With the incumbent People’s National Movement [PNM] and Progressive Patriotic Democrats [PDP] deadlocked at 6 constituencies each after Monday’s Tobago House of Assembly elections the electorate remain as bystanders watching the politicians decide the country’s direction. Tobago Writers Guild member Victor Laptiste in this poem shares his observations of the elections landscape.
TOBAGO ELECTION FEVER
2021 is the year, the battle draws near,
The THA contest is certainly here.
Almost four years have gone since we went to the polls
It’s now serious business for whom the bell tolls.
So gird up your loins, put your back to the wall,
The ‘New ‘Bago’ vision beckons to all.
The tempo is rising; the screening is done,
New faces aplenty, twelve seats to be won.
Twenty- eight persons have decided to run,
From C’ville to Crown Point, they getting it done.
Manifestos are drawn up; campaigning is hot.
The race for the swiftest? ; It’s certainly not.
Some folks may remember in years long ago,
County Council Elections in sweet Tobago.
A heckler in Scarborough, he wanted to know,
“Doctor Norton, show me tonight your manifesto.”
His spicy response made the headlines, just so,
‘It’s somewhere between my head and my toe.’
Election machinery is now in full gear
Some folks grow in confidence; others in fear.
Campaign financing, logistics, all clear,
Electile dysfunction is now everywhere,
So put on your jerseys, hold on to yuh flag,
Jump on to the big truck and wave up yuh rag.
The issues are many in East and in West,
Those facing the polls would be put to the test.
Secession, liberation, generation of wealth,
Infrastructure, Agriculture, Innovation and Health.
Some say ‘twas Tobago Regional Hell
The Secretary said: “Madam Chair, All is well”.
The neophytes and sycophants will soon come to light
And old foes unite to join in the fight.
Woman power looms large in the battle this year,
It’s Tracy and Denise and Faith; they’re all here.
Tobagonians are anxious and can hardly wait,
The mother of all battles will determine their fate.
Music boxes and banners upon big truck tray,
No time to idle: sun, rain, night or day.
Loudspeakers are blaring; the volume is up
It’s now time to rumble; all systems erupt.
Cold drinks are flowing; the party is nice;
Curry goat, pork and chicken, provision and rice.
Some folks say, they are doing it right
Others want to engage in a heavyweight fight.
Watson Duke says that he’s the real champ
He’ll take on all- comers in the PNM Camp.
Two seats not enough for the PDP.
He’ll float like a butterfly and sting like ah bee.
The bandwagon rolls from the East to the West
The candidates, all would be put to the test.
The picong is sharp and the rhetoric persists,
The journalists write, while the pollsters predict.
Many will fall by the wayside, you see
They’ll lose their deposits to the EBC.
Some say ‘twill be six/six and others eight/ four,
But Denise is counting on changing that score.
Our good Lord looks down by the day and the night,
On the red and the yellow, the black and the white.
And even though some say they doing it right,
He’ll see if they’re still precious in His awesome sight.
The tide has turned from Kelvin to Tracy
But, could it be from Fargo to Farley?
No need this time for Cambridge Analytica,
Or fancy polls from Gallup or NACTA.
We need to determine the leadership that’s best,
And not be persuaded by who has more zest.
The votes would be counted to settle the score,
Some will fall by the wayside and return no more,
But ride into the sunset with fond memory
Of a most phenomenal contest in this century,
The call is for visionary women and men,
Whom we trust, and on whom we can depend.
Dedication, Integrity are the qualities we need,
As we salute our sons and daughters who desire to lead.