We are heartened that newly installed Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles is engaging in conversations in an attempt to restore our pride and dignity.
Firstly, the motion he moved ,at the last Plenary Sitting, calling for a code of conduct to be drafted for and by Assemblymen, seeks to ensure that matters at the Plenary Sitting are conducted in a manner befitting the hallowed halls of the Chamber.
We are not suggesting there was no dignity and integrity exhibited in the Chamber prior to now. Rather, we can now use the code of conduct as a yard stick to judge anything taking place at the Sitting, from now on.
Thus the code of conduct is the beginning of the conversation.
However, we hope the set of rules go beyond activities at the Sitting and include actions outside of the Chamber.
Mr. Chief Secretary as Tobagonians we watched as all kinds of alternative facts were presented to us about the conduct of former Assemblymen. And depending on which side of the fence we sat we agreed with their actions. Frankly, some of the conduct bought the Sitting into disrepute and made a mockery of the word ‘honorable’.
Sadly, some of the actions placed intelligent people in awkward positions. Case in point is the Tobago House of Assembly’s Chief Administrator - Raye Sandy - explanation to a Judicial Review Committee, in Trinidad, on Assemblymen defaulting on their loan payments for their highly subsidized luxurious vehicles. The administrator stuttered and did not identify the sums outstanding. Needless to say the issue left Tobagonians stunned.
In the real world one is not allowed to default on loan payments without incurring a penalty. So far, we have not heard of an Assemblyman’s vehicle being repossessed.
You see Mr. Charles we live in the real world and people look at Assemblymen as role models. Think of the messages sent by those behaviors particularly to the young generation.
Invariably, Assemblymen help to set Tobago’s moral and ethical tone.
Mr Charles we are also pleased you have begun talking to the Tobago Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service about crime. We were a bit dismayed when nothing was forthcoming from the Assembly about plans for reducing the present crime surge. We are now heartened the conversation has begun.
Therein lays the intent of our comfort. You are new in office however you have been part of an establishment governing the island for the last sixteen years. Therefore you have to hit the ground running.
Enough talking we want the code of conduct completed and implemented. We want crime-fighting measures bearing fruit immediately. We want our peaceful and respectful way of life restored and we have chosen you to lead us in this charge. Tobago demands dignity and sanity be restored.