Tobago House of Assembly
since 9 December 2021
Farley Chavez Augustine,TPP
since 9 December 2021
Kelvon Morris, PNM
since 9 December 2021
|6 December 2021|
|Assembly Legislative Chambers, Jermingham Street, Scarborough, Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago|
|Trinidad and Tobagoportal|
The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) is a unicameral devolved legislative body responsible for the island of Tobago within the unitary state of Trinidad and Tobago. The THA was re-established in 1980to rectify some of the disparities in the relationship between the two islands; a prior body of the same name existed from 1768 to 1874. In addition to the normal local government functions, the THA handles many of the responsibilities of the central government, but has limited ability to collect taxes and to impose local law or zoning regulations. At the helm of the Assembly Legislature is the Presiding Officer with the fifteen elected assemblymen, and four appointed councillors. Three of the councillors are appointed on the advice on the Chief Secretary and one on the advice of the Minority Leader. The Chief Secretary is the leader of the majority party in the assembly and is at the helm of the Executive arm of the THA.
The current Chief Secretary of Tobago is Farley Chavez Augustine who is the second youngest Chief Secretary in history, in office since December 6, 2021. He was elected as a member of the PDP but left the party to first become an independent in 2022, then later setting up his own political party the Tobago People's Party.
The first THA elections were held on November 24, 1980. The Democratic Action Congress led by A.N.R. Robinson won eight seats and the People's National Movement (PNM) won four seats (a reversal of the 1977 County Council elections in which the PNM won seven seats and the DAC 4). The DAC went on to win the 1984 elections by a margin of 11–1 over the PNM. The National Alliance for Reconstruction (into which the DAC merged in 1986) continued to dominate the THA winning the 1988 elections, and the 1992 elections by an 11-1 margin over the PNM. It won the 1996 elections by a margin of 10–2, with the PNM and an independent candidate winning one seat each.
In the 2001 elections the PNM gained control of the THA, winning 8 seats to the NAR's four. The PNM consolidated their hold on the THA in the January 2005 elections winning 11 seats while the DAC (which reformed after splintering from the NAR in 2004) gained a single seat.
In the 2009 elections held on January 19, 2009, the PNM won 8 seats while a new party, the Tobago Organization of the People won 4 seats.
In the 2013 elections, the TOP was defeated in a landslide by the PNM, losing the 4 seats it held previously, giving the PNM complete control of the THA.However, Chief Secretary Orville London asked Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to introduce a bill in the country's parliament that would change the country's constitution to allow the President of the Republic to choose two independent councillors at his/her discretion to serve as opposition in the THA in the event of a 12-0 election result.
As of 2021, the THA employed about 60% of Tobago's working population.
In December 2022, 13 members of the PDP left the party to govern as independents in 2022, and in 2023 setting up the Tobago People's Party.
|Natisha Charles Pantin||TPP||Bagatelle/Bacolet|
|Terance Baynes||TPP||Bethel/New Grange|
|Kelvon Morris||PNM||Darrell Spring/Whim|
|Sonny Grieg||TPP||Buccoo/Mount Pleasant|
|Joel Sampson||TPP||Bon Accord/ Crown Point|
|Faith B. Yisrael||TPP||Belle Garden / Glamorgan|
|Nigel Taitt||TPP||Signal Hill/ Patience Hill|
|Farley Chavez Augustine||TPP||Parlatuvier/ L’Anse Fourmi/Speyside|
|Zorisha Hackett||TPP||Bethesda/ Les Coteaux|
|Ian Pollard||TPP||Mason Hall/Moriah|
|Trevor James||TPP||Scarborough/ Mt Grace|
|Megan Morrison||TPP||Mt St George/ Goodwood|
|Niall George||TPP||Plymouth/Black Rock|
|Session||Election||PNM||[[Progressive Democratic Patriots|PDP]]||Total seats|
|12th||Monday, 6 December 2021||1||14||15|
|11th||Monday, 25 January 2021||6||6||12|
|10th||Monday, 23 January 2017||10||2||12|
|9th||Monday, 21 January 2013||12||12|
|8th||Monday, 19 January 2009||8||4||12|
|7th||Monday, 17 January 2005||11||1||12|
|6th||Monday, 29 January 2001||8||4||12|
|5th||Monday, 9 December 1996||1||10||1||12|
|4th||Monday, 7 December 1992||1||11||12|
|3rd||Tuesday, 29 November 1988||1||11||12|
|2nd||Monday, 26 November 1984||1||11||12|
|1st||Monday, 24 November 1980||4||8||12|
|1st||1980|| A. N. R. Robinson |
|DAC wins control of the House of Assembly under A. N. R. Robinson, forming the first Tobagonian government.||4||8||12|
|2nd||1984|| A. N. R. Robinson |
|DAC forms another government under A. N. R. Robinson. |
The DAC merges with other political parties to form the NAR.
