TOBAGO Organisation of the People (TOP) Leader Ashworth Jack has once again thrown his hat into the political arena.
Once the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Minority Leader, Jack has announced his re-entry into politics, saying it is appropriate at this time, as he had always promised that on completing personal and business matters, he would return.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday at Rovanel’s Conference Centre, Jack said: “There are a number of lives you have a responsibility to: one is to your family and their survival. I have always said that there were some personal things that needed to be done and I had made up my mind that once those things were in completed, my time is going to be undivided.
“Yes, you would hear a lot of stuff, but that’s fine, I have thick skin. I’ve heard things about myself that I didn’t know.”
TOP is an autonomist political party formed in 2008. It contested the 2009 Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election, winning four out of 12 electoral districts. The party also contested the general election in 2010 winning both the Tobago East and West seats.
In January 2013, the party lost by a landslide against the incumbent PNM THA administration, losing the four seats it had previously held, and in 2015 it lost both Tobago seats to the PNM in the general election.
The party leader said his involvement in politics began about 40-41 years ago.
“I became very much involved in politics just about the age of 11.” Familiar political names in those days, he said, were Hochoy Charles, Jeff Davidson”and of course we were all led by Mr ANR Robinson, who remained my personal friend till the day he died.”
Now Jack’s TOP is teaming up with two other opposition forces, the Platform of the truth (TPT) led by Hochoy Charles and Tobago Forwards, led by Christlyn Moore, to discuss the way forward for the island’s development.
Questioned about this decision, Jack said: “We can continue to play the game of demons and gods, or we can be Tobagonians that say Tobago is bigger than us. We have chosen that, and we hope everyone else understands that… this isn’t about demonising, this is about coming together and building Tobago.
“Isn’t that what you want? In a time of need, you need strong people.”
He said sometimes people allowed personal feelings to get in the way of the bigger goal, the country’s development, but said, “What we have agreed to do is to put Tobago’s development ahead of our personal differences and our personal positions, because I think it is in the best interest of the people of Tobago and future generations of Tobago that something be done to rescue Tobago from where it is.”
He said Tobago should have been “in a much better place than we are today. It is a sign of insanity to continue to so the same thing the same way and expect a different result.”