Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 23rd 2014 Contents A5
Friday, May 23, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Government says a short video
with a man who resembles and
sounds like a minister wrapping
a marijuana cigarette was just a
People s National Movement dis-
traction that was not deserving
of any detailed response.
And Sports Minister Anil Roberts
says the video is the start of a dirty
campaign by the People s National
Movement-led Dr Keith Rowley.
He did not confirm or deny he
was the man in the video but said
the latest attack was as a result of
statements he made against Rowley
in Parliament during the recent
debate on a motion relating to the
National Gas Company/WASA
wastewater treatment plant in
Roberts insisted he was expecting
such attacks against him as a con-
"If the video is all they have, let
me tell you, video nor voodoo could
make me hush up, make me shut
up or make me go anywhere."
Roberts said Rowley and the
PNM could not force him out of
the Kamla Persad-Bissessar Cab-
"No tobacco, no hemp, no cow
manure can ever smoke me out.
Good afternoon, have a great day,"
he said, as he left the media with-
out taking any questions on the
video in the hall of the Office of
the Prime Minister, St Clair, fol-
lowing yesterday s Cabinet meeting.
Roberts had waited on the com-
pletion of the post-Cabinet news
conference to make a statement to
the media about the video which
was aired Wednesday night.
Media workers, not satisfied he
had addressed the substantive issue
of whether the video was real,
chased him after the brief state-
ment to question him further.
Asked if he could share what
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar told him during the Cab-
inet meeting, Roberts said he could
not speak for the PM on the matter
and insisted it was the start of a
dirty campaign by the PNM.
He said reporters should be ask-
ing instead about the World GTL
project which cost the state billions
of dollars with no positive result
for the nation.
"So you could talk about video,
good luck," he said as he made his
way into a private room in the
Earlier, he said the Government
would not shirk from its respon-
"We shall continue to work and
tell the population the truth about
Dr Rowley," he added.
Warning that more negatives
things will be issued in the future
about Government ministers,
Roberts said they "will stay
focussed and not be sidetracked
by distractions, by ridiculous things,
by music videos, by game videos
or by voodoo."
He said in the said video he saw
"hate, bitterness, vengeance. I see
a raging bull."
Former prime minister Patrick
Manning had once described Row-
ley as a raging bull.
A statement issued by Minister
of Trade, Investments and Com-
munications Vasant Bharath also
mirrored some of what Roberts
Bharath said it was rather pecu-
liar that an undated video, framing
what is alleged to be a Minister of
Government had surfaced. He said
the video "carries no evidence of
anything but a distraction from the
real burning issues of the day."
He said that "any attempt to
answer the questions on the video
would serve the agenda of an
Opposition, (which was) so des-
perate to distract the population
from the achievements summarised
in the fourth anniversary of the
People s Partnership, that it would
go to any length."
Bharath said it was not just coin-
cidental that it was Roberts who
exposed critical questions about
Rowley s personal interest in the
Beetham wastewater project.
He added: "Those questions
remain more relevant today than
any video of an alleged minister
rolling an unidentified substance.
"There is no relevance to the
political theatre crafted by agents
of mischief, produced and directed
with obvious intent to distract from
issues that affect the population.
"The Government sees this as
nothing more than a vicious
attempt at character assassination
and will not validate it with any
(See Page A16)
Govt, Anil on ganja video:
Residents of D Abadie/O Meara
are calling on the Government to do
a thorough investigation into a video
which purportedly shows a Govern-
ment minister rolling a marijuana
cigarette in a hotel room.
Speaking out yesterday after the
televised release of the video on
Wednesday night, constituents
expressed surprise and disbelief that
the video which showed the minister
rolling the cigarette while chatting
with a female companion, was real.
One woman said: "I don t feel so.
I will be surprised if it is true."
Admitting she had seen the video,
another said: "He should set a better
example as people look up to him."
A third woman said: "If it s true,
I think he should resign as we expect
a lot from them as ministers. We voted
for them and the things we are hear-
ing, it is not nice at all."
Samantha Dowlat expressed shock
that a minister might be involved in
such an incident.
