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Jack still silent on stepping down from TOP
Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) leader Ashworth Jack continues to remain tight-lipped on questions about whether he will resign or stay but new word coming from the executive is that it is the party’s internal elections that determine how leaders are selected.
There have been calls from individuals outside the party for Jack’s resignation after the TOP lost all 12 seats in the recent Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election.
After the results were announced last week Monday night, Jack, in a short address, said he would decide on his role in the party and in politics in 48 hours.
To date, he has not responded to questions from the media on the matter.
Yesterday, he repeated his position that he would have a press briefing when he was ready to talk to the media.
The T&T Guardian contacted TOP executive member and Tobago East MP Vernella Alleyne-Toppin on the issue of Jack’s future role in politics. “The TOP has not come to any kind of position on the matter,” said Alleyne-Toppin, Minister in the Ministry of the People and Social Development.
“The party’s constitution allows us to have internal elections at a particular time. That’s how we select our leaders,” she added.
Alleyne-Toppin said the TOP’s election was due very soon. “Our executive only carries positions for one year and the leader has a three-year term. These positions are up soon.”
She noted calls for Jack’s resignations were coming from the PNM and from the Platform For Truth. Asked if TOP members also were calling for him to step down, the Minister said: “When we get to our meetings, we will know.”
And, in case Jack resigns, are there any successors to him in the party?
“All the members (of the executive) are in line for the position,” she said. Repeating the assurance by TOP executive member and Minister of Tobago Affairs, Delmon Baker, that the party is in good shape. she said: “We are not so fragile. We have lost a battle, not the war. We really hope things will go well in Tobago.”
Asked what plans the TOP had to revive its credibility, Alleyne-Toppin said: “We have not lost our credibility. It’s just that a larger number of people voted for the PNM. “Our leader will make a formal announcement (on plans for the party. We are still awaiting word on what is to be shared with the media.”
There also were reports that several TOP members, out of fear of an Indian takeover instilled by the PNM, jumped ship when they went to cast their vote. Responding to those, Alleyne-Toppin said: “I don’t know about jumping ship but a lot of people had two jerseys.”
She explained the phenomenon: “In Tobago, if you are not PNM, you do not get jobs, scholarships, financial assistance and houses. “Many pretended to be one or the other ,depending on what they felt they could receive.”
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