|NAR forms another government under Jefferson Davidson.||1||11||12|
|NAR forms another government under Lennox Denoon.||1||11||12|
|NAR forms another government under Hochoy Charles.||1||10||1||12|
|PNM forms its first government under Orville London.||8||4||12|
|PNM forms another government under Orville London.||11||1||12|
|PNM forms another government under Orville London.||8||4||12|
|PNM forms another government under Orville London.||12||0||12|
|PNM forms another government under Kelvin Charles.||10||2||12|
|11th||2021 (January)||Ancil Dennis|
|First deadlock in the history of the assembly. PNM forms a caretaker government under Ancil Dennis.||6||6||12|
|12th||2021 (December)||Farley Chavez Augustine|
|PDP forms its first government under Farley Chavez Augustine.||1||14||15|
The United National Congress is one of two major political parties in Trinidad and Tobago and the current parliamentary opposition. The UNC is a centre-left party. It was founded in 1989 by Basdeo Panday, a Trinidadian lawyer, economist, trade unionist, and actor after a split in the ruling National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR). After spending six years in opposition, the UNC won control of the government in 1995, initially in coalition with the NAR and later on its own. In the 2000 general election, the UNC won an absolute majority in the Parliament. In 2001, a split in the party caused the UNC to lose its parliamentary majority and control of the government. From 2001 to 2010, the UNC was once again Parliamentary Opposition party. In May 2010, the UNC returned to government as the majority party in the People's Partnership. The UNC's Political Leader, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, was sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago. Kamla Persad-Bissessar was Prime Minister from 2010 until 2015.
The People's National Movement (PNM) is the longest-serving and oldest active political party in Trinidad and Tobago. The party has dominated national and local politics for much of Trinidad and Tobago's history, contesting all elections since 1956 serving as the nation's governing party or on four occasions, the main opposition. As a result, it has sometimes been referred to as Trinidad and Tobago's "main political party". There have been four PNM Prime Ministers and multiple ministries. The party espouses the principles of liberalism and generally sits at the centre to centre-left of the political spectrum.
The National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) was the governing party in Trinidad and Tobago between 1986 and 1991. The party has been inactive since 2005.
The Organisation for National Reconstruction (ONR) was a political party in Trinidad and Tobago. The party received the second-highest number of votes in the 1981 general elections, but failed to win a seat. Prior to the 1986 elections it merged into the new National Alliance for Reconstruction.
The Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) is an autonomist political party in Tobago formed in 2008. Its current political leader is Ashworth Jack. The party was formed in 2008 from a split with the Democratic Action Congress.
Elections to the Tobago House of Assembly have taken place every 4–5 years since its establishment in 1980. There are twelve electoral districts, each electing one representative. The People's National Movement has been successful in all five elections between 2001 and 2017. Between 1980 and 1996, parties achieving a majority were the Democratic Action Congress and the National Alliance for Reconstruction.
A local election for 12 seats in the Tobago House of Assembly was held on 21 January 2013. The election was a clean sweep by the Tobago Council of the People's National Movement, winning all 12 seats in the Tobago House of Assembly, the only time this feat has ever been accomplished in elections in Trinidad and Tobago.
On Monday November 28, 2016, local elections were held in Trinidad, the bigger of the two main islands of Caribbean island state Trinidad and Tobago. The elections were held slightly more than one month later than originally planned. They were held to select the membership of 14 local authorities, with representatives elected from 137 single-member districts across the country. The entire membership of Trinidad's local government was renewed as a result of these elections, with the previous set of local representatives having been elected in 2013. The elections came roughly a year following the 2015 parliamentary general election.
