2021 Tobago House of Assembly Election
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2021 Tobago House of Assembly Election

← 2017 25 January 2021

All 12 seats in the Tobago House of Assembly
7 seats needed for a majority
Turnout52%[1] (Increase 2 pp)
  First party Second party
  Tracy Davidson-Celestine
PDP
Leader [a]
Party PNM PDP
Leader since 27 January 2020 24 November 2019[b]
Leader's seat Ran in Lambeau/Signal Hill (won)[2] Parlatuvier/ L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside
Last election 10 seats, 54.68% 2 seats, 30.96%
Seats won
Popular vote
50.4%
48.5%
Swing Decrease 4.32 pp Increase 17.5 pp

Tobago House of Assembly Electoral Districts Map.png
Current map of the 12 electoral districts of Tobago, used to elect members to the House of Assembly

Chief Secretary before election

Ancil Dennis
PNM

After elections

Ancil Dennis (caretaker government)
PNM

The 2021 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election was held on 25 January 2021 where 12 members were elected in the eleventh election since the Assembly was established in 1980,[3] this election marked the first time in history that both parties elected, the People's National Movement (PNM) and Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) won an equal number seats, despite the PNM winning the popular vote, resulting in a constitutional crisis with both political parties and Prime Minister Keith Rowley seeking Senior counsel advice on the way forward,[4][5] this election was the first time after 20 years in power that the PNM lost its absolute majority.[6][7][8] This election also marked the first time a female political leader was elected to the Assembly and the first time a woman led a major political party or a political party with representation in the Assembly, following the 2020 Tobago Council of the People's National Movement leadership election where Health Secretary, councillor and former Trinidad and Tobago Ambassador to Costa Rica and former Deputy Chief Secretary of Tobago Tracy Davidson-Celestine made history by being elected as the PNM's first female political leader at the regional or national level and one of the first bilingual political leaders in the country's history. If Davidson-Celestine and the PNM were to be elected with a majority to their sixth consecutive term in office, she would have made history, becoming the first female Chief Secretary of Tobago. The election was held alongside local by-elections in Trinidad in which the PNM and UNC retained two districts and the PNM losing one to the UNC.[9][10][11][12]

Background

2017 Tobago House of Assembly election

The governing Tobago Council of the People's National Movement led by Kelvin Charles were able to retain a strong majority in the Assembly, though not as impressive as their total sweep of all 12 seats in the previous election.[13] Charles became Chief Secretary following the retirement of his predecessor Orville London.[14]

Leadership change

In 2020 Kelvin Charles lost re-election as Leader of the Tobago Council of the People's National Movement and was replaced by Tracy Davidson-Celestine. Days before a vote of no-confidence in Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles petitioned by eight of the 12 members of the THA to Presiding Officer Vanessa Cutting-Thomas, Charles resigned as Chief Secretary and was replaced by elected assembly member Ancil Dennis with Davidson-Celestine, who is not an elected member of the assembly, being appointed as a councilor in the THA and Health Secretary.[15][16]

2020 Trinidad and Tobago general election

At the 2020 general election, there was no net change in the number of seats for each party, the PNM decreased their vote share to 61% but was able to retain both seats. The PDP managed 39% of the vote.[17]

Electoral system

All twelve members are elected via first-past-the-post.[18]

Voters

All Tobagonians and Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or over, legally resident in Tobago and who have resided in an electoral district for at least two months prior to the election date are entitled to vote in the elections.[19]

Parties

Political parties registered with the Elections And Boundaries Commission can contest the House of Assembly election as a party. The following registered parties are contesting the House of Assembly election:

