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Jack alleges $22,000 funding by THA for Anslem’s eye surgery (with CNC3 video)
Leader of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) Ashworth Jack has raised fresh allegations of what he claims is corruption in the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), alleging that the THA’s Finance Secretary, Dr Anselm London, had received $22,000 in funding from the THA for eye surgery against the advice of the Ministry of Finance.
Jack was speaking at a public meeting in Sou Sou Lands, Tobago, on Monday night when he made the allegations. He told supporters London had undergone the surgery at a private institution and had requested a refund of $22,000 from the Ministry of Finance in the belief that THA executive members were entitled to such compensation.
But Jack told the gathering the Ministry of Finance had written to London telling him the refund was not permissible.
“The Minister of Finance, circular number four of 2009, states, inter alia, entitlement of medical attention treatment and prescribed drugs at a health establishment. Medical attention can be obtained at regional health authorities, including the Eric Williams Medical Health (Sciences) Complex. The person went on to say that based on the circular from the Ministry of Finance, the Secretary of Finance was not entitled to get a refund,” Jack read to the meeting.
He said that led to a series of letters back and forth which culminated with a letter from Chief Secretary Orville London. He read from the letter: “Approval is hereby granted for the refund of $22,000 paid by Dr London as Secretary for Finance and Enterprise Development for surgery undertaken.”
Jack said that was just one of many instances in which the PNM-controlled THA had breached instructions from the Ministry of Finance. He also told the meeting he had evidence that the THA had purchased spy equipment, similar to the equipment used by the SIA, to spy on those opposed to the PNM in Tobago.
He added: “I am reliably informed that they brought in two pieces of equipment in the last week-and-a-half, bought by THA money. One, a piece of equipment to tap people’s phones—and one of the people who operates it talked—and the second one is a high-powered camera to take pictures at a distance of 1,600 metres.”
The issue of race has also been playing a role in the election, as Jack told the meeting the leadership of the PNM stood by and did nothing when THA deputy Chief Secretary Hillton Sandy alleged a ship from Calcutta was on its way to Tobago.
He added: “Keith (PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley) was sitting there, Orville was sitting there, all the people who put up themselves as candidates were clapping when Sandy said that. So it is not Sandy’s policy, it is a policy of the PNM.”
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