|THA Chief Secretary Orville London, left, |
exchanges greetings with Arts and Multiculturalism Minister
Lincoln Douglas yesterday following their meeting on
Tobago Self Governance at Hyatt Regency,
Port of Spain. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY
The people of Tobago must have the right of self-determination, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London has said.
London was speaking at a news conference yesterday at the Hyatt Regency, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain, following the second Dialogue Meeting on Tobago Self-Governance.
A team from Tobago met with a Cabinet-appointed committee led by Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas, who said a number of critical issues was discussed including the legislative powers of Tobago to make and implement its own laws, budgetary allocations and defining maritime boundaries.
Addressing reporters, London said the meeting surrounded 11 demands coming from the people of Tobago and that it is only a matter of time before there is closure to the issue of self-governance of Tobago.
He said however several points needed to be addressed such as equality of status between Trinidad and Tobago, a definition of the boundaries of each island and an effective law-making authority.
“We need an effective and meaningful law-making authority that cannot, in any way, be frustrated by the Cabinet or the Central Government,” he said.
London said there also needed to be an equitable sharing of the nation’s resources.
He said Tobago self-governance must not be looked at as a favour or gift to Tobagonians, but rather about the island having the opportunity to operationalise their right to self-determination.
“This is the right of the people.”
London added there were several areas of disagreement during the meeting, but he expressed hope these would be resolved.
“We did not agree on everything but I think it is a work in progress,” he said.
Douglas said the meeting facilitated a clearer understanding of what is necessary to make Tobago self-governance a reality.
Another meeting has been scheduled for May 6 to further talks on the matter.
The Tobago team included London, Tobago Platform of Truth (TPT) leader Hochoy Charles, Stanford Callender of the People’s National Movement (PNM) and Convenor of the Internal Self-Government Secretariat, Allan Richards, with Gilbert Peterson SC, as adviser.
Central government was represented by the committee headed by Douglas. Other members of the sub-committee include Minister of Water Resources and the Environment Ganga Singh, Minister of Food Production Devant Maharaj and Dr Delmon Baker, Minister of Tobago Development, along with advisers Ashworth Jack and Christo Gift SC.