Casandra Thompson-Forbes & Loyse Vincent
A total of eight candidates sealed their bids to contest the August 10 general election after they filed their nomination papers on Friday. Three candidates will contest the Tobago East Constituency, while five are eyeing the Tobago West seat.
Flanked by her husband, three children and a handful of supporters, the incumbent and PNM Tobago East candidate Ayanna Webster-Roy filed her nomination papers at the John Dial Community Centre. Speaking to the media after filing her documents, Webster-Roy said the process ran smoothly and she had no challenges
"I am extremely confident. I have done the work, I have served the people of Tobago, quiet strength, a symbol of stability and what they would have found in me is service to people, country and constituency, so I feel very confident. I feel excited to continue the work that I would have started in 2015. All I do is humbly ask the people of Tobago East to help me to help them continue building and developing Tobago East and I look forward to continuing that journey after August 10" she said.Backed by African drums, PNM Tobago West Candidate Shamfa Cudjoe filed her documents at the Calder Hall Community Centre. Expressing confidence, Cudjoe said she represented her constituents to the best of her ability.
"I think I would have done the best I could have with the resources at hand and due to the circumstances as it relates to financing and so on. I would have been accessible and available, worked with Central Government to deliver to the people of Tobago and Tobago West, so I feel confident about getting the support to continue our development agenda," Cudjoe said.
Arriving convoy style with scores of supporters and accompanied by a music truck, PDP candidate for Tobago East Watson Duke said that despite his court matters being used as a political tool against him, he is confident that the PDP would be successful at the polls
"Well, I want to say, the PNM is not only using my court case, the PNM is also using our style of politicking, they are now offering jackets for sale, they now have hard hats and men on roof and painting. The PNM seem to be using everything that we have done against us. But I say, if we are the inventors, then we are the owners and we will not be moved," he said.
Independent Tobago West candidate Ricardo Phillip and his wife, Joanna.
Tobago West candidate Tashia Burris filed her nomination papers at the Calder Hall Community Centre. She said it was a momentous occasion and an opportunity for Tobago to understand there are other choices. Burris said she plans to bring proper representation to the people of Tobago.
"What we have been getting for a very long time is PR, what we have been getting for a very long time is promises, so what we have demonstrated outside of the office is that we can and will perform and that the people have been crying out and that we know they deserve performance, so we are going to bring performance to the Parliament on behalf of the population of Tobago," Burris said.
Earlier in the day, Guardian Media learnt that one of the founding members of the One Tobago Voice, Hochoy Charles endorsed Burris as a candidate for Tobago West. Questioned on how she felt about the endorsement, she said, she felt honoured to receive Charles’ support.
“I have a great deal of respect for Mr Charles and what he has done for Tobago and I see his endorsement as him passing the baton in some ways. And I also see his endorsement as him throwing his support behind Mr Duke and his choice and the party," she said.
PNM Tobago East candidate Ayanna Webster-Roy is supported by her husband, Kevin, after she completed her nomination process in Tobago
Independent Candidate Ricardo Phillip is attempting to unseat Shamfa Cudjoe. He plans to bring independent ideas to the table.
Julianna Henry-King and Hochoy Charles, who endorsed the PDP's Burris, would be representing the One Tobago Voice in Tobago East and West respectively, while Nickocy Phillips of the newly formed political party, Unity of the People, filed nomination papers for Tobago West mere minutes before the 3 pm deadline.
Phillips was also the only candidate who spent more than one hour on the filing process. He later explained that he “felt woozy and had to, therefore, take a break during the process.” Phillips said he saw the process as advancement.
“I feel very confident because I took a next step in life, I have a lot of work to do and although I may not meet all the people in the constituency I plan to reach out to them before and even after the elections.”
Tobago West Candidate for Unity of the People Nickocy Phillips.
He said he will continue to build on his legacy of assisting people in his community in spite of the outcome of the election.