Jack breaks his silence
By NALINEE SEELAL Sunday, February 3 2013
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Ashworth Jack, political leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP)...
Leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Ashworth Jack yesterday broke his silence after his shocking defeat in the January 21 Tobag House of Assembly elections, saying he will make known his future as leader of the TOP and as a politician on Tuesday.
Jack, in a telephone interview with Sunday Newsday, also said now that the results of the election are known, he has had time to reflect on his political future, and after 14 years of not taking a holiday, he is contemplating a vacation.
He said before he goes on vacation, however, he, together with the executive of his party, has launched a full-scale probe into allegations of discrepancies in the THA election.
Jack said an in-depth probe was being carried out on these discrepancies and he wanted to ensure all facts were in, including the necessary evidence, before the party makes any public statements.
Jack said the probe would look at allegations that Tobagonians who were resident in Trinidad, Grenada, New York and other countries for a long time, had come to Tobago to register to vote in the THA election. He said if this was so, this was voter-padding.
He also spoke of persons being flown to Tobago to vote for the election, and said part of the TOP investigation involved allegations surrounding the use of THA money being used to hire a former PNM official as a consultant to organise that party’s election.
He also said the probe would look into allegations that a boat was anchored at Studley Bay which was hired to bring people to vote in the election.
Jack added when the findings of the probe into these allegations are made known to him, he will inform the public.
“We know that there are a number of Tobagonians that have not voted, not lived in Tobago for years but who came to Tobago to vote in the election.
“We are also trying to prove that because of the virtual hundreds of people who came to Tobago on the day and weekend of the election, this may have had a bearing on the outcome of the election.
“We will make a comprehensive statement in a couple of days. We want to be very responsible, and the responsible thing to do is to look at it, the information and see if there is any merit in it before any statements can be made on it”, said Jack as he assured that TOP was “here to stay.”
“We are up and running, we are making sure that we are taking care of all of our outstanding commitments, that’s what we are doing right now,” he added.
He said tomorrow, the party will hold an island council meeting, and between Tuesday and Wednesday, he should give a clear direction on his future as leader of the TOP.
Jack secured 1,129 of the votes in the THA election, while his rival, PNM political newcomer Sheldon Cunningham got 1,706. The TOP secured 11,927 votes altogether in the election while the PNM won overwhelmingly with 19,919 votes.