Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 7th 2013 Contents A5
Monday, October 7, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Last month s Cabinet reshuffle
may have been a close call for Sport
Minister Anil Roberts, as a reliable
source said yesterday that the Gov-
ernment had approached former
West Indies and T&T cricket captain
Brian Lara to be his replacement.
The T&T Guardian was told that
recently-appointed National Security
Minister Gary Griffith had
approached Lara on September 4,
the day before the reshuffle, to find
out if he was interested in the posi-
However, the double world-record
holder turned down the offer because
the notice was so short.
Calls to Roberts mobile phone
went to voicemail yesterday, but Cab-
inet colleagues who chose to speak
on condition of anonymity described
the claim as a rumour.
"That is just old talk," one gov-
ernment official said yesterday when
asked about Roberts near-dismissal.
"You really feel Brian Lara will come
into that with all those endorsements
he has overseas?"
The Cabinet source said another
former T&T cricket captain, Daren
Ganga, had also been rumoured as
a replacement for Roberts, but main-
tained it was just old talk.
Both Lara and Ganga were part of
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisses-
sar s delegation to India last year as
T&T sport ambassadors.
A government minister yesterday
admitted that he had heard that
Roberts might be replaced, but did
not know for what reason.
"To be honest with you, I heard
something, but I can t confirm
that...Maybe that was just a rumour
floating around the place, but I really
can t say yes or no to it," the minister
"Honestly, I really don t know, but
politics has a way of doing these
things to you. I am in politics long
enough to know these things."
When asked for confirmation yes-
terday, Housing and Urban Devel-
opment Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal
said in a text message that talk of
Government s scouting of Lara was
In announcing her third Cabinet
reshuffle in three years on September
5, Persad-Bissessar described the
changes as a move towards a rein-
vigorated government, adding she
wanted to fast-track delivery and
Controversy follows Roberts
During his tenure, Roberts has
engaged in several public battles with
local sporting bodies, including the
National Amateur Athletic Associ-
ation (NAAA) over the lifting of sus-
pensions on sprinters Semoy Hackett
and Kelly Ann Baptiste, who with-
drew from this year s World Cham-
pionship in Moscow, Russia, after
testing positive for banned sub-
Last year, he also came under fire
from the T&T Football Federation
(TTFF) after telling the Parliament
the Auditor General had found more
than $6.4 million in financial dis-
crepancies in the accounts managed
by the authorisation committee of
the TTFF, which was chaired by
Anthony Harford. This led Lennox
Watson, former acting TTFF pres-
ident, to call on Roberts to withdraw
his statements, saying they were
Roberts also lashed out against the
T&T Cricket Board (TTCB), saying
they had sold out all-rounders Kieron
Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to the
Indian Premiere League. He even
criticised national and West Indies
batsman Darren Bravo for a post on
social micro-blogging Web site Twit-
ter, which showed a dilapidated sink
at the National Cricket Centre (NCC)
Roberts response was, "Probably
if the T&T Cricket Board don t have
to pay big salaries to players then
they would be able to bring the centre
up to scratch."
He added that when players made
duck, they did not tweet about it.
Even within his own party, the
Congress of the People, Roberts has
had public spats with executive
members, even threatening legal
action against chairman and Minister
of Public Administration Carolyn
Seepersad-Bachan. At one time it
was even rumoured that he would
have be thrown out of the party, after
he refused to meet with the executive
to discuss an alleged probe by the
Last April, Roberts threatened to
quit as Sport Minister if Cabinet
decided to retain Daniel Solomon as
chairman of the Chaguaramas Devel-
opment Authority. Solomon was
retained, but Roberts remained at
People s National Movement (PNM) sen-
ator Terrence Deyalsingh was nominated
yesterday as the candidate to contest the
St Joseph constituency in the November
Party treasurer and former finance min-
ister Mariano Browne and St Joseph com-
munity activist Ronald Huggins were also
screened, but were unsuccessful during a
session which took three hours to complete
at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain.
Addressing members of the media after-
wards, Deyalsingh said: "First of all I would
like to thank Almighty God, my family and
the party for the vote of confidence.
"The PNM has shown its leadership posi-
tion today and it is the first party to put
forward a candidate," he said.
"We are the premier political party and
it is the first out of the block. We have taken
a leadership position and I am humbled to
have been given that task as we look forward
to November 4."
The election was triggered after Speaker
Wade Mark declared the seat vacant fol-
lowing former MP Herbert Volney s resig-
nation from the United National Congress
PNM chairman Franklin Khan said the
PNM is a party of process and that point
was exemplified yesterday.
"We want to put on record that we do
not choose candidates by asking you to run,"
"It is a process that comes from the party
groups. We had three excellent choices. The
PNM is alive and ready to take on new-
comers in the local elections and general
However, Khan said Deyalsingh will still
have to be endorsed by the central executive
Interim leader of the Independent Liberal
Party (ILP) Jack Warner said yesterday that
they too had already selected a candidate
for the by-election. However, he refused to
name the person.
In an interview on Saturday, Prime Min-
ister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said the United
National Congress had not yet screened any
Meanwhile, the Elections and Boundaries
Commission is scheduled to stage a dry run
of the nomination process for candidates
Members of the media turned up for an adver-
tised launch of comedian and media personality
Errol Fabien s campaign for the St Joseph by-
election yesterday, only to be met with an almost
deserted St Joseph Recreation Ground after he
postponed the event.
Fabien later told the T&T Guardian he put off
the event after he was advised to get his nomination
done before he launched his campaign.
With the Elections and Boundaries Commission
hosting a nomination dry run today, he said, "It s
some kind of dry run. I have to get all my papers
Asked when he will now launch the campaign,
he said, "By next Sunday. If not, you will get the
The T&T Guardian asked Fabien how many
votes he thought he would muster in what is
expected to be a keenly-contested St Joseph seat.
"You know in an accident, everybody right.
Well, in this election everybody feel they going to
win," he said.
"I want all the votes. I am confident as the other
Fabien, a St Joseph resident, announced he was
contesting the seat as an independent after Speaker
Wade Mark declared it vacant last month.
Mark s announcement followed the resignation
for former MP Herbert Volney from the People s
Partnership Government. Volney has since joined
Jack Warner s green brigade, the Independent Lib-
eral Party (ILP).
Fabien, listing points about himself online yes-
terday, had said he still owed on his house and
car, did not need fame, wanted to be paid and
wanted to make a difference.
Last-minute approach ahead of reshuffle...
Lara turns down Sport Ministry
Deyalsingh gets PNM nod for St Joseph
PNM senator Terrence Deyalsingh, seated centre, is applauded after being chosen to be the party's choice for the St Joseph constituency
by-election yesterday at Balisier House, Port-of-Spain. Seated next to him are the party's other nominees Mariano Brown, left, and Ronald
Huggins. PHOTO : BRIAN NG FATT
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