created,no development was done to this island.I hope once and for all ,that we have a clear line of authority on what the t.h.a is responsible for and what the central government is liable for in the governance of this island.We need to do this,tobago's maritime boundaries are huge and while we dither,the koreans,taiwanese and other asian trawlwers are fishing in our waters in the caribbean sea taking our natural resources,with the drug trade coming in and going out from castara and parlatuvier.We need to create a civilian maritime watch system with a robust coast guard patrol system to watch over our huge maritime boundaries while we pursue economic activity in tobago that can strenghtend our country.Security,fiscal,food and energy security.That is why we need total clarification on this paper.

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RJ said on Friday, Mar 2 at 8:42 AM

WHATEVER HAPPENS UNITED WE STAN DEVIDED WE FALL. UNITY IS STENGTH. Tobago should be given its rightful place of being able to be autonomous in all its doings; while at the same time we can remain a unitary state.

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