Analyst: Duke’s invite to Augustine to ‘come home’ unappealing

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

PDP political leader Watson Duke, left, and former deputy Farley Augustine at the Hyatt in Port of Spain last May. File photo/Jeff K Mayers –

POLITICAL analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath does not believe THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine will accept Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader Watson Duke’s invitation for him to return to the party.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, Duke urged Augustine and the entire THA executive to rejoin the party in the interest of Tobagonians.

They had resigned from the PDP on December 4, 2022 and declared themselves independents in the THA.

After winning the December 6, 2021 THA elections 14-1 against the People’s National Movement, Duke remains the solitary PDP member in the assembly.

A public feud between Duke and Augustine last September resulted in a shake-up within the PDP and the assembly.

Duke stripped Augustine and two other PDP deputies of their positions and later resigned as Deputy Chief Secretary.

The political turmoil has seen PDP’s influence within the THA diminish considerably.

Duke, in the interview, said he was certain that Augustine’s team would not win a seat in the next THA election if he decides to form his own party.

“He (Augustine) would have destroyed the lives of all of those persons who have joined with him,” he said.

Duke, offering an olive branch, said Augustine does not have to take that route.

“The door is open. In my father’s house are many mansions. If it was not so, I would have told you and I have prepared a place for you. Let him come….”

Saying he has called repeatedly for peace, Duke said the issues confronting Tobagonians were about governance and not personalities.

“I have repeated the message to him (Augustine) on sundry occasions and I will continue to do so today, tomorrow and next week and next year because I believe in peace…war is always expensive.”

But speaking with Newsday on Wednesday, Ragoonath said Duke has apparently realised that even though he may be the owner of the PDP, he cannot control the party.

He alluded to the resignation of treasurer Marlon Radgman on Monday to highlight his point. Several other party executive members also resigned within the past few weeks.

“So basically what you are being left with is a shell of a party with a political leader, a chairman and a few others who do not have any real political sway on their own and they do not have the luxury of being in political office.

“In that context, his reaching out to Farley and the others is simply a way of trying to consolidate the PDP as a party that could take on various other challenges as it moves forward.”

Ragoonath said Augustine and the others may now feel that they have the upper hand, which would determine the grounds upon which they, if at all, return home.

“They may decide to start a new party and try to entice those who remain in the frame of the PDP to join with them. And to that extent, or if not, even to start a new entity and in a way, say that they are willing to have a coalition with Mr Duke at some point in time. But I don’t think that they are going to fall for that offer to come back home to the PDP.”

Efforts to contact Augustine for a response on Wednesday proved futile.