Former TOP chairman Lionel Coker
Former TOP chairman to join ILP
...I do owe this disclosure to the hundreds who have been waiting on me to make a decisive move
Former chairman of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP), Lionel Coker, who quit the party last week, has submitted an application to join the Jack Warner-led Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
Coker told Express journalist Renuka Singh in a telephone interview that he initially intended to "relax" after his resignation from the TOP on August 6 but as a "political animal", he was unable to do so.
"This wasn't an overnight decision. I thought long and hard about this," he said.
The following is the full text of the press statement issued by Coker on Wednesday.
I have today exercised my right to join a political party of my choice. I have submitted my application for membership in the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
Since resigning from the TOP, it seems that my political affiliation has been a topical issue, with much speculation about my next political move. I have been despised by some within the TOP who felt that I should have stayed around (maybe to do the “bull work”) for which I became famous. On the other hand, my decision was welcomed and understood by many within the said TOP who knew and understood the level of my contribution to the Organization.
I never for one moment intended to treat information concerning my political future as classified information. However, I chose to give it the serious thought that it deserved, whilst I sought clarification from the ILP Leadership on a few concerns that I had.
The main concern related to the level of autonomy of the Tobago Arm/Region of the ILP within the context of the ILP being a National Party. I also sought assurance that this would be spelt out clearly in the Constitution of the ILP.
With my concerns been addressed,I felt comfortable to submit my application for membership.
I do owe this disclosure to the hundreds who have been waiting on me to make a decisive move in order to provide them with some sense of political direction, before they too apply for membership within the ILP.
I call on these persons to let us join hands in building a strong Tobago Arm of this promising Organization. I wish to assure you all that I will give the same commitment, work with the same vigor as well as passion to build the ILP into a Political Force to be reckoned with, as I did as Party Organizer of the TOP, an achievement my latest critics cannot deny or erase.
On another note, the public is advised that an ILP Office is being set up in Tobago. It is located on the compound of Fortunes Restaurant in the Bon Accord Development along the Milford Road.
A date for the formal opening will be announced shortly. Stay TUNED.