JACK BLANKED PM'S OFFER
By KARL E. CUPID Tobago Bureau Tuesday, January 1 2013
click on pic to zoom in
Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and THA Minority Leader Ashworth Jack ...
STRESSING that he was unapologetic about his burning ambition to become Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) and THA Minority Leader Ashworth Jack said on Sunday night that he had turned down an offer from Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to become a Cabinet Minister in favour of his quest for THA leadership.
The TOP is one of four parties which comprises the UNC-led People’s Partnership (PP) coalition. Jack said the offer was made after the PP won the May 2010 General Election. Jack made this disclosure in the presence of the PM as he addressed a joint TOP/PP rally at Old Market Square, uptown Scarborough during the official presentation of the TOP’s slate of candidates for the January 21 THA election.
He said the TOP team was not in the election fray, “looking for something for ourselves”, but in the interest of Tobago’s development and saving the island from the clutches of the PNM. “Look the prime minister sitting there...and the prime minister could tell you that if Ashworth Jack wanted power to be a (Government) Minister, he could have gotten it,” Jack said, as he pointed at Persad-Bissessar. “Prime Minister, am I right?” Jack asked. Persad-Bissessar nodded in confirmation.
Jack told the TOP gathering, “I chose not to be a Minister because the issue of internal self-government eluded Tobago for too long and I want to be able to talk to my leader, the prime minister, who would need to lead things to get it done.”
By contrast, he said incumbent THA chief secretary Orville London and Hochoy Charles seized the first opportunity to serve in Parliament. “Ask Orville and the others...ask Hochoy and all. The first opportunity they got to go to Trinidad in Parliament, they jumped at it,” Jack declared. “Orville (London) left school as a teacher to go to be a Senator. Hochoy (Charles) left the Assembly, resigned from the Assembly and went down to become a Parliamentary Secretary and then a Junior Minister (in the Ministry of National Ministry),” Jack said.
“A Junior Minister! I was given the opportunity to be a Cabinet Minister and I turned it down. Is that someone who wants power?” Jack asked the crowd which responded with a loud, “No!”
Jack declared, “I am desirous of (being) Chief Secretary for Tobago and I am not making any apology for that. To be able to save Tobago, with the rest of my team, from out of the dungeon that the PNM has sent it.”
He urged supporters to take the message to everyone in Tobago, noting that, “today we see the resurgence of the real Tobago spirit!” At the same time, Jack added, “I ask you to dedicate the victory on January 21 when the TOP comes into office, to a son of the soil, ANR Robinson (former Assembly Chairman, Prime Minister and President).”