There’s a deadlock in Tobago.

A hung Tobago House of Assembly (THA) resulted last night as the People’s National Movement (PNM) lost ground in Tobago and in Trinidad.

Twenty years after the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago was paralysed by the 18-18 stalemate, the 2021 THA election has replicated that outcome with a 6-6 tie between the PNM and the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) led by Watson Duke.

The PNM went into the election with 10 of the 12 seats and emerged from it with four fewer. The PDP raised its stakes from two to six seats.

PNM officials were busy trying to make sense last night of this wholly unexpected result.

According to the THA Act it is only the Assemblymen (the elected officers) who elect the Speaker of the THA. And the Act states further that it is only after the election of the Speaker that the Chief Secretary is elected. This therefore poses a quandary for the selection of a THA administration.

Asked in Tobago last night where she spoke to the media whether the party would return to the polls, PNM Tobago political leader Tracy Celestine-Davidson replied: “That might be a possibility.”

Acknowledging that there was a “constitutional challenge” facing the THA, Celestine-Davidson said there were a number of opinions on how to proceed and “we have to be advised on the best way forward”.

With respect to the THA election, while the PNM for many years after the establishment of THA in 1980 has had a dismal showing of one seat out of 12, this 6-6 result is the worst showing since 2001 when the party began to reverse its fortunes in Tobago. Since 2001, the party has had an unbroken record of victory which culminated in 2013 with a total 12/0 sweep.

Celestine-Davidson herself won by a relatively slim majority in one of the safest seats for the PNM - Lambeau/Signal Hill. She received 1257 against 1042.

When the National Parliament was faced with the 18/18 impasse, no Speaker was elected even though Parliament met on three occasion in failed attempts to resolve the crisis. The Parliament did not function the year that that administration existed. However a government was installed after then president Arthur N Robinson chose between the two political leaders (Basdeo Panday and Patrick Manning) . He announced his choice of Patrick Manning as Prime Minister on December 24, 2001, with the agreement that he would call an election within a year, which he did and won.

PNM loses ground in Arima

The PNM lost ground in the local government by-elections, with the loss of the Arima Central seat, which has held by the PNM in virtually every local government election, save the July 2010 local government election which closely followed the May 24, 2010 General Election which the PNM had lost 29/12 to the People’s Partnership.

PNM Arimians said last night it was a “bitter pill to swallow” because this was regarded as a safe seat.

The victory is seen as giving further political life to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar . Speaking at the party election headquarters Persad-Bissessar said : “We go fortified and strengthened into the Parliament on Wednesday with our no confidence motion in the Minister of National Security”. She said the United National Congress (UNC) won more votes than the PNM, and added that while the PNM wins with 300 votes, the UNC wins with thousands of votes. The UNC won three seats in Trinidad, while the PNM won two.

 The winners

 People’s National Movement (PNM)
Tracy Davidson-Celestine—Lambeau/Signal Hill
Joel Jack—Bacolet/St George
Ancil Dennis—Buccoo/Mt Pleasant
Marslyn Melville-Jack—Scarborough/Calder Hall
Clarence Jacob—Canaan/Bon Accord
Kelvon Morris—Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden

Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP)
Watson Duke—Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford
Faith B Yisrael—Goodwood/Belle Garden West
Farley Augustine—Parlatuvier/L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside
Zorisha Hackett—Plymouth/Golden Lane
Ian Pollard—Providence/Mason Hall/Moriah
Terance Baynes—Bethel/Mt Irvine


Taxpayers have forked out close to $4 million in legal fees in the matter of Vertical Aviation LLC and the lease of the Sikorsky S76D helicopter by the former government.

Vertical Aviation had claimed the Government failed to satisfy its obligations under the lease by not paying rent and interest due for late rent payments, failed to replenish the security deposit after the aviation company applied the deposit funds to late rent payments, failed to enrol the aircraft in a tip-to-tail maintenance programme and did not maintain insurance for the aircraft.

Professor of molecular genetics and virology at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Christine Carrington says while there are yet no confirmed cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, it is only a matter of time before the highly transmissible variant is detected here.

Carrington was speaking during yesterday’s virtual news conference hosted by the Ministry of Health.

A 41-year-old woman remained in police custody yesterday, being questioned in connection with the murder of Maritime General and Fidelity Finance chairman and Piarco Airport corruption accused John Smith, 74, on Friday afternoon.

Around 4.30 p.m. on Friday, offi­cers of the Maraval Police Station responded to a call that there was a domestic dispute at a residence in Haleland Park, Saddle Road, Mara­val.

For decades, Trinidad and Tobago has battled a raging gang problem.

Successive governments and law enforcement have fought to reduce criminal organisations which have engaged in well-executed mafia-style illegal operations, including drug and gun running, money laundering, prostitution, extortion, and crimes like murders, robberies and even what are regarded as white-collar ventures.

THE manager at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) who cleared an employee of any wrongdoing following a complaint against him has signed an affidavit saying he was repeatedly called upon to change his findings in the matter.

He also said he was denied several requests to interview the Min­ister of Public Utilities for a “witness statement in the matter”.

It’s only a matter of time before Trini­dad and Tobago gets its first case of the Delta variant, as it’s more transmissible than the P1 (Brazilian) variant, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley also warned on Thursday that it is inevitable the highly infectious Delta variant will reach T&T’s shores.

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