Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: Did Watson Duke not take the THA oath of office by accident or design?

Dear Editor: Did Watson Duke not take the THA oath of office by accident or design?

“[…] While reading the oath of office, at the swearing-in ceremony for members of the Tobago House of Assembly on Thursday 9 December, 2021, Watson Duke uttered the words, ‘I will bear true faith and allegiance to Tobago and Trinidad’.

“This is clearly not what the oath says…”

The following Letter to the Editor, which questions the validity of the oath taken by PDP Political Leader Watson Duke at the official swearing-in ceremony for THA officials on Thursday 9 December, was submitted to Wired868 by Roger Mohammed of Oropune Gardens, Arouca:

Photo: THA deputy chief secretary and PSA president Watson Duke.

According to section 13 (1) of the Tobago House of Assembly Act Chapter 25:03, ‘No person elected or appointed to the Assembly shall assume the duties of his office until he is administered the relevant oath of office.’

This oath is clearly spelt out at section 6 of the First Schedule of the said THA Act. It says the following: ‘I will bear true faith and allegiance to Trinidad and Tobago.’

While reading the oath of office, at the swearing-in ceremony for members of the Tobago House of Assembly on Thursday 9 December, 2021, Watson Duke uttered the words, “I will bear true faith and allegiance to Tobago and Trinidad.”

This is clearly not what the oath says.

I recall that on Inauguration Day in January 2009, former United States of America president Barack Obama had to re-take the oath of office because a word was out of sequence on his first attempt.

Photo: Former United States president Barack Obama.
(Courtesy UK Telegraph)

I am surprised that none of the legal luminaries have raised this issue. Whether it was facetiously done or a genuine error, the fact is that the oath of office was incorrectly taken.

This raises the valid question; was Watson Duke properly sworn in as an elected member of the Tobago House of Assembly?

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2 comments

  1. It matters not overly how he placed the words; his signature to the written version is what counts

  2. The official name of our country is Trinidad & Tobago.

    I believe that Watson Duke was trying to be a wise guy. In keeping with proper procedure, he should be made to retake the oath.

    Allowing what appear to be little things to slip leads to slippage of bigger things as the precedent has been set.