Saturday, February 24, 2018 leaders own $m homes

The multimillion-dollar properties of Tobagonian leaders have become the focal point in the run-up to the January 21 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election as National Security Minister Jack Warner disclosed that THA Chief Secretary Orville London has seven houses in Tobago—all rented.

However, London told the Express by phone yesterday that Warner's allegations were baseless and without truth.

"This is the most reckless and ridiculous statement from a political person in the longest while," said London. "I make my submissions to the Integrity Commission every year. In fact, at present, I have also employed a reputable accounting firm to look at my assets, so I'll be able to demonstrate the ridiculousness of those kinds of statements.

"I find it most unfortunate and despicable for an individual to fabricate information about another human being. Fortunately, the people of Tobago know me and know that these allegations are baseless and will treat with them with the contempt that they deserve," he added.

Speaking at a Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) meeting at Cyd Grey Stadium car park in Roxborough on Thursday night, Warner said he has photographs of London's properties, which he promised to show on a projector at a future meeting.

"I have been advised that the Chief Secretary has six, seven houses, all over Tobago, rented.

"I have been advised that even in gas stations and so on, he has shares. Defend Tobago against that. I tell you tonight, for Tobago to prosper, the PNM must go!"

Warner urged Tobagonians to vote for the TOP to oust London from power.

"With your help, Tobago East, Tobago West, we got rid of the white Calder Hart, and now, in Tobago, we here to help you to get rid of the black Calder Hart. We have to join hands to get rid of the black Calder Hart—Orville London—to do so, you all must vote for the TOP."

Warner also raised concerns over another house—belonging to THA financial secretary Dr Anselm London.

He questioned how was it possible for (Anselm) London to pay off a $2 million bank loan to build a house in Tobago.

"I am advised, in Signal Hill, your financial secretary borrow money from Scotiabank, $2 million, to build a house in Signal Hill, and in two years, he pay off everything, except $94,000. How could a man in two years pay back $2 million and only owe the bank $94,000 as of last week?" asked Warner.

He added that in the future, he will disclose more information on why Anselm London went on a trip to Africa and cannot return to that country.

The real estate of these Tobagonian leading men came into focus following a Sunday Express exclusive report in December on TOP political leader Ashworth Jack's multimillion-dollar private residence in Hillsborough, Mt St George.

Jack had told the Express that his brother, who owns CJ Construction, built his home and he worked with his brother's company for years.

He also said some of his income was derived from planting crops.

There was a further twist in the tale of Jack's house as investigations found that Super Industrial Services (SIS), the construction firm that did extension works at Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar's residence in Phillipine, south Trinidad, in March, also worked on the TOP leader's house.

Warner had defended Jack, saying there was no crime committed if in fact the same company did work on both the Prime Minister and Jack's houses.