out in numbers: Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) supporters during the party's meeting at Sou Sou Lands, Tobago on Monday night. The Tobago House of Assembly election is set for January 21. —Photo: ELIZABETH WILLIAMS

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Ashworth: PNM spying on me

By Elizabeth Williams Tobago Bureau

Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) leader Ashworth Jack has claimed that he is being spied on by the People's National Movenment (PNM) leading up to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election on January 21.

Speaking to supporters on Monday night at the TOP's political meeting in Sou Sou Lands, Tobago, Jack said he is aware of sophisticated equipment brought into the island to carry out the deed.

"I am reliably informed that they brought in two pieces of equipment in the last week and a half, bought by THA money. One piece of equipment to tap people phones, and one people operate, and the second one is a high-powered camera, to see, to take pictures at a distance of 1,600 metres."

Jack added that former prime minister Patrick Manning had done "worse than that and he still lost the election then", referring to the 2010 general election.

"Tell them I accustom to my conversation being taped. Manning taped it for years, so if Orville (London) join Manning we expect that a son follows in the footsteps of his father."

Jack also praised and commended Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for laying the Tobago bills in Parliament on Monday, adding that Tobago is finally getting the freedom it deserves.

"And with an eloquence and an erudite speech she pointed out the history of Tobago and it was an emotional moment, because it reminded me of my time as a little boy as a member of the Scarborough Boys Anglican School, those times television was a scarcity so we had to listen as ANR Robinson moved the motion for internal self-government that the PNM has denied us for all these years," said Jack.

He said the Prime Minister must be commended for her efforts as she has been a woman of her word.

Jack said he listened to Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley in his "sour grape" moment following the laying of the bills in Parliament.

"He said it was vulgar, it was obscene and I said that sound like Keith. Most of the words he used today, his political leader used it to describe him, but we should have not been surprised because that is the mould of the PNM. That is why after 123 years, after more than 50 years of the PNM, Tobago is still in the market for internal self-government."

Jack said when the PNM comes to Tobagonians to seek their interest, they need to ask them how come the issue of internal self-government is vulgar and obscene.

"When they come to your area, ask them if there is any time to do good because they saying this is not the time for it. And as the Prime Minister said, I wish to reiterate, if not now, when? Tobago waited 123 years and when the freedom is finally at our doors they saying this is not the time. Let's go back 200 years, it is the same thing that would have been said by the house slaves, when the freedom of Tobago beckons I am sure the house slave would have said Massa is treating me too good, why you want to take me from Massa."

Jack said the PNM has a house slave mentality and PNM Tobago Council leader Orville London and PNM political leader Rowley are Tobagonians who have never stood up for Tobago in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

"Tell Orville, Rowley, Sandy, tell the whole of PNM, they could jump high, they could jump low, the 16th of January will come and the debate will start. History have a way of repeating itself, who says that lightning does not strike twice in the same place. 1976, 37 years ago on the 14th day of January Arthur Napolean Raymond Robinson would have moved a motion for internal self-government, but don't tell Orville that, Orville says is Kamlauddin Mohammed."

Jack said Tobago has another opportunity because of their efforts, and that of the Government, under sister Kamla Persad-Bissessar who has kept her word.

"Ask them (the PNM), after 22 thousand million (dollars) and 12 years what they gave to Tobago? The PNM is incompetent and you cannot renew the contract of an incompetent contractor. The man start your house at $150 million, when he finish he say it cost $750 million and he ain't finish and he tell you don't worry about that, give me another contract to put on the kitchen."

He said victimisation is at the highest level of the PNM.

"London said he would not forgive any Tobagonian who does not vote for the PNM. When we were talking about victimisation and they were playing they did not know, I am telling you the victimisation was sanctioned at the highest level of the PNM."

Tobago, Jack said, is still reeling from Hurricane Ivan in 2004, while islands like Grenada are back on their feet.

"In Grenada, all the places built back, the place looking nice again, but after 22 thousand million Tobago East is still reeling and many areas are still in need of repair."

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