Confident that the minister had
been wrongly accused, Dowlat said:
"I don t feel so. I don t think he will
be in something like that but they
should investigate before removing
Dowlat s husband said he was sad-
dened to see the video but he sym-
pathised with the subject, adding: "If
it is him, you have to understand that
one can lose one s way and go down
the wrong path. They must investigate
first and not just say false accusations
When the T&T Guardian visited
the office of Anil Roberts, who rep-
resents the constituency, the two
employees present offered no com-
ment when asked about the mat-
ter.One woman ushered the T&T
Guardian out, saying: "You all have
not been here in four years so why
are you all coming now?"
At Hagan s Bar next door, many
patrons declined to comment, while
one man, who said he had seen the
video, shook his head sadly.
want probe first
A video showing footage of a
man who appears to be a Gov-
ernment minister rolling a mar-
ijuana cigarette should come as
no surprise, says president of the
Oilfields Workers Trade Union
(OWTU) Ancel Roget.
In an interview following a
meeting between Roget and Pres-
ident Anthony Carmona yesterday,
Roget said the footage was a sign
of the Government crumbling.
The footage, which aired on a
news station on Wednesday night,
showed a man who resembled and
sounded like a government min-
ister in what appeared to a hotel
room conversing about and inter-
acting with a substance that
appeared to be marijuana.
The man in the video made
comments about "rolling" the
substance and his ability to han-
dle the substance s effects in the
presence of at least two people,
a young woman standing next to
him, and whoever recorded the
"This is another manifestation
of the poor choice of the Prime
Minister (Kamla Persad-Bissessar)
and the level of bad governance,"
He said if it was confirmed the
person in the video was a govern-
ment minister that person should
"He should not have been there
in the first place. It is not just him.
It is the entire Government crum-
bling around the Prime Minister
and she does not seem to know
it," Roget added.
Roget: Govt crumbling around PM
The People s National Movement
(PNM) is accusing the People s Part-
nership Government of deliberately
leaking a video, purportedly showing
a government minister rolling a mar-
ijuana cigarette, so as to not deal with
allegations of certain gangs being
awarded government contracts.
The video, which was posted on
YouTube and aired locally on Wednes-
day night, showed a man resembling
a government minister unwrapping a
cigarette, placing a quantity of mari-
juana inside the cigarette skin and then
rolling it back together. The man
appeared to be in a hotel room with
Yesterday, PNM public relations offi-
cer Faris Al-Rawi said it was possible
the video may have been leaked by gov-
ernment representatives to divert public
attention from recent allegations of
gangs being given State contracts which
have been widely reported in the media.
He added: "The PNM wants to know
whether the UNC itself leaked this
video so as not to deal with a much
larger problem when one appreciates
that the Prime Minister has said
absolutely nothing about claims that
the Life Sport Programme is funding
criminal and gang activities in Carapo.
"If the video confirms what people
suspect it to be and if the minister is
removed the government would have
extricated itself from having to explain
to the criminal elements why ghost
gangs can no longer be funded."
Saying this incident was yet another
scandal in the PP Government, Al-
Rawi said the video, which has gone
viral, appeared to have caused serious
concerns and liability to "someone who
resembles and sounds like the loudest
member of the PP Government.
"The pursuit of criminality in this
country has to start with Cabinet mem-
bers and they too have to be held
accountable for their own deeds. I can
only pray that this Government s media
campaign which requests another six
years is nothing but a dark and sick
comedy of cynicism," Al-Rawi added.
Contacted yesterday, National Secu-
rity Minister Gary Griffith said he too
had seen the video. On whether a crim-
inal investigation would be launched,
Griffith said he did not have the author-
ity to mandate the police to conduct
"I cannot tell the police what to do.
The launch of a criminal investigation
is solely for police officers. As National
Security Minister I do not play a role
in that," Griffith said.
Asked what he thought about the
video and its potential repercussions
for the Government, Griffith refused
Also contacted yesterday, acting
Police Commissioner Stephen Williams
said he had heard about the video but
had not yet seen it.
"At this point I have no comment
because at this time I have not seen
the video. I am only hearing of it,"
The story yesterday made regional
headlines, including being reported by
Guyana s StabroekNews.
PP leaked video as
diversion, says Al-Rawi
Sports Minister Anil Roberts chats with a member of staff at the Office
of the Prime Minister, St Clair, Port-of-Spain, following yesterday's
Cabinet meeting. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
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