Vernella damned

TOP Council issues strong statement against Toppin

By Cordell McClure

The Island Council of the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) has condemned 'the apparent misuse' of the Government issued credit card by the Honourable Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, Minister of Tobago Development.

In a media release issued by the TOP on Wednesday, the party, which is one of the five members of the People's Partnership government stated, "The Tobago OrganiSation of the People, from inception, has championed the cause of accountability, transparency and propriety in treating with matters relating to the allocation, disbursement and or transfer of public funds."

Toppin has been embroiled in controversy over her apparent misuse of a government issued credit card. The issue was first raised by Opposition Leader, Dr. Keith Rowley during the recent motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister. Records show that Toppin made several cash withdrawals from the card and racked up a balance of $68,000.

Minister Toppin has vehemently denied abusing the card. She has explained that she was ignorant of the restrictions on the use of the card. The Tobago East representative, who successfully contested the last general elections under the TOP banner stated: "There have been instances where I withdrew from the card without knowing that you should not withdraw from the card. I have never had that information before—when I did that, it was to pay for places that did not cater for card—for official entertainment and when I was told by my PS (Permanent Secretary) that you cannot withdraw locally from the card after the fact, I never made any withdrawal and I have paid that back... there was absolutely no deliberate abuse of the card."

However, the Island council of the party had some difficulty in accepting the Minister's excuse and agreed to issue the statement condemning her actions.

"We note the Minister's position on the issue, in particular the reference to the novelty associated with her first term in office. We note also the period over which the alleged discrepancies would have occurred and the failure of the systemic checks within the Ministry to have arrested this matter in its infancy. This event saddens all of us. However we positively note the steps taken by Madam Minister to urgently settle the outstanding balance on the card and we welcome her full and unconditional apology to both her constituents and the people of Trinidad and Tobago," the release stated.

The TOP however, vowed to support the representative in whatever way to ensure the situation does not recur.

Calls to the Minister's phone went unanswered.

You have indicated this comment should be removed.


The comment has been submitted for review. Thank you .

Anonymous said on Tuesday, Mar 27 at 1:15 PM

sOMEONE hurt indian girl real bad,or someone gave her a reality check,for her to be beating up on black women so much,since i dont like to speculate and the name indian girl does not necessarily means that its a girl.I leave it at that.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Trinbagonian said on Monday, Mar 26 at 11:04 AM

This just proves its "exchange" not "change". We still waiting?

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

malay said on Friday, Mar 23 at 9:47 PM

Ashworth, Keith and Vernella have Mason Hall roots. What's in the waters at Big (Great Courland), Bottom and Sandy rivers?

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Long Mango said on Thursday, Mar 22 at 3:48 PM

Those who live in glass houses must not throw stones.Mr Desuperman you feel that you know so much but the sad truth is that you never provide any credible information to support your arguments.Let me present some facts,#1Mrs,C Robinson-Regis a PNM pain girl said that the she deposited money on a government credit card and proceeded to do her SHOPPING,does that make it right the answer is NO NO NO,The Opposition leader a minister at a time had a contractor removing material from a government project to his wife project at Mason Hall although the contractor claimed that the material is his does that make it right for its removal the answer is a loud NO. Let us reason, there is a truck driver employed with the THA and is given the vehicle to do work,and he fill the tank with diesel and start to deliver stuff and collect $$$ could he rightfully claim that he fill the tank so he can pull bull that cannot be right,so MRS,Toppin Robison-Regis and the Mason hall Man are all wrong.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Desuperman said on Wednesday, Mar 21 at 2:50 PM

