Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / NJAC suggests ‘council of elders’ to solve THA impasse that ‘can have serious repercussions’ for T&T

NJAC suggests ‘council of elders’ to solve THA impasse that ‘can have serious repercussions’ for T&T

“[…] NJAC shares the concern of the wider society, particularly the people of Tobago, about the present situation in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).  

“It is NJAC’s view that such a situation inevitably creates an environment of political instability that can have serious repercussions, not only for Tobago, but also for Trinidad and the wider Caribbean…”

The following press statement, which suggests a way out of the present political impasse within the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), was submitted to Wired868 by the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC):

Photo: PNM Tobago Council political leader, Tracy Davidson-Celestine shows off her ink-stained finger after voting in the THA elections
(via PNM)

At a meeting of the Executive Council of the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) held on Sunday 31 January 2021, a resolution was passed that a proposal be made for the formation of a council of elder statesmen which can provide counsel and can mediate between the two leaders/parties currently involved in the present impasse in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

NJAC is suggesting names such as Mr Reginald Dumas, former head of the public service, Dr Eastlyn Mc Kenzie, former educator and Independent senator, Mr Allan Richards, former chief administrator of Tobago, Bishop Claude Berkeley, bishop of the Anglican Church of Trinidad and Tobago, Justice Melville Baird, chairman of the Integrity Commission and Ms Gloria Carrington, former administrator of the Tobago House of Assembly, as persons who can be considered to be members of such a body.

NJAC has also written letters sharing its proposal with Her Excellency President Paula Mae Weekes; the Honourable Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley; the Chief Secretary Mr Ancil Dennis; the Political Leader of the PNM, Tobago Arm, Ms Tracy Davidson-Celestine and Mr Watson Duke, Political Leader of the People’s Democratic Party.

NJAC shares the concern of the wider society, particularly the people of Tobago, about the present situation in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA).

Photo: PDP political leader Watson Duke.

It is NJAC’s view that such a situation inevitably creates an environment of political instability that can have serious repercussions, not only for Tobago, but also for Trinidad and the wider Caribbean. NJAC therefore sees this issue, not only as one that involves Tobago, but rather, the nation as a whole. 

NJAC fully appreciates the complexity and sensitivity of the situation. We firmly believe that any approach to a solution must require dialogue between the leaders of the two parties, the PNM and the PDP. It is a situation that requires the greatest amount of maturity by all persons who are involved directly or indirectly, ensuring that the national interest is placed above that of party.

For NJAC, the wishes and aspirations of the people must be of paramount consideration.

Whilst NJAC recognises the adversarial nature of party politics, we believe that this situation requires a more collaborative, rather than a confrontational approach. NJAC believes that to solve such a complex and sensitive issue, we need to utilise the collective wisdom and knowledge of our citizens.

Photo: Independent Senator Dr Eastlyn McKenzie.

For NJAC therefore, the intervention by such a council of elder statesmen, can provide the required guidance and impetus that is necessary in order to move the process forward.  

NJAC is hopeful that the leadership of both parties can rise above political interests and instead, display the level of sensitivity, understanding and maturity that the situation requires. 

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