Leader of the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) Watson Duke believes the 13 seats held by former members of the party should be declared vacant.
Duke in a letter on December 7 addressed to Presiding Officer Abby Taylor, noted that 13 people, including Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, resigned and declared themselves independents.
He said: “Having individually and collectively declared themselves as “independents”, notwithstanding that they contested the election to the THA under the political banner of the PDP and being duly elected by the people of Tobago as such, their individual and collective declarations as “independents” stand contrary to the democratic will of the electorate.
Their resignations from the political party under which their candidacies were premised, render their continuation as elected representatives and Assemblymen offensive to democratic principles and contrary to law.”
Duke said while the standing orders don’t speak to these circumstances, there is adequate legal basis to guide the Presiding Officer.
The PDP leader said the seats must be declared vacant.
He stated: “They cannot continue in office. By their conduct, their positions have each been rendered illegal and their seats must be vacated.
You are therefore enjoined to act in accordance with the law and declare the seats of the under mentioned 13 persons in the Tobago House of Assembly as vacant and you are required to do so forthwith so as not to perpetuate the illegality.”
The 13 members whose resignations were tendered and accepted:
1. Farley Chavez Augustine – Assemblyman for Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside
2. Faith B. Yisrael – Assemblyman for Belle Garden/Glamorgan
3. Nathisha Charles-Pantin – Assemblyman for Bagatelle/Bacolet
4. Terance Learie Baynes – Assemblyman for Bethel/New Grande
5. Zorisha Amena Hackett – Assemblyman for Bethesda/Les Coteaux
6. Joel Sampson — Assemblyman for Bon Accord/Crown Point
7. Sonny Craig — Assemblyman for Buccoo/Mt. Pleasant
8. Nigel Taitt — Assemblyman for Signal Hill/Patience Hill
9. Wane Clarke — Assemblyman for Lambeau/Lowlands
10. Ian Anthony Pollard — Assemblyman for Mason Hall/Moriah
11. Megan Morrison — Assemblyman for Mt. St. George/Goodwood
12. Niall George — Assemblyman for Plymouth/Black Rock
13. Trevor James — Assemblyman for Scarborough/Mt. Grace
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