TOGETHER AS ONE: Minister of Tobago Development Vernella Alleyne-Toppin and her husband Lenn enjoy the goat and crab races at Buccoo in Tobago yesterday. –Photo: ELIZABETH WILLIAMS

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Husband: Vernella's an honest woman

By Elizabeth Williams Tobago Bureau

In the lead-up to next month's Tobago Organisation of the People's (TOP) internal elections, Lenn Toppin, husband of Tobago Development Minister Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, is standing behind his wife, who is to appear before the TOP disciplinary committee because of a controversy surrounding her alleged abuse of a government-issued credit card.

Lenn Toppin accompanied the Minister to the annual goat and crab races at Buccoo yesterday, mere hours after news broke that his wife was to appear before the Tobago Organisation of the People's (TOP) disciplinary committee. It was the first time the two were seen together, following his triple bypass surgery at the Mt. Hope Hospital in February.

"My wife is a very strong woman. If I know two honest women in the world, she is one, and I know she did not indulge in anything fraudulent because that is not her style," Lenn Toppin said.

Mr Toppin, who is still recovering from the surgery, said although the family tried to keep the news of the issue involving his wife away from him, he knew something was wrong. Asked to comment on the matter, the minister said she has not received notice concerning her impending appearance before the disciplinary committee.

"I have not yet received any notice. I read it online myself during the early hours of this morning. I look forward to the time we can come together to talk out our issues," Alleyne-Toppin said.

TOP chairman George Stanley Beard yesterday said that Alleyne-Toppin will receive notice "in due course".

"We need to do what is right...and Mrs Toppin must be made to account. The TOP Island Council have not said she is guilty of anything, nor is it a matter at getting at Mrs Toppin, but her constituents who voted for her must be apologised to," Stanley Beard said.

According to the chairman, the two action groups, of the TOP's Island Council calling for Minister Toppin to appear before the party's disciplinary committee, include the Charlotteville and Mt St George action groups both of which are in the Tobago East district, for which Alleyne-Toppin was elected as representative in May 2010.

Beard said following Mrs Toppin's appearance before the committee, a report on the evidence given will be submitted to the TOP executive.

"Should there be need for further action, a resolution would be tabled at the annual TOP conference and internal elections on May 6th," he said.

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