Both the leader of the PNM Tobago Council, Orville London, and the leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), Ashworth Jack, made the call as voting got underway yesterday morning.
“I am hoping that after the election we will ensure that we do something to heal the polarisation,” London told reporters as he cast his vote at the Signal Hill Secondary School, Tobago.
“There was some polarisation and vilification and some things were done that should not have been said and done. That is the nature of the kind of adversarial politics we have, but I am hoping that at the end of the exercise we will be able to treat with the development of Tobago. Regardless of the results, we will continue to work as Tobagonians and not as party members.”
Jack, too, issued a similar call.
“There must be room for healing immediately after this election,” he said after casting his vote at the Mt Grace Community Centre, Mt Grace, Tobago. “We have become much too polarised for the last two weeks. I am really sad at how polarised we have become in Tobago.”
He continued, “And I make this solemn declaration: when I am elected Chief Secretary, the healing will start immediately. We cannot have an island of 45,000 or 55,000 being so polarised. How do you move forward? How do you get productivity? It is something we need to deal with. This is sad to me: the level of personality attacks.”
In relation to reports that some persons were injured amid political events on Sunday, Jack said, “I want to say that it is extremely regrettable that people descend into some of these things. I am going to see one of the young men who was chopped later today. I was called by the police and told that someone had a flag up on their car when they have not had a flag up for some days. There is some kind of desperation.”
At the time Jack was speaking, it was unclear whether political motives had been established behind any of the reported incidents.
However, Jack said, “I want to appeal to all supporters that this is not a time for us to get involved in personalities and violence. An election is an alternative for violence.”
Of his mood on election day, Jack said, “When I got up I felt like I always do, that there is a God and that everything that happens for the rest of the day will be directed by God and at the end of the day, everything that happens will be directed by God.”
Though on Friday at a PNM walkabout/rally he had said he was convinced the PNM would prevail over the TOP, London for the first time admitted the race could be close in some polling divisions.
“There will be a number of seats that will be quite close,” he said. “I don’t know if there is any seat that is out of reach of the PNM.”
Earlier, when he escorted an elderly woman to another polling station at Mason Hall, Jack also spoke with reporters and was upbeat about his campaign.
“I think that in the last couple of months we have done all that we should have done,” Jack said. “At the end of the day, God always has his way.”
The Platform for Truth (TPT) political leader Hochoy Charles also cast his vote yesterday morning at Golden Lane Community Centre, Golden Lane, Tobago.
He said the key issue of the election is the domination of Trinidad over Tobago. He said if the TOP won the election this issue would not be resolved.