February 3, 2001 E-mail: From - Jasper

PM’s refusal to go to one of Tobago's most important events

It was great amazement and dismay I read the reason why the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago and the Minister of Tobago Affairs, one and the same person did not attend the inauguration of the new Tobago House of Assembly last week.

He is reported in the media as saying he had a "busy schedule" and so would not be able to attend. One of the appointments for the day was a meeting with business leaders to discuss among all things a way to resolve the present impasse in the country between the President and the Prime Minister.

I would like to humbly suggest to our business leaders that they allowed themselves to be used in a most obvious and blatant fashion by not asking of the Prime Minister that their meeting be cancelled so he could go to Tobago, instead of he using them as part of an excuse why he was not going to Tobago. It has long been the island's complaint that they are treated with second class status by the authorities in Trinidad and the PM’s refusal to go to one of Tobago's most important events where the other major state officials was present, reeks of partisan and exceedingly divisive politics.

Most media scribes apparently saw nothing wrong with the PM’s refusal to attend the swearing in ceremony and did not draw it to his attention that his being there would have sent all the right signals to the island and to further censure him for not going. It is this sort of behavior from politicians in Trinidad that would continue to produce the "Hochoy Charles's" of Tobago.

It is not lost on them that the PM can find time to campaign, play golf and relax in the island but he is to busy to attend the THA’s swearing in ceremony. If the UNC had won the recent THA elections we all know what would have happened to that "busy schedule".

On the brighter side it is a much better reason than the one he gave for not attending Lord Kitchener’s funeral "I did not know when it would take place", a most bizarre statement coming from a Prime Minister. I think Tobago may end up like the grass on the ground when elephants fight. Prove me wrong Mr Prime Minister and company.

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