Seven prominent Tobagonians have now thrown their support behind the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP).
The politicians who were once opponents came together at a news conference in Scarborough yesterday.
The group was comprised of former assemblymen Dr Jeff Davidson, George Stanley Beard, Max James, Carlyle Dick, Cecile Caruth, Regis Caruth, and former parliamentarian Pamela Nicholson.
Calling themselves the Non-Aligned Tobago Politicians, they stress they will not form a political party. They said their only concern is Tobago’s wellbeing.
They cited the absence of the completed Tobago Autonomy Bill, Auditor General reports on the Tobago House of Assembly’s (THA) accounts, alleged abuse in the recent food card distribution and the “unnecessary” acquisition of Crown Point lands for the airport expansion project, as reasons to vote against the PMM.
They also said history shows Tobago was better off when two candidates, not representing a national party, represent the island in Parliament.
Beard, a former THA Tourism Secretary under the Democratic Action Congress banner, said as elders in the community, they could not sit by and allow the present situation to continue.
Nicholson, who is the only Tobagonian to represent Tobago East and West in the Parliament, also lamented the status of the autonomy bill.
“With the behaviour of the PNM, over the last five years under Rowley, Rowley could not pass that bill for Tobago?” Nicholson asked.
Former NAR MP Pamela Nicholson, who served both Tobago West and East during her political career.
They added that they could not support the PNM in this election, as the party’s two representatives - Ayanna Webster-Roy and Shamfa Cudjoe, “did nothing for Tobago”.
Guardian Media reached out to the PNM for a response to the veterans’ claims. The party’s Public Relations Officer Kwesi Des Vignes said the matter will be addressed at a news conference at 10 am Friday.
Meanwhile, analyst Dr Vanus James said yesterday that although he appeared on a Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) platform Monday night, he is not a supporter of the PDP.
While addressing the PDP supporters, Dr James had referred to an incident involving a PNM organizer facing unemployment because she had switched allegiances to the PDP.
He said the PDP had extended an invitation to him before, and he felt compelled to address the issue publicly on any platform.
“Of course, I could not go and a PNM platform and discuss this. It had to be a platform opposed to the PNM. I had to speak out against the injustice of having one’s vote tied to one’s employment, but I am no PDP. I am about Tobago’s business,” he told Guardian Media.
In 2013 he appeared on a PNM platform in the Mason Hall/ Moriah electoral district.
He spoke out then against the leader of the Tobago Organization of the People Ashworth Jack.
“Jack decided to join with the United National Congress to fight the election on Tobago’s behalf. I saw that as wrong, so I spoke on the PNM platform,” he said.