Tobago's Election Results Send Message: Hit the Road, Jack!

Tobago's election results have come in and bloggers don't seem surprised. The incumbent, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London, won by a landslide, while the main challenger, Ashworth Jack, representing the Tobago Organisation of the People, which has links to the country's current administration, failed to win even one seat.

The Eternal Pantomime quipped that not much else could be expected, given that the TOP's election campaign resembled “a ghetto fete gone wrong”. She went on to give examples of its failings:

In an island as devoutly Protestant as Tobago, and suspicious of any practice that is Unorthodox, why on earth would you arrange for the PM who is both Hindu and Spiritual Baptist and rude to read at a pulpit.

Using children to send a rude message to the THA Chief secretary is another No-No. Tobagonians still admire things like manners, class and respectability. Sandbox entertainment has introduced a level of crassness and vulgarity to an election campaign that is normally never this heated or hectic. TOP’s response to Hilton Sandy’s Calcutta Ship has only served to take the race talk up several notches and anger Tobagonians and Trinis alike.

Plain Talk said of the elections results, “On Monday the people of Tobago were given an opportunity to send a message and they took it. And what a message it was…”:

For the Tobago Organization of the People, Monday was a disaster of Biblical proportions, of fire, brimstone and pestilence all rolled into one, a loss so unimaginable even words such as epic and unprecedented strain to convey the sheer magnitude of the humiliation and one wonders, could there even be a TOP after this?

In his estimation, though, the United National Congress (the main political party comprising the country's People's Partnership government) was to blame for the harsh defeat:

It was the United National Congress that killed the TOP and they need to be given all the credit for it, and they need to accept it – The obscene and dehumanizing campaign that tried to paint proud Tobagonians as ‘pipers’ looking for a hit, the nonsensical and sometimes foolish drivel spoken ad nauseam by a Prime Minister well past her ‘campaign by’ date, the obscene and tiring Jack Warner/Anil Roberts double shot of indecency, the ‘bussing’ of marks and the telling of blatant lies all gave Tobagonians a first hand look at what Trinidad was dealing with and they rejected it with an almost prejudiced precision.

The Eternal Pantomime added that the Tobago House of Assembly election results will have a long-term effect:

[It] will have serious impact on how the next 30 months of politics go here. Because in roughly that time both UNC and PNM will face the polls again in a general election. THA will determine the nature of the Local Government Elections….if we actually have one. And the outcome of the LGE will certainly set the tone for the next general Elections.

The post, written the week before the elections, went on to detail the government's failures over the past three months. As it turned out, those very issues seem to have influenced how people voted. And in her blog post written after the results were out, The Eternal Pantomime was happy to point out how the Prime Minister “hang she own Jack at this lovely game of Elections All Fours that she just fogged up royally.” She began by giving some political context, then continued:

This coloumn isn’t about London’s fightback, but rather about Kamla’s defeat.

[The] THA [elections] should have been a referendum of Orville London’s performance as THA Chief Secretary in the last 12 years, instead, through the cleverness of London and the crass vulgarity of Kamla and her minions it became an assessment not of London’s performance in the THA but of Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s performance from May 2010 to last week.

She pointed out some fatal campaign errors of the Prime Minister and the TOP:

Kamla…boasted loudly on the stage at Mid-Centre of how they would win the THA Elections and send Rowley and London in a corner. That was misstep number 1. Yuh campaigning in Tobago and not Trinidad, how yuh go insult and attack two sons of the soil that lift Tobagonians nose so high?

At that same meeting Persad-Bissessar started her own subtle race talk with her ‘We know who the enemy is…get in yuh section’ talk as she referenced the THA campaign to come. While Trinis aint see nothing wrong with that kind of We vs Them talk…Tobagonians know it and understand it only too well and we don’t stick it! That was misstep number 2.

London on the other hand utilised transparency and accountability to their benefit. A full file was uploaded to the world wide web, as well as sent to the Integrity Commission. Answer that! Not a peep could be heard from government for weeks after the upload.

Then came the House That Pumpkin Built [There were questions as to the source of funds for Ashworth Jack's private residence; he claimed it was through sale of produce] and I had to grin each and every time Jack lied or avoided questions. Transparency and accountability was coming to haunt his ass now Then Jack’s failure to lodge documents with the Integrity Commission. And here was the next misstep. Jack was making Tobago and Tobagonians look corrupt. Jack…really…you from Tobago how long and you don’t know that corruption associated with Trickydadians, not Tobagonians?

The post then got down to the nitty-gritty:

And in all this all Tobagonians wanted was a revised Constitution that gave them their promised autonomy. No music trucks, no food cards, no wild promises. Just a sober Bill that delivered what they wanted.

But Kamla, unable to keep the smallest of promises instead went over with a half-assed Bill that she rushed to Parliament and continued the orgy of money spending…and Tobagonians looked.

In fact, they did one better and donned the yellow T-shirts, mounted the music trucks, accepted the handouts and then…voted PNM.

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