Party Founded Ideology Lead candidate Lead candidate's seat Leader(s) Leader since Leader's seat Last election Seats at dissolution Seats contesting Notes
% party vote Seats
PNM 1955 Centre to centre-left, Liberalism, Social liberalism, Moderate nationalism Tracy Davidson-Celestine Ran in Lambeau/Signal Hill (won)[20] Tracy Davidson-Celestine January 25 2020 Ran in Lambeau/Signal Hill (won)[20]
54.68%
12 seats
PDP 2016 Tobago regionalism[21] Farley Chavez Augustine Parlatuvier/ L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside Watson Duke July 2016 Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford
30.96%
12 seats
UTP 2020 Tobago regionalism Nickocy Phillips Buccoo/Mount Pleasant Nickocy Phillips[22] July 2020 Ran in Buccoo/Mount Pleasant (lost) not founded -- -- 1 seat
CARM 2010[23] Tobago regionalism Ricardo Phillip Buccoo/Mount Pleasant Ricardo Phillip January 2010 Ran in Buccoo/Mount Pleasant (lost) -- -- -- 1 seat --

Lead candidates

On 24 November 2019, incumbent Minority Leader in the Tobago House of Assembly and Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) political leader and Public Services Association President Watson Duke publicly endorsed incumbent assembly member for Parlatuvier/ L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside and PDP deputy political leader, Farley Chavez Augustine, as the party's lead candidate for the election. Following the 2020 Tobago Council of the People's National Movement leadership election held on January 19, 2020, Tracy Davidson-Celestine was elected as the party's first female political leader and thus the lead candidate for the PNM.

Campaign

Both the PNM and PDP announced candidates in all 12 districts. Former Presiding Officer of the Tobago House of Assembly and defeated candidate in the 2020 Tobago Council of the PNM leadership election, Denise Tsoiafatt Angus, who endorsed Davidson Celestine in the second round of the 2020 Tobago Council of the People's National Movement leadership election, filed to run in as an independent candidate in the electoral district of Scarborough/ Calder Hall on January 4, after not being chosen to represent the party for the seat of Scarborough/ Calder Hall, despite being the choice of three out of five PNM party groups.[24] Other candidates include defeated 2020 general election candidates for the constituency of Tobago West and political leaders of the UTP and CARM respectively Ricardo Phillip and Nickocy Phillips and veteran journalist Anthony Hector.[25][26]

Autonomy, corruption, specifically with respect to an incomplete Main Ridge Forest zip line project and the leadership role of controversial PDP political leader and Public Services Association President Watson Duke and his treatment towards women were persistently covered in the media in the lead up to the election. PDP deputy political leader Farley Chavez Augustine said that a 2016 Auditor General management letter on the Main Ridge Forest zipline project revealed that only rope was discovered when the department searched for the $2.5 million material and equipment spent by the Assembly, on the zipline while Davidson Celestine was Tourism and Transport Secretary. The PNM-led Assembly and Prime Minister Keith Rowley has denied any truth to the corruption allegations, stating that although the PNM is not perfect, the party is not corrupt. The PNM has made allegations that the PDP intends to separate Tobago from Trinidad and has been accused of bringing racism into the campaign by alleging that the PDP is a proxy for the United National Congress (UNC), linking both the UNC and PDP to Trumpism and calling PDP political leader Watson Duke, Tobago's Trump.[27][28] Duke, who was charged with rape in 2016 and sedition in 2020,[29] has made headlines on the campaign for his past comments/actions with respect to women.[30]

Marginal seats

The following lists identify and rank seats by the margin by which the party's candidate finished behind the winning candidate in the 2017 election.

For information purposes only, seats that have changed hands through subsequent byelections have been noted. Seats whose members have changed party allegiance are ignored.

