President of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke says he will not contest next year’s PSA elections.
Instead, he plans to focus on his career as a politician which he began in 2016 having formed the Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP).
His party won two of the 12 contested seats and he became the Tobago House of Assembly’s Minority Council Leader on January 23, 2017. Duke revealed his future plans during a live Facebook broadcast on Sunday.
“(I am not) overly interested in being the president of the trade union movement for a very long time...I have no interest in re-election in the PSA. I am looking to leave...I can go no further as president of the PSA,” he said.
However, he is not quite ready to leave the position he held since 2009 and will “hold it (the union) together until the next president emerges.”
Duke, who is also president of the National Trade Union Centre, said he will not return to his substantive position as an assistant manager at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) either.
Noting that he “embodied the struggle of the working class,” he announced his intention to continue his “struggle...for the working class” at the seat of the Government.
This country’s general and THA elections are constitutionally due in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
“I am going after the two seats in Tobago—Tobago East and Tobago West. It requires me to have a change of disposition, so I must be broader in my scope,” Duke said.
Duke said he is optimistic he will win both Tobago seats to become Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.
“We are not giving away our seats to the PNM (People’s National Movement) or the UNC (United National Congress),” Duke said.
In an interview with Guardian Media subsequent to his social media post, Duke said winning the two seats will give his party leverage to negotiate with the political party that wins the election in Trinidad.”
“I am not allergic to becoming Prime Minister,” Duke told Guardian Media.
The National Trade Union Centre president said he was also planning a major demonstration on Friday which seeks to cripple public offices, the port and other areas.
Duke said he had the commitment from the leaders of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers’ Union and the National Union of Government and Federated Workers to join the protest action.
Reporter: Camille McEachnie