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TOP leader misses 48-hour deadline

Saturday, January 26, 2013
Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London, left, and Deputy Chief Secretary Tracy Davidson -Celestine, next to him, toast their appointment with Political Leader of the PNM Dr Keith Rowley, and Assistant Secretary for Health and Social Services Sheldon Cunningham at President's House yesterday morning. PHOTO: CASANDRA THOMPSON-FORBES

Four days after being thrashed at the Tobago House of Assembly elections, Ashworth Jack is still leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People. Yesterday, he continued to hold talks with members of his party but is yet to publicly announce what his future in the party might be. There has been speculation that Minister of Tobago Affairs, Delmon Baker, was being looked at as Jack’s replacement.


But asked about the possibility of his replacing Jack at the TOP helm yesterday, Baker said, “There is no vacancy for the post of political leader of the TOP. So that question does not arise.” Asked about rumours Jack had submitted his resignation and the TOP’s executive had accepted it, Baker replied, “As far as I am aware, there is no truth to that. I haven’t heard that.”


Baker’s disclosure came four days after Jack, having conceded defeat in last Monday’s Tobago THA election, promised he would say what role he intended to play in the party and in politics in 48 hours. Jack, the former THA minority leader, lost his seat as the Tobago PNM Council whitewashed the TOP, securing all of the island’s 12 seats, including the four from their political rivals. There have been calls in Tobago for Jack’s resignation, with some saying he now has no political future.


Despite this, Baker said the TOP remains in very good shape and there is no need to worry. Baker, the Tobago West MP, spoke at TOP political meetings in Tobago during the election campaign and surprised many with his firebrand style. Contacted yesterday, Jack refused to indicate whether he had made a decision, but indicated that when ready would call a news briefing.


“I am meeting with different arms of the party,” he said. On Thursday morning after he held a closed-door meeting with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar at Rovanel’s Resort in Bon Accord, Tobago, Jack told reporters he had had discussions with one arm of the party. He said other discussions were planned, after which he would come up with his final decision.


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