  = appears in two lists

Assemblymembers not standing for re-election

Retiring incumbent Electoral District Term in office Date announced
Jomo Pitt Tobago Council of the People's National Movement Lambeau/Signal Hill 2013-2021 26 June 2020[31][32][33][34]

Candidates by district

  • Names in boldface type represent party leaders.
  • + represents that the incumbent did not run again.
  • ? = Ran for re-election in different district
  • § represents that the incumbent was defeated for nomination.
  • ? represents that the incumbent ran in another district and lost the nomination
  • ? represents that the incumbent ran in a different district.
Electoral District[35][36] Candidates[37][36] Incumbent
Tobago Council of the People's National Movement Progressive Democratic Patriots Other
Bacolet/Mount. St. George   Joel Jack

1,169

Megan Morrison

780

  Joel Jack
Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford Neil Beckles

1014

  Watson Duke

1,417

  Watson Duke
Bethel/Mt. Irvine Shomari Hector

1,028

  Terance Baynes

1,045

  Shomari Hector
Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden   Kelvon Morris

1,328

Abby Taylor

820

Anthony Hector (Ind.)

12

  + Kelvin Charles
Buccoo/Mount Pleasant   Ancil Dennis

1,209

Jamie Baird

744

Ricardo Phillip (UTP)

9

Nickocy Phillips (CARM)

9

  Ancil Dennis
Canaan/Bon Accord   Clarence Jacob

1,041

Joel Sampson

984

  Clarence Jacob
Goodwood/Belle Garden West Boxil Bailey

1,146

  Faith Yisrael

1,405

  § Hayden Spencer
Lambeau/Signal Hill   Tracy Davidson-Celestine

1,256

Wayne Clarke

1,040

  + Jomo Pitt
Parlatuvier/ L'Anse Fourmi/Speyside Rory Dillon

1,047

  Farley Chavez Augustine

1,367

  Farley Chavez Augustine
Plymouth/Golden Lane Melissa James Guy

1,010

  Zorisha Hackette

1,212

  § Marisha Osmond
Providence/ Mason Hall/Moriah Kwesi Des Vignes

1,101

  Ian Pollard

1,185

  § Sheldon Cunningham
Scarborough/ Calder Hall   Marslyn Melville-Jack

939

Trevor James

799

Denise Tsoiafatt Angus (Ind.)

269

  Marslyn Melville-Jack

Campaign slogans, songs and manifestos

Party Slogan Song Manifesto
PNM "Building Tobago Together"[38][39]
  • Yolanda Job - Building Tobago Together[40]
PNM Tobago Council THA Manifesto 2021-2025[41]
PDP "Let's Transform Tobago"[42]
  • WE BLACK and WE PROUD [43]

Opinion polls

Graphical summary

The North American Caribbean Teachers Association (NACTA) commissioned an opinion poll for the election sampling the electorate's opinion.

Seat projection

Date Pollster Sample
size
PNM PDP Other Legislative majority
25 January 2021 2021 election - 6 6 0
23 January 2021 Trinidad and Tobago Guardian/NACTA poll[44] - 11 1 0 10
8 January 2021 Trinidad and Tobago Guardian/NACTA poll[45] - 9 (+2) 1 (+2) 0 6 (+4)
23 January 2017 2017 election - 10 2 0 8

Individual poll

Date[nb 1] Pollster Sample size PNM PDP Other Lead
25 January 2021 2021 election - 50.4 48.5 1.1 1.9
23 January 2021 Trinidad and Tobago Guardian/NACTA poll[46] - 52 44 - 8
23 January 2017 2017 election - 54.7 31.0 14.06 23.7

Approval ratings

The tables below list the public approval ratings of the leaders and leading candidates of the main political parties in Tobago.

Tracy Davidson-Celestine

Polling firm/Commissioner Fieldwork date Sample size Tracy Davidson-Celestine
(PNM)
checkY ?N Question? Net
Trinidad and Tobago Guardian/NACTA poll[44] 23 January 2021 - 52 27 21 +25

Farley Chavez Augustine

Polling firm/Commissioner Fieldwork date Sample size Farley Chavez Augustine
(PDP)
checkY ?N Question? Net
Trinidad and Tobago Guardian/NACTA poll[44] 23 January 2021 - 43 39 18 +4