The Virginian NEVER knows of what he speaks but ALWAYS believe that he MUST make pronouncements on the politics affecting T&T. All we get is this pseudo intellectualism. Who cares how long you living in Virginia? Who cares if yuh fake yankee accent sound good. I think it's time you stop "hiding" behind the name Virginia, and lets us know the identity of this BRILLIANT, "American", born in Tobago. Bring back yuh "brilliance and expertise" and help to develop this place of your birth. You may just do a better job of "developing" Tobago than Vernella. Hurry up and come.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

citylimer said on Wednesday, Mar 21 at 11:41 AM

Bloggers please read the Express Editorial of March 21. 2012. You decide.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

citylimer said on Tuesday, Mar 20 at 9:07 PM

Henry Fords cheque book was his.Toppin's cheque book is not hers it belongs to the TAXPAYERS. Balancing the cheque book is not the issue, The issue is not using that does not belong to you especially for illegal expenditures. When you own the cheque book you could go over limit and pay all the interest and excess charges. LEAVE OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY ALONE AND SAVE THE ACCOUNTANT'S AND LAWYER FEES ALSO THE PUBLIC EMBARASSMENT FEES. SHE IS NOT HENRY FORD SHE CANNOT AFFORD IT.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

the virginian said on Tuesday, Mar 20 at 6:15 PM

Citylimer,often it's refreshing to challenge your position regardless as to whether there's space between yours and mine.Often you seem to be a flamethrower especially when TOP is in your cross hairs.I visualize you,in those circumstances,as though you were wearing the PNM moniker emblazoned across your upper back as a baseball player wears his name. Maybe the lady can't manage or reconcile her credit card account,but maybe she's a creditable legislator though you might be incapable of attesting to that for the obvious reasons. A note for you to chew on:It has been said that when someone asked Henry Ford,the poineer of the Ford auto brand,why he couldn't even balance his checkbook,he responded that neither could his questioner make a car and that he could hire a fleet of accountants to do his checkbook if it were necessary.Perhaps,the lady is a creditable legislator and might well want to hire you,not to help her legislate,but to do her credit card account,thank you.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

the virginian said on Tuesday, Mar 20 at 1:37 PM

Long mango,maybe no one has told empress Camille that she has no clothes on.So prior to speaking or making any assertion,she should first get dressed.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

citylimer said on Tuesday, Mar 20 at 1:36 PM


Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Anonymous said on Tuesday, Mar 20 at 1:31 PM

This Minister can not even manage a Credit Card much the financial affairs of Tobago Development. This is the same woman who was hounding the THA to throw scarce money behind Miss World. She even went behind the back of the Chief Secretary to front that she was in charge in the decision making process talking a set of stupidness about working 24/7 to finish the Shaw Park Complex. These TOP people do not have what it takes to run the financial affairs of Tobago. Spouting things like the THA should do this and that and all sorts of crazy ideas like a second Carnival which is almost funded entirely by the THA - tax payers funds - at the expense of other priorities. The siting of the University miles away from areas where the demographics are more favourable and services more readily available. No planning experience what so ever only PR and teritory prevails. Off with their political heads. Then blame the lowly civilservant for the inefficiency of the Minister.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

long mango said on Tuesday, Mar 20 at 11:32 AM

The PNM people will not easily put this matter to rest in spite of a sincere apology from the Minister,but can you imagine the height of hypocry form the leader of the opposition and Mrs, Camille Regis calling for the resignation and an apology from the Minister.Just imagine a former Government Minister whose house was under construction and the contractor indicated that materials was carried away from a Government project to the private property of the then Minister,and although he won the matter in the courts he never made an apology before,the matter was heard so how could this brass face leader of the opposition speak on this issue.The other one used the Government credit card for personal use and her justification is that she put her money on the card but it is still the Government card and her money placed on the card did not make it right,so a truck driver with the THA could gas up the truck for private use and claim that he put gas in NO NO NO you wrong shame on you.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Abi said on Monday, Mar 19 at 3:25 PM

hey, hey! Well yes! dey start...

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

RJ said on Monday, Mar 19 at 1:55 PM

DID the TOP execuetive meet with the Minister before making a public statement.?? What was the purpose of the credit card? Was she allowed to use it and for what purposes?

