In his resignation letter dated August 6, Coker wrote:
“I take this opportunity to inform the general public of my resignation as chairman and also as member of the Tobago Organisation of the People as of Friday 2nd August, 2013. It was indeed an honour to be of service to the organisation especially from inception, as party organiser for three years and finally as party chairman over the last year.
“As I take my departure, I do extend best wishes to the TOP as it seeks to overcome its immediate as well as future challenges.”
While TOP leader Ashworth Jack said Coker’s resignation was because of personal attacks, when contacted, he (Coker) said he did not wish to state his reason for resigning. He said, however, that he worked hard to build the TOP party to where it is today.
Coker told the Express he had held back his resignation since July 24 but chose yesterday to officially confirm his decision. His resignation comes in the midst of rumblings within the party with several members calling for the resignation of the TOP executive.
On July 10, several members of the TOP called for the postponement of the July 14 proposed annual conference by the party for a second time, and pressed the executive to address the reform of the party’s constitution and all other urgent issues. The conference was later postponed.
Jack, when contacted yesterday on the resignation of Coker, said he (Coker) was a hardworking man and wished him the best in his future endeavours.
“Mr Coker was under personal attack by several members within the TOP,” Jack said.
Questioned as to whether the TOP would join Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (IPL), Jack said he would be foolhardy to do such. He said if such a move should happen, the TOP membership would decide on the best way forward.
Asked for his perspective on the matter, economist Dr Vanus James called for the resignation of TOP leader Jack, not only in light of Coker’s resignation but said he should have resigned and left office when the TOP lost the January 21 THA election.
“From day one this was always the problem. I myself have had many conversations with Mr (Ashworth) Jack. The party has to be led in a different direction than one where you just want to win office, because when you win office you still have to make policy, as the PNM is finding out today,” James said.
James said what the TOP is going through is similar to the whipping the People’s Partnership Government and the PNM got in the recent keenly contested Chaguanas West by-election.
“The failings of all the parties, including the PNM, don’t forget, and the People’s Partnership as Warner’s victory has proven, is the failure to get those institutions to work, and you could ask of Mr Warner’s victory, is that, how do you get the institutions of Government to work for our people in such a way that I don’t need to go to the representative to get benefits,” he said.