House of Assembly elections were held in Tobago on 25 January 2021 where 12 members were elected in the eleventh election since the Assembly was established in 1980. 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 of 6-6, despite the PNM winning the popular vote, resulting in a deadlock and a constitutional crisis with both political parties and Prime Minister Keith Rowley seeking senior counsel advice on the way forward. This election was the first time after 20 years in power that the PNM lost its absolute majority. 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.
The history of Tobago covers a period from the earliest human settlements on the island of Tobago in the Archaic period, through its current status as a part of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Originally settled by indigenous people, the island was subject to Spanish slave raids in the sixteenth and early seventeenth century and colonisation attempts by the Dutch, British, French, and Courlanders beginning in 1628, though most colonies failed due to indigenous resistance. After 1763 Tobago was converted to a plantation economy by British settlers and enslaved Africans.
Tracy Petulia Davidson-Celestine is a Tobagonian politician who is the former Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, as well as a former Councillor in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) becoming one of the leading members addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Tobago. She is the first female political leader in the THA, a defeated Chief Secretary candidate, the first woman to lead a Tobagonian party with representation in the House of Representatives and Tobago House of Assembly and one of the first bilingual political leaders in Trinidad and Tobago, as a result she has been popularly referred to by the nickname Boss Lady.
The Tobago Council of the People's National Movement, also known as the Tobago Council of the PNM, PNM Tobago or PNM Tobago Council, is the longest-serving and oldest active political party in Tobago. The party is the autonomous branch of the Trinidad and Tobago People's National Movement operating in Tobago. While its political leader acts in the local capacity, they also serve as a deputy leader on a national level. The party's executives organize for both local and national election campaigns. There have been three PNM Chief Secretaries and administrations.
The 2020 Tobago Council of the People's National Movement election were held on January 19, 2020. For the first time, a one member, one vote voting system was adopted for all 17 positions contested. The winner, Tracy Davidson-Celestine, the first female political leader for the party, will go on to contest the Chief Secretary position of the Tobago House of Assembly in the 2021 Tobago House of Assembly election.
The Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) is a political party in Trinidad and Tobago. Founded in 2016, it became the second-largest party in Tobagonian politics following the decline of the Tobago Organisation of the People. The party planned to contest the Trinidadian local election and every seat in the next general election, officially launching as a national party on 1 May 2022. It later provided a plan for Tobagonian independence.
The 2022 People's National Movement internal election, the last one for the PNM before the subsequent general election, took place over three days: November 26 and 27 and December 4, 2022. The current party leader and Prime Minister Keith Rowley had indicated he would most likely not seek to lead the party into the next general election. Rowley made these comments in his victory speech on the night of the 2020 Trinidad and Tobago general election, where the PNM secured a second mandate under his leadership but with the slimmest majority for a government in two decades. However, he announced that he would seek another term as the party's leader in October of 2022. In the 2020 general election campaign, he indicated that he would have stood down had the PNM lost. The election followed the 2022 Tobago Council of the People's National Movement leadership election. Keith Rowley won re-election by an overwhelming majority with a low voter turnout with 9,111 out of 105,894 eligible party members voting.
Snap House of Assembly elections were held in Tobago on 6 December 2021 to elect all 15 members of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA). The election was called following a deadlock created by the January 2021 elections which resulted in a tie between the People's National Movement (PNM) and the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP), with both parties winning six seats. As a result, the number of seats in the legislature was increased from 12 to 15 to avoid ties.
Watson Duke is a Tobagonian politician and trade unionist. He is the current president of the Progressive Democratic Patriots, a political party in Trinidad and Tobago.
Faith Brebnor Yisrael is a Tobagonian public health official and politician who has served in the Tobago House of Assembly since 2017. Initially an appointed member of the body, she was elected in January 2021 as a member of the Progressive Democratic Patriots, though she left the party in December 2022 following disagreements with leader Watson Duke.
The Tobago People's Party (TPP) is a political party in Trinidad and Tobago. It was founded in August 2023 by the Chief Secretary of Tobago Farley Chavez Augustine and is currently the governing party in the Tobago House of Assembly. The party plans to contest the next general election.