Sunday, February 18, 2018


Tobagonians don't want TOP leader around after THA defeat


LICKS!: Tobago resident Mark Reynalds is about to rain blows on an effigy of defeated Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) political leader Ashworth Jack in Mason Hall, Tobago, yesterday. Jack lost his seat in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election on Monday while the People's National Movement (PNM) secured a landslide victory with all 12 seats. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

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An effigy of Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) political leader Ashworth which was hung high in his former electoral district of Mason Hall/Moriah/Providence was soundly beaten yesterday.

A wake will be held every night and a funeral is carded for Saturday. While Jack has said he would decide his political future in a matter of hours, it was clear yesterday that the people who once loved him and kept him as their representative for 16 years have no desire to see him around.

The TOP led by Jack suffered a massive defeat at the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election on Monday with the People's National Movement (PNM) sweeping all 12 electoral seats - including Jack's and the three others formerly held by the TOP.

The Express visited Mason Hall yesterday where just opposite the TOP's office the effigy of Jack was hung. Some of the men in the area took long pieces of sticks and beat the wooden figure of Jack as they shouted for him to get out of the area.

Mark Reynalds, who claimed to be Jack's cousin, said Jack lost his seat because he lost touch with the people.

He said his woodworking shop, which is located just opposite the TOP's office (where the effigy was hung) was burnt and Jack never offered any help.

"For 16 years he never do anything. He have nothing to show for his time, not even a wall to say this is Ashworth Jack wall. All he does is drive up and down in his big van and he can't even explain he house," said Reynalds.

A group of men and women all sat in front of a shop and discussed the licking that the TOP got from the PNM. They were all vocal against Jack but did not want to give their names.

"He was voted out because he feel he too big. He wasn't even chief secretary and he moving around with five and six security. Look at Orville London, he goes to church, he goes in the market and he doh move with no security," said one of the men who was beating the effigy.

"Tobagonians are not fools. I want Ashworth Jack to know that money cyah fool we, if he did take the millions he spent in the campaign and do something for the people of Mason Hall then he might have kept his seat,"said a man.

Another man alleged that during the campaign T-shirts wrapped with money were given to voters and also cell phones.

"They take it and still vote them out," laughed the man.

Throughout the Mason Hall/Providence/Moriah electoral district people were out on the streets yesterday, still in their red PNM jerseys celebrating the TOP's demise. Some said they had not yet slept as they had partied in Scarborough till early yesterday morning.

From 9 p.m. on Monday the victory party had broken out in the PNM's camp. Within minutes thousands of people came out in their red jerseys and transformed Scarborough into a sea of red. An impromptu motorcade with music trucks and rhythm sections filled the streets as a Carnival like atmosphere exploded. People rang bells and they danced with cardboard pieces bearing the words "RIP Jack" .

Amongst the jubilant PNM members was former minister Arnold Piggott who said, "We have worked hard, we have dealt with the issues very clearly, we have prevailed and won the election in Tobago and it is time for the Central Government to take stock and seek the business and interest of all the people of Trinidad and Tobago so that we can move forward. Now that the PNM has won the THA election it is clear that the local Government election in 2013, we are inside for a win and we are going to move on as well in 2015," he said.

Victorious PNM candidate for Bacolet/Mt St George, Joel Jack, told the Express that the clean sweep was expected.

"It was expected, we did the work, we were feeling confident two weeks ago because of our interaction with the community, I was hoping that the people would make a definite statement in support of the PNM and decency in governance and they did," he said.

PNM supporter Elvin McPherson from Signal Hill added, "I wasn't surprised. I expected the TOP to lose because of their behaviour. We don't accept that in Tobago."