Watson Duke

Polling firm/Commissioner Fieldwork date Sample size Watson Duke
(PDP)
checkY ?N Question? Net
Trinidad and Tobago Guardian/NACTA poll[44] 23 January 2021 - ? ? ? +2

Results

Trinidad and Tobago Tobago House of Assembly 2021.svg
PartyVotes%Seats+/-
Tobago Council of the People's National Movement13,28850.366-4
Progressive Democratic Patriots12,79848.506+4
Unity of the People90.030New
Class Action Reform Movement90.030New
Independents2811.060New
Total26,385100.00120
Valid votes26,38599.68
Invalid/blank votes850.32
Total votes26,470100.00
Registered voters/turnout51,06251.84
Source: EBCTT

By electoral district

Consequences

Trinidad and Tobago's parliament voted on 20 February in favour of a law increasing the number of seats in the Tobago's regional assembly to an uneven 15, which is expected to be followed by early election once new constituencies are drawn,[48] in order to avoid potential seat ties in the future. On September 15th, the Trinidad and Tobago House of Representatives passed the EBC (Local Government and Tobago House of Assembly) (Tobago) Order by a margin of 21-18, after which it must pass the Senate before being signed into law by the President. The bill added three new seats - Lambeau/Lowlands, Darryl Spring/Whim, and Mt St George/Goodwood. All but two of the original districts would also be modified slightly under the bill.[49][50]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ These are the survey dates of the poll, or if the survey dates are not stated, the date the poll was released.

References

  1. ^ Augustine was publicly endorsed as the PDP's Chief Secretary candidate on 24 November 2019, but Watson Duke is party leader.
  2. ^ Augustine was publicly endorsed as the PDP's Chief Secretary candidate on 24 November 2019, but Watson Duke is party leader.

