Pulling no punches before a massive crowd at the United National Congress (UNC) meeting at Charlie King Junction in Fyzabad, Jack also refuted claims that he had “sold out” the people of Tobago by agreeing to be part of the UNC-led coalition force which is mounting a serious challenge to the PNM, for the spoils of the May 24 snap general election.

He claimed that the island is at a standstill through the incompetence of the PNM-controlled Tobago House of Assembly (THA) led by Chief Secretary Orville London. “All because of incompetence and bad mind, we are being treated as orphans and bastard children,” he exclaimed as a loud cheer rose from the crowd.

Jack told the crowd that despite receiving a budget of $14 billion, over the past few years, the THA is still unable to construct a library to replace the one destroyed in 1997 by an earthquake. The Scarborough Hospital which is incomplete, overdue and over budget, with the latest construction cost tagged at $500 million, was described by Jack as a disgrace.

Jack said he felt ashamed to be a Tobagonian when officials at the present day Scarborough health facility had to twice weekly send dirty linen to Trinidad to be laundered. Tobagonians, he added, had to pay as much as $60,000 to be airlifted to Trinidad for medical attention.

“This THA administration has spent $30 million on ads...propaganda, yet an entire generation of Tobago children are growing up without a public library,” Jack said. He recalled that back in 1997 when the earthquake struck, “the island’s budget was then $300 million. This administration had $14 billion yet can’t build a library.” He stated that almost every decision pertaining to Tobago must first be referred to Trinidad, asking, “is this not bastard child behaviour?”

Addressing concerns about the UNC-led unification process, Jack said there were many “nay- sayers” who were adamant that the process would fail as it had in the days of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR).

“They said to us in Tobago that it will not work when the NAR was in office and it didn’t work when it was 17-17-2 and Panday and Robbie joined. I say thank God for the NAR in 1986 when they took the country from the PNM, who ran it to the ground. They like to divide by race and religion, but I tell you, if you allow such senseless thoughts to take root, the country will be doomed forever.”

He reminded supporters that in 1995 it was the UNC which tabled the Tobago House of Assembly Bill, which at the time current Prime Minister Patrick Manning refused to support.

“You know when we started to talk about coming together, and I want to commend Kamla because when we sat and talked, she showed an understanding not only by listening but by raising the issues she believe are important to Tobago, we spoke about issues such as land reform, I don’t

know how many of you know that land in Tobago has no clear title.

“The PNM has done nothing to ensure Tobagonians can pass land to their children and their children’s children. The administration passed a law that took back responsibility from Tobago like the Town and Country Act which says if you want to build a house (in Tobago) you have to come to Trinidad to deal with the issues,” he added.

“Tonight I say you have a responsibility. This not simply a civic duty, it is a responsibility for every ensuing generation. Your children will not forgive you if you allow this opportunity to pass. How many of you have been aggrieved with bad roads, no water?” he asked.

“So when they say Kamla can’t run a government tell them anybody can do it better and nobody can do it worse than Patrick Manning,” Jack said to thunderous applause.



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