Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Minority Leader Ashworth Jack is calling on THA Chief Secretary Orville London to ring the election bell.
In an interview with the Express yesterday, Jack said he was ready to become the next THA Chief Secretary.
Commenting on London's statement that the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) which he heads was losing ground in the polls, Jack said nothing could be further from the truth.
"The Chief Secretary is afraid, scared of losing the election, and as the PNM continues their scare tactics I am calling on him to call the THA elections now," Jack said.
Commenting on the Prime Minister's calls for investigations into two Tobago projects — the $250 million Bacolet Aquatic Centre and Indoor Sport Complex, and the $143 million Milshirv THA Administration Complex at Shirvan Road, Jack said the Prime Minister was well within her right to call for an investigation into these projects as the Opposition in Tobago had been calling for an investigation into various projects undertaken by the Assembly for several months now.
"Mr London should not be afraid if he has nothing to hide. This investigation will determine if any wrong has been done. Public funds are being spent on these projects and the people have a right to know if proper procurement practices have been carried out," Jack said.
He recounted that back in 2001 when the PNM Administration came into power in Tobago, London himself had asked for accountability and investigation of the former Chief Secretary Hochoy Charles, and his administration which sat in opposition. And while Jack said he was not accusing anyone of wrongdoing, he pointed out that the money being spent belonged to the people of the country.
"The country has a right to know. If the government is not spending the public purse properly they should also account. This matter is not separate and apart to Tobago alone as the monies is not private funds. There must also be penalties if persons are found in the wrong," he said.
Jack said London had ample opportunity when there was PNM in Trinidad and PNM in Tobago to address the issues of constitutional reform and proper budgetary allocations. Instead, Jack said London remained silent on these pertinent matters, which were not addressed.
On Tuesday, London, during an emergency meeting at the Calder Hall Administration Building, said for the past 10 years the budgetary allocation for Tobago has not been sufficient for the developmental trust of Tobago. Jack said London had finally found his voice, after years of silence under the former Patrick Manning led government.
He said his quest for the position of THA Chief Secretary had nothing to do with scoring cheap political points, but what was best for the people of Tobago and their betterment.