criticises PNM: Tobago Organisation of the People leader Ashworth Jack speaks during the TOP's Freedom Rally at Old Market Square, Scarborough Friday night. —Photo: Micheal Bruce

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Jack promises Tobagonians nice houses for all if elected

By Anna Ramdass anna.ramdass@trinidadexpress.com

Nice houses for all.

Political leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Ashworth Jack has promised that if elected to lead the Tobago House of Assembly tomorrow, his party will ensure that Tobagonians live in nice houses.

And, on the heels of ongoing controversy with respect to his own million-dollar private Tobago home, Jack said that he had filed his interests with the Integrity Commission and had the receipt to prove it.

However, he did not divulge which years he filed for.

The People's National Movement (PNM) has alleged that Jack did not declare his assets over the past three years.

Speaking at the TOP's Freedom Rally at Old Market Square, Scarborough on Friday night, Jack started his almost hour-long speech by dealing first with those who were attacking him with respect to his house "aided and abetted by some people in the media".

He waved a piece of paper saying that he had declared his interest to the Integrity Commission.

Jack then criticised the two Tobagonian men who had filed official complaints to the Integrity Commission against him, calling for a probe into the construction of his house.

"They use two fellahs who don't understand the first thing about anything to write the Integrity Commission. One from Canaan and a boy from Mason Hall who live in a plyboard house doh care how much money he wuk for," said Jack.

The PNM, claimed Jack, uses people and leaves them in squalor.

He said that the average Tobagonian worked for about $3,000 a month and the PNM-led THA encouraged a culture of dependency when real money could be earned from private investments and entrepreneurship.

"Look in Trinidad, young fellas, 25, 30, are investors and they don't build $2 million house you know, they does build $15 and $20 million house. We making noise in Tobago about a house that cost $2 million," said Jack, The TOP administration, he said, will grow Tobago's economy and fix the housing problem.

"There are a number of initiatives to build on. We know in Tobago, Tobagonians are proud people, we like nice thing, don't care how a Tobagonian poor, he like a nice house and he wants it big," said Jack.

He said a TOP-led THA would give Tobagonians land and access to finance construction of their own homes.

"They will construct some of the sweetest homes you have ever seen anywhere in the world...Go up to Belle Garden and you will see homes that labourers and teachers and fishermen build in Belle Garden, they equivalent to any house in Westmoorings, the same thing in Signal Hill and Sou Sou Lands and Calder Hall...I am saying you don't change a thing that working and therefore we will give Tobagonians land and access to finance and allow them to construct nice homes," said Jack.

He said houses will also be built in communities. He said 100 houses did not need to be constructed in one place.

Instead, some ten acres of land can be acquired where 25 houses can be constructed and this will ensure close knit communities and strong family life.

The PNM THA, he said, constructed houses for the people that were so small they needed to come outside to change their mind.

"At the same time they talking about house and they building houses twice and three times the size of my house but they want to tell Tobagonians that the size of their house must be a bedroom in theirs," said Jack.

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