External links

References

  1. ^ Room, News (26 January 2021). "Four recounts in Tobago, one in T'dad following THA polls and bye-elections". 103FM: First, Finest, Forever. Archived from the original on 26 January 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ "Tracy eyes Lambeau/Signal Hill for THA elections". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ 'My team will lead TT into the future' Archived 2019-02-03 at the Wayback Machine Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, 27 September 2018
  4. ^ "What's Next For The THA". Caribbean Communications Network. Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved .
  5. ^ beta. "Fresh elections the only way forward in THA impasse". Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "PDP ropes in PNM: THA 6-6 tie leaves uncertainty". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 2021-01-26. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "A house divided--THA in crisis". www.guardian.co.tt. Archived from the original on 2021-01-27. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "'Tobago over a precipice'". Trinidad Express Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2021-01-27. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "PNM loses local government by-election race 3-2 to UNC". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 2021-01-26. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Candidates file nomination papers for THA election, bye-elections". www.looptt.com. Archived from the original on 2021-01-04. Retrieved .
  11. ^ beta. ""Smooth sailing" as candidates file nomination papers". Archived from the original on 2021-01-20. Retrieved .
  12. ^ beta. "Rowley, Kamla launch campaigns today as 2021 election fever begins". Archived from the original on 2021-01-16. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Publications and Reports | Elections And Boundaries Commission". Archived from the original on 2020-05-02. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Sant, Rose-marie. "New THA Chief Secretary takes oath today". www.guardian.co.tt. Archived from the original on 2021-01-12. Retrieved .
  15. ^ "Tobago PNM in turmoil". Trinidad Express Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2021-01-10. Retrieved .
  16. ^ "THA elects new Chief Secretary". www.looptt.com. Archived from the original on 2021-01-10. Retrieved .
  17. ^ "The Preliminary Results of the 2020 Parliamentary Elections | Elections And Boundaries Commission". Archived from the original on 2020-09-05. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "New districts, boundaries approved ahead of Local Gov't elections". www.looptt.com. Archived from the original on 2021-01-08. Retrieved .
  19. ^ "Who is eligible to vote?". ttconnect.gov.tt. Archived from the original on 2019-02-03. Retrieved .
  20. ^ a b "Tracy eyes Lambeau/Signal Hill for THA elections". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 23 September 2020. Archived from the original on 2 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ Thompson-Forbes, Casan-dra. "PDP wants economic independence for Tobago". www.guardian.co.tt. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved .
  22. ^ "Youth activist ready for Parliament". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 2020-07-13. Archived from the original on 17 August 2020. Retrieved .
  23. ^ Clarke, Camille. "New party to be launched tomorrow". www.guardian.co.tt. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved .
  24. ^ "Tsoiafatt-Angus leaves PNM for THA election: I'm called to serve". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 2021-01-04. Archived from the original on 2021-01-04. Retrieved .
  25. ^ "Defeated Tobago candidates to contest THA election". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 2020-08-18. Archived from the original on 2021-01-10. Retrieved .
  26. ^ "Veteran journalist to contest THA election". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 2020-09-04. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved .
  27. ^ "Morris to PDP: Where is your manifesto?". Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. 2021-01-19. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved .
  28. ^ "Rowley instructs Tracy to continue zipline project". www.guardian.co.tt. Archived from the original on 2021-01-22. Retrieved .
  29. ^ "Duke to contest general election in Trinidad". Trinidad Express Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2019-09-16. Retrieved .
  30. ^ Watson Duke Must Go!!! - KICK OUT Watson Duke | Facebook, archived from the original on 2021-05-26, retrieved
  31. ^ "THA secretary Jomo Pitt calls it a day". Archived from the original on 2020-07-06. Retrieved .
  32. ^ "THA Sports Secretary to bow out of active politics". Archived from the original on 2020-07-05. Retrieved .
  33. ^ "JOMO IS OUT". Archived from the original on 2020-07-05. Retrieved .
  34. ^ "THA sport secretary not seeking re-election". Archived from the original on 2020-07-06. Retrieved .
  35. ^ "Liz Williams". www.facebook.com. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved .
  36. ^ a b "PNM loses ground but holds on to popular vote". www.looptt.com. Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved .
  37. ^ "Liz Williams". www.facebook.com. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved .
  38. ^ Launch of campaign and presentation of candidates, archived from the original on 2021-05-26, retrieved
  39. ^ ""Building Tobago Together" - PNM To Start THA Election Campaign On January 4th - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved .
  40. ^ "Log into Facebook". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved . Cite uses generic title (help)
  41. ^ "PNM wins comfortable victory in Trinidad and Tobago". Emerald Expert Briefings. 2015-09-08. doi:10.1108/oxan-es203227. ISSN 2633-304X. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved .
  42. ^ PDP PRIME TIME EPISODE 5, archived from the original on 2021-05-26, retrieved
  43. ^ "Log In or Sign Up to View". www.facebook.com. Archived from the original on 2021-05-26. Retrieved .
  44. ^ a b c d beta. "NACTA: PNM TAKES THE LEAD IN THA ELECTIONS". Archived from the original on 2021-02-20. Retrieved .
  45. ^ beta. "Nacta poll puts PNM ahead in Tobago". Archived from the original on 2021-01-28. Retrieved .
  46. ^ beta. "NACTA: PNM TAKES THE LEAD IN THA ELECTIONS". Archived from the original on 2021-02-20. Retrieved .
  47. ^ "UPDATE: All Recounts have ended with the outcomes unchanged | Elections And Boundaries Commission". Archived from the original on 2021-01-31. Retrieved .
  48. ^ "EBC: No increase to 15 seats until THA bill becomes law". Archived from the original on 2021-02-21. Retrieved .
  49. ^ Polo, Dareece (September 16, 2021). "Nobody lives there: Shamfa, Saddam at odds over 'Main Ridge' seat talk". Loop News. Retrieved 2021.
  50. ^ "PNM Tobago looking forward to TBA poll". Trinidad & Tobago Guardian. Guardian Media. September 16, 2021. Retrieved 2021.

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