Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2014 Contents GAIL ALEXANDER
Sports Minister Anil Roberts has told
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
he has never used drugs, including mar-
ijuana, during his tenure as minister and
"never taken, used or experimented with
illicit or illegal drugs or ever been involved
in any form or fashion with prostitutes."
Persad-Bissessar, in a statement last night,
said Roberts gave that explanation to her
in a letter on Tuesday in relation to the
controversial ganja video matter.
And on the basis of this, the PM says she
has no reason to remove Roberts from her
Cabinet at this time.
The video arose in the public domain just
over three weeks ago. It showed a person
resembling a government minister rolling
a substance believed to be marijuana into
a cigarette in a hotel room with two women.
Roberts had refused to confirm or deny
to the media whether he was the person in
But after revealing the contents of
Roberts s letter yesterday, the PM said: "After
considering the strong denials made by the
Honourable Minister and having regard to
the fact that there exists no evidence to
corroborate any of the allegations made
against Minister Roberts, I find that there
is no matter arising which requires my con-
sideration at this time."
Roberts has remained mum on the video,
save to vehemently accuse the Opposition
People s National Movement (PNM) of being
behind "the mischief."
However, the Congress of the People
(COP) suspended him from the party after
he blocked an investigating team s moves
to investigate it.
COP s executive began exploring severing
ties with him permanently, adding Roberts
should step down as a minister until the
allegations were cleared. COP chairman
Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan then said the
ball was in the PM s court.
After the suspension, Roberts was absent
from Parliament last Friday and also from
last Thursday s Cabinet meeting. He was
present at yesterday s meeting, sources said.
Roberts Sport Ministry is also at the cen-
tre of an audit by the Finance Ministry con-
cerning allegations about its former Life
Sport programme. National Security Minister
Gary Griffith was reported to have said he
had concerns and information on that.
On May 24, Persad-Bissessar cut the pro-
gramme from Roberts ministry and trans-
ferred it to National Security, ordering the
audit. Finance Minister Larry Howai says
the audit will be completed in about three
In yesterday s statement, the PM dealt
primarily with the issue of the "ganja" video.
She said: "There has been a clamour in
some quarters for me to have taken imme-
diate action in relation to allegations made
against Minister of Sport Anil Roberts.
"I have demonstrated in the past on many
occasions that I do not hesitate to act in
addressing any matter but I m also measured
in the decision I arrive at through careful
thought, always allowing deep process to
"I have the authority to make many deci-
sions every hour as Prime Minister but I
do so always with consideration of what is
right and fair, conscious always that with
great authority, comes great responsibili-
ty."She said she had allowed the COP to
address the matter involving Roberts, "as
is their right to so do.
"Having allowed due process to take place
and in receipt of a full report from Minister
Roberts, I am now in the best position to
make public, my position regarding these
"I am not judge or jury. I can only weigh
the statements made by any member of my
government against the evidence or lack
thereof presented to me. I hold fast and
true to the inviolable principle of the pre-
sumption of innocence until proven guilty."
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The Prime Minister has tried to exculpate Sport
Minister Anil Roberts, says People s National
Movement (PNM) PRO Faris Al-Rawi.
He made the comment moments after the PM
announced that she was taking no action against
Roberts in the now controversial ganja video mat-
ter.He said: "After nearly four weeks of public con-
sternation exacerbated by the failure of Anil Roberts
to confirm or deny he s the person in what has
been described as the ganjagate video, the Prime
Minister now seeks to exculpate Mr Roberts.
"Certainly I m not surprised by her position in
so far as it must be a very frightening prospect for
the Prime Minister as the head of a decaying Gov-
ernment, to come to grips with the prospect of
watching member number 20 of the PP fall.
"This is all the moreso a dreadful prospect in
light of the revelations of the reputed rat infestation
gripping the PP.
"The court of public opinion will certainly have
a decision to make when general election is held."
Al-Rawi said the PNM is also now awaiting the
PM s explanation between the National Security
Minister s concerns over the Life Sport programme
and the Sport Minister s denials on that.
The Congress of the People s leadership last
week suspended Roberts over his failure to co-
operate with a probing team on the video.
Contacted on the PM s decision last night, COP
leader Prakash Ramadhar s assistant said he was
unavailable. He didn t return calls on the issue
COP leadership contender Carolyn Seepersad-
Bachan, meanwhile, asked to see the PM s statement
then didn t answer calls after.
When T&T Guardian called again, her assistant
said she was addressing a cottage meeting in Sangre
Grande and was not available.
Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David
Abdulah said: "The court of public opinion is very
clear and has determined Mr Roberts should not
hold public office on the basis of the Life Sport
issue and as well a clear inference conveyed on the
video clip. The Prime Minister will be judged in
the court of public opinions.
Independent Liberal Party (ILP) founder Jack
Warner said: "The Prime Minister has insulted
T&T once again. I think as a consequence she will
pay a deep price for it. She has copped out on the
Friday, June 13, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Anil stays in Cabinet
She said Roberts wrote her on June 10
categorically denying the use of illicit
drugs and attested his innocence.
She quoted from Roberts' letter:"'I
confirm that I have not used any drugs,
inclusive of marijuana, during my tenure
as Minister of your Government. It is with
great sadness that I have watched a
relentless media campaign designed to
defame, hurt and disrespect not only me,
but my wife, children and unborn child, as
well as my constituents, my government
and you, my beloved Prime Minister.'"
Regarding the video, the PM said
Roberts refuted the notion that it
represents any evidence of misconduct or
criminal activity, or that any verification of
such can be made.
She said Roberts's letter went on to add
the following: "'The production of the
video is an extreme form of mischief
which places one in an unenviable place to
'defend' oneself by making statements
and pronouncements that in turn will be
used in tandem with the video of dubious
origin and delayed production to condemn
She said Roberts also described as
"unsubstantiated" the allegations of the
Life Sport programme, adding he awaits
the outcome of the Finance investigation.
Persad-Bissessar said Roberts's
statement concluded as follows:
"Honourable Prime Minister, as your
Minister of Sport, as your member of
Parliament for D'Abadie/O'Meara, your
supporter and patriot who has served my
beloved country as a former national
swimmer, a former national footballer and
a national Olympic medal-winning coach, I
assure you that I have never taken, used
or experimented with illicit or illegal drugs,
nor have I ever been involved in any form
or fashion with prostitutes as has been
implied by Dr. Keith Rowley.
"I certainly have not treated lightly with
the trust and confidence in which you
have reposed in me and I remain at your
The PM said: "The investigation initiated
by the Honourable Minister of Finance,
Larry Howai, on the allegations within the
Life Sport programme will continue
aggressively until a determination is
made. (See Page S5)
for 12th JUNE, 2014
PM will pay price
PM accepts MP's denial of wrongdoing
Sports Minister Anil Roberts
Roberts: I've never
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