straight to the point – from different points of view

THA contempt for PM Rowley

THA contempt for PM Rowley

‘In my previous article about the contempt shown by the THA to the courts and every other gatekeeper I set out the series of brazen acts committed in defiance of judges’ clear orders. I had also shown the lack of regard for the EMA, Town and Country Division, the line ministries to MTS, the Project Managers who managed the project. None was spared their righteous contempt.

It would be bad enough if that were the worst of their contempt. There is an aspect of this story that almost defies belief and which shows that they hold even their own leader in contempt when he takes a position at odds with theirs. Yes, this development stands in stark opposition to the stance taken publicly by their own political leader, Prime Minister and proud Tobagonian.

In August 2018, economist Anslem Richards in an article captioned “PM Rowley battered THA, shamed Chief Secretary” was quoted as follows –

“After three years in office and at his first public open-mike forum with Tobagonians at the Scarborough Library, last Thursday (August 23), Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, in his usual unrefined manner, was brutally hard on the Tobago House of Assembly and Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles. As a matter of fact, the PM, by his answers and statements, appeared concerned and unhappy with how the PNM administration of the THA directed and led the island’s development over the last 17 years.

The PM was embarrassingly frank about the misguided thinking of his THA comrades who have destroyed the pristine and natural beauty of the Castara beach with construction of what he described as a “monstrosity of a building on the beach front.” He lamented that this was not development and warning against building any such monstrosity on Blood Bay beach, as Tobago’s pristine and beautiful beaches must be preserved as heritage assets.”

He went on to observe the following –

“I invite him to immediately go and see the very destruction that his ill-informed PNM colleagues, under leadership of the former Chief Secretary and now High Commissioner to London, Mr Orville London, inflicted on Charlotteville. They have misguidedly constructed a three-storey commercial building and a two storey- fishing facility on the Charlotteville beach front, thus, permanently destroying the pristine and natural aesthetics associated with the view of the beach front and the setting of the sun.”

We all understood that the Prime Minister, a son of the Tobago soil and the PNM political leader took a very clear position on the matter of these large concrete and glass structures on what were once pristine beaches that attracted visitors precisely for that unspoilt beauty. Would a THA with any respect for PM Rowley continue its development of the mall which was then at an early stage in defiance of the PM?

But it gets worse. Note that the statement by PM Rowley was made on August 23rd 2018. That was barely a month after the second judge’s order on July 16th 2018. In the face of the clear position taken by the Prime Minister and fresh from defeat in the courts telling them that they had failed to comply with the previous order, THA had every reason to halt work on the project. If they had even a modicum of respect for the PM they would have halted that project forthwith.

Yet in the face of the powerful condemnation of this very type of project by the Prime Minister and the removal of all doubt that it was in defiance of the first court order, THA decided to give the middle finger to all and sundry including (some might say especially) the Prime Minister.

I’m left to wonder whether there has been any discussion between the parties about this. Is the Prime Minister so uninformed about what is happening in Tobago that he isn’t aware of the development and even more pertinently, the legal issues surrounding it. I find it virtually impossible to believe that after his harsh words as quoted earlier, nobody would see it fit to inform him of this development regardless of the legal position.

Knowing of the serial legal failures, why did nobody inform the Prime Minister about this matter that he clearly felt so strongly about? Why did nobody inform him that the folks at THA, members of his own party, chose to disregard his clear views on this type of development? Was he not made aware that the THA leadership treated him with even more contempt than they did to the courts and the many other victims in this saga?

I would be very angry if I were the Prime Minister and found myself treated with such contempt by leading members of the party of which I am the leader. THA leaders have not only embarrassed themselves with their contempt for the court. They have embarrassed the Prime Minister by blatantly acting against his stated wishes. They have embarrassed the party by acting like fugitives from the law. And they have especially embarrassed all the respectful law abiding citizens of Tobago with their actions.

I don’t know how much sway he holds over them. The PNM were once admired for its much vaunted discipline. Oh how times have changed. If you were Prime Minister and leader of the party I would not expect you to tolerate such arrogance on their part. You would probably demand to be informed of both the legal status of the project, and why this monstrosity was constructed in the immediate aftermath of your forceful sharing of your views on such projects.

This doesn’t speak very well for their claim that Tobago is better off for having the same party in both Scarborough and Port of Spain. People like yours truly already feel that such an arrangement is detrimental to our best interests through a lack of checks and balances. Little did I suspect that such a schism exists within the party itself.

Through all the talk abut lack of self rule and autonomy, the THA has proven that it is already a law unto itself. They have no regard for laws, thereby effectively being subject only to what they perceive the laws to be. Equally, they have no regard for the courts and judges, being judges in their own cause. They most of all have no regard for their political leader and Prime Minister.

By the time you read this affected parties will have served THA with legal filings that will seek to defend the primacy of our laws and courts. We need your support in this critical action. It is still a David vs Goliath fight and we need you support.

I am asking you to donate to the cause at www.fundmetnt.com/stop-the-contempt. Alternatively you can contact us at contact@alcindorwalker.com.
The big question is – does the PM back the THA leaders who have shown him such contempt, or does he ensure that they obey the courts?

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