Monday, December 31 2012
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SWEET ALOES: Calypsonian Sugar Aloes (Michael Osuna) performs to the delight of thousands of supporters yesterday at the Tobago Organisation of the Pe...
PRIME MINISTER Kamla Persad-Bissessar last night delivered to Tobago, what she termed “breaking news” — that after 12 years in power and $17 billion at his disposal, Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Chief Secretary Orville London and the PNM-controlled Assembly had “failed miserably” to deliver goods and services to the sister-isle.
“I bring you breaking news tonight. The people of Tobago have decided that the next Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly will be Ashworth Jack and the Assemblymen will be the candidates of the TOP who will make sure that Tobago rises to the TOP.
“I am advised that Tobago people have come to this conclusion after examining the performance of London and London and company and have seen that London and London and company have failed to deliver on the promises they made to them.
“I am further advised that Tobago people have come to this conclusion after eight years of hardship under a man by the name of Orville London who has now admitted that under his stewardship, the THA spent $17 billion and has not been able to show real improvement in the quality of life of the people of Tobago.
“They have failed miserably in growing the economy in Tobago and creating sustainable jobs. They have failed miserably in improving the education sector in Tobago. They have failed miserably in the fight against crime in Tobago. They have failed miserably in improving health care in Tobago.
“Indeed they have failed miserably in improving the quality of life of the people of Tobago.
While they promised and did not deliver to Tobago people, they have been delivering to their friends. And who are some of those friends? Milsherv Friends for example and so many others you would know of,” Persad-Bissessar said as she delivered the feature address at the launch at Old Market Square, Scarborough of the TOP’s THA election campaign.
Persad-Bissessar reiterated that her government, the People’s Partnership, believes and holds true to the tenets that Tobago is an equal partner in the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago; in fact that was the main reason why Ashworth and the TOP joined the partnership;
We respect the right of the people of Tobago for internal self-government along lines that are mutually agreeable to both islands and which preserves the relationship between both of us; we believe that the interest of Tobago will be better served with a TOP THA;
We believe that the people of Tobago should be given a greater voice in the development of Tobago through more active collaboration and consensus building; we believe that the talent of Tobago must continue to be attracted to remain and develop Tobago and that the brain drain must be halted. We believe that more opportunities for self-empowerment through higher education and skills training must be introduced in Tobago; we believe that Tobago must once again become the mecca of tourism in the Caribbean and we believe that Tobago must preserve its heritage and cultural traditions and must become a heritage country in line with UN definition of heritage sites. She then turned her political guns on the PNM, telling that party the election was not about the “house of Jack” but about the House of the Assembly, alluding to claims by the PNM of improper means by Jack in building his private residential property.
She quoted from Robinson as recorded in the Hansard, in his parliamentary contribution of Friday November 8,1996: “they (the PNM) would never understand that economic policies and relationships are more fundamental to human existence and well-being than political affiliation, (for things like) goods, transport of goods, prices, the capacity to move from one island to another in a unitary state mean very much (more) to the ordinary Tobagonian than any Trinidadian not living in Tobago can imagine.”
“They had ten times as much money to spend in one year as they expected to spend and blew it until an Honourable Member from another country had to say “it passed through them like a dose of salts,” Persad-Bissessar said.
“I want to tell you that your government, the People’s Partnership Government with Ashworth Jack and the TOP as key partners in our government, the one you will not allow anyone to block the progress of Tobago,” she said. Earlier in the launch, calypsonians including Sugar Aloes (Michael Osuna) and Crazy (Edwin Ayoung) performed much to the delight of the large, flag waving crowd of TOP supporters.
Up to press time last night, Jack was still on the platform delivering his address.