I urge all Tobagonians eligible to vote in the December 6 elections to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to step out and exercise their right to vote.
The right to vote by universal adult suffrage was not always available to our people until its introduction in Trinidad and Tobago in the legislative elections of July 1, 1946 and following the county council elections of October 28. held the same year.
Universal adult suffrage in Trinidad and Tobago is deeply rooted in a struggle marked by social unrest that began in the oil and sugar belts, which led to the Butler riots of 1937 and the subsequent appointment of the Moyne Commission of 1938 to investigate such an event since the unrest was not limited to Trinidad and Tobago, but also to other British West Indian territories – all demonstrating and demonstrating for better working and living conditions, and a greater voice in the decision-making process that governed these settlements.
The Moyne Commission was therefore also charged with the responsibility of making recommendations based on its findings on the social, economic and political conditions in the various colonies.
However, while universal adult suffrage was first introduced in Trinidad and Tobago in the Legislative Council and County Council elections of 1946, respectively, it was granted by the British Parliament in about seven years after the full publication of the Moyne Commission report with its conclusions and recommendations. who viewed favorably a petition for a representative assembly and a growing demand for universal adult suffrage as a prerequisite for internal autonomy.
He therefore advocated social and political reforms and his findings helped accelerate the democratization of the political process in the colonies.
Moreover, between 1925 and 1946, only men over 21 and women over 30 could vote, with the requirement of property, income and social status as a prerequisite.
As a result, the 1945 grant made it possible for every man and woman aged 21 and over to exercise their right to vote without restrictions, regardless of wealth, property, income, sex, social status or race; and while the Republican T&T Constitution of 1976 extended the right to vote to persons 18 years of age, it is mandatory that anyone 18 years of age and over be placed on the Election and Boundaries Commission list of registered voters in order to to participate in the democratic electoral process.
Therefore, our right to vote should not be arbitrarily rejected, because it is a great civic responsibility, a very precious commodity that we must cherish dearly. It is not something that we can barter or sell to the highest bidder.
Our vote is the civil instrument by which we choose the best representatives to manage and guide the affairs of our community and, by extension, of our country. Our vote has the power to protect us from unreliable representation. If we don’t go out and vote, then should we have the right to complain?
On December 6, election day for the THA, Tobagonians must make a major national decision in the interests of Tobago in particular; which political party will govern the THA for the next four years? This decision requires the contribution of every voter in Tobago, as it is perhaps the most crucial election in the history of the THA.
The Tobago electorate can choose a party with the experience and proven track record to strategically lead the Assembly over the next four years as it continues to fight the Covid-19 pandemic or, failing that, elect a another party to rule the THA as we go along. in the future as a unitary state of Trinidad and Tobago.
The power to vote is in the index. Please, Tobago, may your vote count and not be wasted on December 6, election day for the THA.