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Charles heads new party in Tobago
There is a new political party in Tobago called The Platform of Truth. It is headed by former chairman of the Democratic Action Congress (DAC) and former chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Hochoy Charles.
At a news conference on Tuesday at the party’s headquarters at Breeze Hall, Charles said a new party was needed as Tobagonians were not being represented optimally by the People’s National Movement (PNM) and the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP).
He said the party already has started making inroads on the island.
He said: “It is not me, it is people who made a demand for this to save themselves because if the PNM wins another THA election we will be going back to the same place.
“There will be no movement and if TOP wins, Tobago loses the election because they are just the counterparts to the PNM because they have gone back to Trinidad for direction and if the TOP wins the election it may be worst for Tobagonians,” he said.
Commenting on the squabble between the Minister for Tobago Development, Vernella Alleyne–Toppin, and Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, Orville London, over the Tobago Regional Health Authority (THRA) board, Charles said the issue had been going on for too long. He said Tobagonians were the ones suffering.
He said: “There is a law which exists which gives the Tobago House of Assembly exclusive rights and responsibility for the functions of the THRA.
“We ask the question if anyone in the country, including the Prime Minister and the Attorney General, could have produced a law which allows anyone in the country to place the TRHA under the Ministry for Tobago Development.
“We are now in May 2011, there was no response in public or otherwise but the country continues and they have done nothing to change that situation and that conflict is adversely affecting all the residents of Tobago.”
The debate between the Ministry for Tobago Development and the THA to select nominees for the TRHA board has been ongoing for months.
The THA’s position is to make the nominations and send the names directly to the Prime Minister and the PM would then take the list to Cabinet, since it was a customary practice over the years.
Alleyne–Toppin’s position is that the names should be submitted to her by the THA to be taken to Cabinet, since the TRHA was in her ministerial instruments.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad–Bissessar supported the minister’s statement. However, Charles said the move was illegal.
He added: “The document given to the Minister for Tobago Development stating that the TRHA falls under her is illegal, I repeat illegal.”
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