The Treaty of Paris in 1763 ended Tobago’s status as a neutral territory and inaugurated a British plantation economy. The Board of Trade surveyed Tobago and the island was carved into 100–500 acre plots and peddled to planters. The upper heights of the Main Ridge were reserved as “Woods for the Protection of the Rains” and remain uncleared and uncultivated.

On 1st July 1768, General Melville established the THA by a declaration that vested Tobago with a constitution and a chamber of Councillors and a representative Assembly.  On the 11th July, the body met to enact legislation for the conduct of enslavement and plantation commerce. Melville’s efforts were swiftly disallowed. An amended constitution was provided in April 1769 by order of the King in council.

By 1884, A.M. Gillespie and Co., a London financier became insolvent, triggering a financial meltdown of Tobago’s plantation economy. Today, the relationship between London and Brussels is susceptible to a comparable catastrophe. To avert this prospect, Boris piloted an ‘Internal Market Bill’ through the commons that gives him authority to override parts of the Brexit Treaty using specific safeguards to protect Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, if negotiations on a future trade deal with the EU collapses. Sir Roger Gale fears that the bill breaches international law. But the duty of Boris is to the people; not to a merry monarch elsewhere or non-elected civil servants in Brussels.

In the throes of a financial crisis, the roadmap to the unification of Tobago and Trinidad started in the 1870s when Tobago was part of the Windward Island Confederation (WIC) that included Barbados. The Confederation buckled due to opposition by the people of Barbados resulting in the Confederation Riots of 1876. To this day, Barbados continues to burn every burden in its way. In 2020, out of the blue, Mia Mottley has made the ultimate statement of confidence in the wake of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the COVID-19 pandemic. She declared that Barbados shall leave its colonial past behind. In 2021, the Queen will be removed as head of state.

When the WIC collapsed, the requirement to rescue Tobago did not withdraw. In 1879, Governor Gore of Tobago proposed the annexation of Tobago to Trinidad. This was rejected due to the great expense of establishing a sea bridge between the islands. By 1886, the Secretary of State for the Colonies publicized the intent to annex Tobago to Trinidad and gave two choices: The colony of Tobago may be wholly and completely incorporated with the colony of Trinidad, or The colony of Tobago may be annexed to the Colony of Trinidad as a dependency, having a separate Treasury and subordinate Legislature, holding to Trinidad the same relation that the Turks and Caicos do to Jamaica. On the 19th January 1887, the Tobago Legislative Council agreed unanimously to the second option as well as negotiating that there be free trade and common external tariffs. The first step was taken with Her Majesty’s Order in Council of 17th November 1888 which stated that Trinidad and Tobago were to become a joint colony as of January 1st 1889.

This constitutional reform was resisted by the planters. They campaigned unsuccessfully for a reinstatement of their dominion. It was not until the passing of Act No. 37 of 1980 that some measure of self-determination was restored in a reconstituted THA. Another wave of advocacy quickly followed and the act was amended by Act No. 40 of 1996.

In Europe, the Basque have preserved their self-governance in the face of invasion and domination for centuries. Today, political activism is part of the Basque culture and while the Basque country is not without political divisions in itself, the theme that has arguably dominated Basque politics across history, is the domination by an external group and the struggle to keep their freedoms in the face of the ‘next threat.’

The 1837 liberal Constitution of Spain appears to overlook the Basque legal and institutional reality. The Minister of Grace and Justice, Lorenzo de Arrazola, insisted that the centralization of Spain in Madrid must be based on a ‘unity in all the big bonds’. This left only minor matters to Basque institutions. Similarly, Tobago was once administered as a Ward in the County of Saint David not unlike the Ward of Couva, one of the four wards, in the County of Caroni. A country’s level of economic development, openness to trade, the quality of governance related to regional disparities, and fiscal and political decentralization, are major factors that are directly impacted by spatial inequalities.

The demands in which authority is exercised by governments play a key role in shaping the spatial distribution of economic activity and in fostering and nurturing regional development across administrative regions in any country or union of states.  Spatial inequality is inexorably linked to economic unfairness across geographical or administrative units within a country. When spatial inequality increases so does national inequality. This leads invariably to a noticeable level of regional disparities that result in internal conflicts over the territorial distribution of resources which undermine economic, social and political stability.