The passing of the motion, to phase out the use of Styrofoam and find alternative products for use in Tobago, augurs well for Tobago’s future. The support it received from the opposition – Minority leader, Watson Duke and his colleague Farley Augustine- perhaps signals the level of collaboration that will take place, from both sides of the benches, going forward. Of course, partisan party support for the Motion was expected.
However, the ease with which the opposition accepted all aspects of the motion, was surprising and to a large extent welcoming, giving the level of acrimony that prevailed during the recently concluded Tobago House of Assembly elections.Members of the current administration- 2017-2021, were elected to serve in the Assembly, based on the outcome of the January 23rd elections.
However, we do not expect the prevailing peaceful atmosphere between the ruling administration and the opposition to continue as Duke has already butt heads with the governing administration over space for the Minority Leader’s office.
The Motion, tabled by Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and the Environment – Councillor Kwesi Des Vignes, is laudable as it attempts to stem Tobago’s current use of the non-biodegradable material – polyurethane.
The idea of going ‘green’ in Tobago is not new and has been touted by Dr Elton Bobb, Coordinator, Comprehensive Economic Development Plan 2.0 (CEDP) Secretariat. CEDP 2.0 is the policy document showcasing the Assembly’s plans to make the island 'green'. It focuses on sustainable development and was first introduced in 2013 by the THA’s Executive Council for the period 2013-2017.
In earlier times, much was said and done by the CEDP Secretariat but of late the public has heard little of their plans.
We trust they are working arduously in the background ensuring that the island is on course with its planned ‘green’ development as, after all, the island’s mantra is ‘ Green, Clean, Safe and Serene’.
So far millions of dollars have been sentto pay staff, rent office space and disseminate the ‘green’ message and those funds cannot be wasted because of inactivity by the Secretariat.
It’s interesting that since the inception of the new administration nothing has been heard from the secretariat.
That aside, we welcome the continuing efforts by the current administration to preserve the environment. We hope the meeting with stakeholders signals the beginning of consultations with the public on making the island ‘green’ and the ideas expressed at those meetings will be taken onboard. We also hope that at the end of the day any document to preserve the environment will be a reflection of the views of Tobagonians.
The only way for the proposed fundamental change to be successful is by taking on board the wishes of the people.