|Ashworth Jack, Political Leader of the|
Tobago Organisation of the People
Last Saturday morning party activists, TOP candidates, and Political Leader Ashworth Jack came to "preach the gospel of redemption to Tobago," at Market Square, Scarborough.
The early morning event targeted shoppers, vendors, and those passing by whether on foot or in car.
Samuel Fredericks opened the morning and described the current situation in Tobago under the PNM as a "challenge," adding that this is an "administration that does not care." Fredericks also discussed the issue of the Minority Leader's house and his efforts which including farming to finance the construction of his house. The attacks against Mr. Jack, according to Fredericks is "attacking every farmer in Tobago," because of some apparent PNM belief that the proceeds from farming is not enough to build a house. Fredericks discussed this kind of thinking and compared it to the agricultural policy under the PNM and the belief that Tobagonians farmers "can build nothing but shacks."
The party activist in his closing ripped into everything everyone has probably heard about the PNM and the 'greatness' of the organisation - "Great is the PNM and it shall prevail." If nothing else was said for the morning about the supposed inclusiveness of the TOP, it was when Fredericks closed and said, "Great is Tobago and Tobagonians will prevail."
Anthony Arnold, the TOP candidates running against Orville London encouraged those in the process of signing deeds in Mason Hall from THA's lands not to sign the leases. According to Arnold they are "signing away their rights to the THA" and in signing, the THA will be able to "seize lands without any compensation." Arnold then focused on developmental issues such as running water 24 hours a day in Scarborough, self-determination for Tobago and the Milshirv deal.
When Chester Robinson Alleyne took the platform he described "a paradigm shift coming" to Tobago whereby the island must move from "surviving to thriving." Alleyne spoke about individuals who are not able to get job letters because they are "only acting." "This is not Hollywood," Alleyne said. TOP Alleyne said well "triple the order" and while Alleyne spoke about shoes in a narrative story form, perhaps the "triple the order" is a metaphor for moving from 4 seats to a 12 seat TOP controlled assembly. Before ending, Alleyne spoke about the lack of milk in children's diet stating that many first formers are only "4ft tall" due to the lack of calcium.
Anslem Richards reminded the crowd of the PNM's stance on internal self-government and accused the PNM of stealing the elections with "lies and half-truths." In his own investigations which he plans on doing for all current Assemblymen using data collected from the Salary Review Commission, Richards spoke only about the numbers he has calculated for his opponent Hilton Sandy. Richards wants them to "account for the wealth they have accumulated in the past 12 years."
According to Richards, "the philosophy of the PNM is to suppress Tobago" while threatening democracy. The TOP, Richards promised "will defend you with the truth."
In his efforts to unseat Claudia Groome-Duke, Theodil McPherson who has been walking the hills of the Black Rock, Whim and Spring Garden constituencies, describes the current area representative as "tired." Transformation of the Courland Estate will be a priority for the TOP in efforts to create sustainable jobs and to "properly empower" people McPherson noted.
Political Leader Ashworth Jack described the reckonings of Chief Secretary Orville London and the PNM as an organisation that is "about to die," – hence their "resort to attacks."
"The money I am using to build my house is mine," Jack said, adding that this is the major difference between himself and those of the PNM who built houses during their tenure while in control of the Assembly purse strings. Jack blasted Opposition Leader Keith Rowley amounting him to a "Lord and Master" in Port of Spain while recently upgrading the status of the Tobago Council of the PNM from "field slave to house slave," in their party convention a few weeks ago.
Jack discussed plans for an integrated university campus in the Louis D'or area, which will bring greater economic vitality and jobs to Tobago East because "it is not a forgotten place." Jack claimed that 15 new buildings could have dotted the Scarborough landscape in the price the current administration paid for the Financial Complex, the library and the Cultural Complex at Shaw Park.
"Where is the new market," Jack asked in an effort to bring the planned meeting closer to home. Adding for the need of a cold storage facility and chillers to support the vendors because of produce going to waste. Among some of the TOP plans were efforts to support vendors who cannot affords shops while encouraging entrepreneurship and small businesses to boost job creation.
Party activists and candidates alike then went inside the market and interacted with shoppers and vendors encouraging them to vote TOP in January 21, election.
Reproduced from Tobago News