|Lionel Coker, Former Chairman of the TOP|
Former chairman of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Lionel Coker yesterday confirmed he has applied to join the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) led by Jack Warner.
In a telephone interview, Coker said he initially intended to “relax” after his resignation from the TOP on August 6, but as a “political animal” he was unable to do so.
“This wasn’t an overnight decision. I thought long and hard about this,” he said.
Coker said he and Warner had a good relationship and he knew Warner was “passionate about Tobago”.
He said his frustration with the “internal power struggle” within the TOP prompted his resignation.
“I am a founding member of the TOP and to see people come and want to mash it up is too frustrating,” he said.
Coker described himself as a “worker” and said he was known throughout the length and breadth of Tobago because he walked the streets with the people.
“Since it was reported that I resigned from TOP and signalled that I was going to join the ILP, my phone has not stopped ringing, in a good way,” he said.
In a media release, Coker said his decision to move to the ILP “was welcomed and understood by many within the said TOP” who knew and understood his level of contribution to the organisation.
“I never for one moment intended to treat information concerning my political future as classified information.
“However, I chose to give it the serious thought that it deserved, whilst I sought clarification from the ILP leadership on a few concerns that I had.
“The main concern related to the level of autonomy of the Tobago Arm/Region of the ILP within the context of the ILP being a national party. I also sought assurance that this would be spelt out clearly in the constitution of the ILP.
“With my concerns been addressed, I felt comfortable to submit my application for membership,” he said.
Coker also said an ILP office would be opening shortly at Milford Road in Tobago.
Warner, who yesterday confirmed the application, said the ILP executive would meet today to discuss Coker’s application and admittance to the “growing party”