TOP Leader Ashworth Jack should step aside until the internal issues of the Tobago Organization of the People (TOP) are addressed. This new call comes from Pastor Terrance Baynes, advisor to Justice Minister Christlyn Moore. Pastor Baynes resigned from his post as a member of the Executive of the TOP on April 10, citing what he termed ‘fraudulent, wrong and deceptive dealings’ within the TOP. He has however, maintained his membership in the Party. Former Education Officer Oral Fraser also resigned his position from the Executive of the TOP. Baynes said some members of the Executive of the TOP treat members with disdain and when these members speak out on pertinent issues affecting the Party, they are called illegitimate members.
“I am passionate about what I do and wish not to be a part of such an Executive. Mr. Jack should do the honourable thing and step aside as leader. Too many internal issues are rearing their head within the Party and have not been addressed,” Baynes said. Baynes added that as a pastor, he could not stand idly by and tolerate such fraudulent dealings by some members of the TOP Executive. Baynes made mention of some inconsistencies in the doctoring of the minutes of last year’s Annual General Meeting. “I was quoted in the minute presented by the TOP to me, which was later published in the newspapers, and some of the information was untrue. Some of the information was misrepresented and not ratified. I stated to the Executive categorically I will be no part of such information,” Baynes stressed.
He noted that members who speak out on the deceptive and unethical dealings of some members of the Executive are labeled dissident members. These same dissident members, Baynes insisted, have been used by the Party to promote the entity in times past. “Anslem Richards represented the TOP for the Roxborough/Delaford seat towards the January 21st polls, then he is called an illegitimate member when coming to the TOP internal elections. A number of youths were asked to serve on various boards within the TOP, and now these same youths are being labeled illegitimate members for having strong views on wrong, deceptive and questionable dealings of the TOP.”
Baynes said the youth of the Party made up a large majority of the vote rejecting the resignation of political leader Ashworth Jack, following the January 21st defeat and maybe the youth vote should be looked at as being null and void since they are being treated in such a manner. Baynes also said he was asked to chair the meeting involving members of the youth arm last Saturday and a letter was written following the meeting, which was read to the Executive by Minister of Tobago Development Dr. Delmon Baker, during the TOP’s Executive meeting on Saturday. At this meeting, six persons voted in favour of the delegate system in going forward for the internal elections of the Party while 4 voted against the system.
Meanwhile, the TOP has since issued a press release distancing itself from the meeting of TOP youths. The release stated: “No meeting of the TOP’s Youth Arm was scheduled for Saturday 15th June 2013. The meeting referred to was convened by persons who, based on the TOP’s Constitution as well as the Constitution of the Youth Arm, had no legitimate authority to so do. Therefore the validity, of the discussion and decisions reported in the media is now called into question.”
The release further stated the TOP wishes to distance itself from the content of the article.
“A decision was taken by the TOP Executive at a meeting held over the weekend that the Internal Election for a new Executive will be held on a date to be announced using the existing delegate system. Until that time, the duly elected Executive remains in place, and the Party will continue to dialogue with all its members and supporters to build a stronger organization as we move forward.” Only recently, several youth of the TOP, called on the entire executive of the Party to resign with immediate effect and install an interim executive to take the Party to the next internal election.