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Desuperman said on Saturday, Mar 17 at 7:48 PM

Virginian you are (again) talking foolishness. The Minority Leader who is also the leader of the TOP of which Vernerlla is a part,should have made a comment on this fiasco.There is no excuse, the party through it's Chairman made a public comment,but the Minority Leader chose instead, to make a comment on the MSJ's ultimatum to the Government on issues affecting the country.He as one of the Leaders of the Coalition,unfortunately doesn't have the testicular fortitude (balls) to do the same,he will have to stay "loyal" so that his party could get money from the UNC to campaign for the THA election.But the rumor has it that things ain't nice between him and Vernella, there's a split in the "camp".This is for "Ah We Gal",Keith Rowley is only doing his job as the Opposition Leader, which is to bring to the fore,ALL the ills of the Government and it's members, including Vernella.So don't shoot the messenger."Ah we Gal" is dishonest,and is know to lie a lot,doh try to defend the indefensible.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Ah we ghal said on Saturday, Mar 17 at 6:22 PM

Who has never sinned cast the first stone. Mr. Rowley behaves like he is Mr.Right. Stay right Mr.Oppp. leader that's where you will remain.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Drunk MAN said on Saturday, Mar 17 at 2:16 PM

Vernella does look SWEEEEET in she high heel shoes nah boy !

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

the virginian said on Friday, Mar 16 at 5:36 PM

LOL,that's skillful and mature politics,the leader is taking the right approach.Furthermore,that's only a temporary distraction without legs,may I say. Politicians customarily commingle private and public funds.At the end of the day,as long as public funds are reconciled and not misappropriated in a quantum amount,and the taxpayer isn't short-changed,no game-changing harm done,the matter should soon die peacefully. Again,it behooves the TOP leader to stay above the fray.Politics isn't for the fainthearted. We have a joke here:"after shaking hands with a politician,always check to verify you still have five fingers." Hey,it's only a joke so don't get too uptight. Advise:Ms.Toppin,should pls shut up and hire a professional mouthpiece or image-maker,if necessary.If she's subpoenaed by a legislative or related body,then it might be a different story.Until then,she should announce that she would no longer speak publicly on the matter.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

LOL said on Friday, Mar 16 at 3:43 PM

Its amazing how the leader of the TOP is staying very clear of this whole fracka, it clearly shows the division in the party.or is it that he is so bent on getting the Chief Secretary's post that he need no distraction

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

PP said on Friday, Mar 16 at 11:57 AM

!!!! FOR WHAT PURPOSE WAS THE MINISTER GIVEN THE CREDIT CARD? Was this given for her to have a good look. Someone has to be giving out this confidential information. Who is it? Did the TOP execuetive meet with her to find out why she used it before making public statements??? These are questions that should be cleared up. Lets get to the cruix of the matter

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Ann said on Friday, Mar 16 at 10:01 AM

Ah wonder who dressing she these days must be her best friend Nitha real coskel coulurs, shame on you Vernella, we in the TOP are rallying for you to be removed, you are a non performer and the individuals you have working closely around you are not contributing to your success. you must go.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Dr. O. M. A. said on Friday, Mar 16 at 8:39 AM

Vernee looks well fed too. . .the poor and disadvantage could have utilized this money more wisely. . . . That's why it is significant for the poor and low income citizens to get out and vote.

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Pulling wool ova de ppl eyes said on Friday, Mar 16 at 7:56 AM

I find it hard to believe that when the Secretary was issues the card, she didnt sign the declaration. I'm sure that she would have known...but then again, this is Sweet T&T where anything goes...

Inappropriate? Alert Us!

D Mouse said on Friday, Mar 16 at 3:29 AM


Inappropriate? Alert Us!

Add a comment


Comment: 1000 Characters Left

Tobago News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the above comments or other interaction among the users. We reserve the right to screen, refuse to post, remove or edit user-generated content at any time and for any or no reason in our absolute and sole discretion without prior notice, although we have no duty to do so or to monitor any Public Forum.


Do you expect tourism to rebound in Tobago in 2012?

  • Yes
  • No