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Friday, June 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 26th JUNE, 2014
JENSEN LA VENDE
The future of the controversial Life Sport
programme was thrown into further gloom
yesterday, after employee Curtis "Tallman"
Gibson was murderered days after he
received death threats.
Over a month ago, Gibson and two other
Life Sport officials were reported as being
put on a hit list by the criminal element
said to be attached to the programme, after
financial improprieties in the programme
were exposed and an audit into the pro-
gramme was ordered.
In an interview with TV6 earlier this
month, Ruth Marchan, the deputy director
of Physical Education and Sport at the Min-
istry of Sport, said she, Gibson, Life Sport
director Cornelius Price and two other Sport
Ministry officials' lives had been threatened.
Marchan said then that a plan by the
ministry to expel the Carapo segment of
the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen from the Life
Sport programme had resulted in the sit-
uation becoming tense, bringing with it the
threats against her life and those of her col-
Fearing for her life, Machan is reported
to have agreed to go into a police protection
Her fears reportedly came to pass around
1.15 am yesterday when one of the men she
named as being marked for death was exe-
Police said, Gibson, 42, was at his home
at Pomergrante Avenue, Malabar, sleeping
with his wife when a gunman kicked down
their bedroom door and opened fire on Gib-
Gibson, who worked at the Public Trans-
port Service Corporation (PTSC), died at
Police said he was Marchan's personal
bodyguard and they believe his death was
directly linked to his involvement in the
The programme has been marred by
claims of criminal elements prospering in
it, with one of its co-coordinators even
being held and released without charge fol-
lowing the murder of Dana Seetahal, SC on
Two weeks ago, Opposition Leader Dr
Keith Rowley claimed that the Life Sport
programme "was deliberately and rapidly
expanded to fund criminal elements in
preparation for next year's general election."
In response a few days later, Prime Min-
ister Kamla Persad-Bissessar denied that
the Government was funding criminals.
"The fact that an audit has been mandated
for the Life Sport programme is enough to
make Dr Rowley's deceptive claim baseless
and without merit," she said.
Persad-Bissessar ordered Finance Minister
Larry Howai to launch an audit into the
programme and took it away from Sport
Minister Anil Roberts, who had boasted it
was his brainchild. The programme was
then placed in the hands of National Security
Minister Gary Griffith.
Howai said recently, however, that the
audit was being held up because the auditors
were expressing concerns over having to go
into "hot spot" areas to interview some
people connected to the programme.
The programme was geared towards at-
risk youths who may not be academically
inclined but allegations of poor management
and corrupt activity were soon levelled
When the programme first received fund-
ing in 2012 it was allocated $6.6 million.
The following year it cost the State and
additional $23 million and ballooned to over
$113 million this year.
Marchan has claimed some $34 million
was paid in two tranches for maths and
English classes for the programme but no
work was done to account for the monies
The murder toll for the year stood at 210
up to last evening. (See Pages A5 and A13)
Calls to Griffith's cellphone went unan-
swered last evening and he did not return
Gunman storms Life Sport employee's house
Bodyguard slain in bed
Acting Commissioner of Police Stephen
Williams says the Police Service is being assisted
by foreign policing agencies and are being guided
by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
in the continuing investigations into the murder
of Dana Seetahal SC.
Speaking at the weekly press briefing at the
Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain,
yesterday, Williams said Seetahal's murder remained
the top priority for the police.
"The DPP has been engaged very early in this
investigation so the DPP continues to be engaged
by the investigators on this investigation. The
TTPS has sought the assistance of international
bodies and we are receiving assistance from inter-
national bodies in the investigation," Williams said.
Pressed on which foreign body was helping
them, Williams refused to do so. He said the police
also had suspects in mind but refused to identify
He also would not comment on an article in
yesterday's media which claimed police were work-
ing with two accomplices in the murder in an
effort to solve the matter.
"That investigation continues to be the number
one priority investigation for the TTPS and we
will in fact continue to do everything possible to
solve that crime," Williams said.
Seetahal was shot dead just outside the Wood-
brook Youth Facility on Hamilton Holder Street
as she was on her way to her One Woodbrook
Place apartment after leaving the Ma Pau casino
on Ariapita Avenue, Port-of-Spain, on May 4.
Residents reported hearing several gunshots fol-
lowed by screeching tyres. By the time they con-
tacted police and ran outside to check, they found
Seetahal slumped over the steering wheel of her
Volkswagen Touareg. She was pronounced dead
at the scene.
Today marks 55 days since the killing and no
arrests have been made despite a $3.5 million
reward being offered. JL
in Dana case---CoP
VIGIL FOR VICTIMS
Residents of East
walk along St
Paul Street last
night during a
candle light vigil
for those who
lost their lives
recently in their
Isha Wells. (See
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