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Daly: Jack’s political future in doubt
After his resounding victory in Monday’s polls in Tobago, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Orville London may want to rethink reappointing Hilton Sandy as his deputy today, says former independent senator Martin Daly, SC. Daly was speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Trinidad Union Club at Nicholas Towers, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
He said: “If Orville London wanted to be really enlightened, he might consider two things, having a different person as his deputy, in view of the outcry over the ‘Calcutta ship’ statement. Whatever its political value in Tobago, it is clearly a problem to Trinidad. “And he has three assemblymen to be elected by the majority party and if I were in his position I might see whether I could get two of those positions who might be independent.
“I would put people who might be regarded as independent or semi-independent and have them operate kind of like independent senators. I would give them the freedom, if they see something wrong with a piece of legislation, to critique it.” That, however, might be difficult, especially given the way the election was conducted, Daly added.
He also added his voice to those of several other legal experts who agreed there was absolutely no reason why the THA could not constitute an assembly without an opposition. On Monday the PNM won all 12 seats in the THA election after defeating Ashworth Jack’s Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP.) “Whether or not they would have a legal problem in Tobago, there is none that I could see,” Daly said.
As for Ashworth Jack’s political future, when asked about the issue, Daly said: “He eh resign yet?” While describing Jack as a “nice man,” Daly said there was no way the TOP’s leader could politically survive after such a defeat. He said it also would be ill-advised of the Prime Minister to offer Jack a position in the Senate.
He added: “Why would you bring in a loser? Why would you want to rehabilitate somebody who has lost? She just has to be nice and say, ‘boy, you lost and, well, I can’t help you.’ “What she has to be concerned about is if they had made Tobago that vex to lose 12-none, what is going to happen to the two Tobago seats in the central Parliament the next time around?”
Daly said good governance required the central government to accept the massive defeat and recognise the THA has a political power base of its own and must be treated appropriately.
During an election rally in Tobago, Sandy urged the crowd to vote PNM because, “there is a ship at Calcutta waiting to sail to Tobago; they are waiting to get the results of this election. If you bring the wrong results, the Calcutta ship is coming down for you. “You must stop that ship. We must not allow that ship to sail and if you don’t want that ship to sail, what you have to do? Is vote the PNM!”
The incident prompted PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley to apologise on Sandy’s behalf. The matter has been referred to the Equal Opportunity Commission for investigation.
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