Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2014 Contents A5
Saturday, June 28, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-
Bissessar must deal not only with
the Life Sport programme, but also
say why the Carapo Jamaat-al-
Muslimeen---accused of infiltrating
the programme---is building a
structure on state land "financed"
by Government and has an armed
"I m being told this armed militia
is being financed by the Govern-
ment. Where are they getting this
money to build this infrastructure
in Carapo and why isn t the Minister
of State Lands dealing with the
growing presence of this criminal
enterprise in Carapo?" People s
National Movement (PNM) MP
Colm Imbert asked yesterday.
Piloting a motion on the Life
Sport programme in Parliament,
Imbert trained verbal guns on Sport
Minister Anil Roberts and Carapo
Jamaat member Rajaee Ali as he
sought to have Roberts censured for
"facilitating through the Life Sport
programme the funding of criminals
and criminal enterprise."
Imbert based his delivery on var-
ious newspaper reports on the Life
statements by National Security
Minister Gary Griffith, concerns on
Life Sport in the 2012 Auditor Gen-
eral s report and a 2013 memo from
the Finance Ministry to the Sport
Ministry citing concerns about Life
Imbert said Griffith had known
the Carapo Jamaat had a 250-strong
armed militia "posing a growing
threat to T&T s security" and had
said in reports that the "Carapo fel-
las" had killed senior counsel Dana
"What is the Prime Minister
doing about this?" Imbert asked.
Calling Life Sport a cancer, Imbert
added, "Roberts must take full
responsibility for this wanton crim-
inality in Life Sport.
"The programme is out of control:
rampant ghost participants, cor-
ruption, contract issuing and bogus
companies, several payments to the
same bank account, people being
threatened, ...reporting death threats
to the police ... people being killed."
On the murder of Curtis Gibson,
reportedly the bodyguard of Sport
Ministry official and Life Sport exec-
utive Ruth Marchan, he said while
MPs were in Parliament debating
additional funding for Life Sport
between Wednesday and Thursday,
Gibson was being murdered---the
day after police said a probe into
death threats against Life Sport offi-
cials was under way.
"The bullet that killed Gibson
isn t a typographical error, the dis-
appearances of Sport permanent
secretary Ashwin Creed for months
isn t a typographical error, the
engagement (in Life Sport) of some-
one accused of murder and who was
an escaped prisoner and had been
named by the Security Minister as
being involved in a series of murders
in east Trinidad isn t a typographical
error. Those are facts," Imbert said.
Imbert said the Finance Ministry s
2013 memo to the Sport Ministry
said one Hugh Grant had executed
contracts for the Sport Ministry s
permanent secretary, although the
PS was the ministry s sole account-
He said the memo also noted a
letter of engagement with one Rajaee
Ali for ministry services as com-
munity co-ordinator from January
2013 and the letter had Ali s signa-
ture both as permanent secretary
and as community co-ordinator.
Imbert added, "This is the fella
from the Carapo mosque. Ali signed
both as employer and employee.
They really running the show inside
Noting Ali had demanded that
Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley
should apologise for saying Ali s sig-
nature was on the letter, Imbert said,
"Let me deal with Mr Rajaee Ali
once and for all.
"I saw him grinning on TV. In
my years as MP, criminal elements
have come into my constituency
office attempting to intimidate me
and I know the type very well."
He said Ali was a former mur-
der-accused, a jail escapee once
described as armed and dangerous
and was the person Griffith was
referring to when Griffith said crim-
inals had infiltrated the Life Sport
programme. Imbert said in reports
Griffith had also described Ali as a
"don" and "godfather," allegedly
linked with certain eastern murders.
Expressing concern over the
Jamaat s alleged militia and noting
statements by US official William
Brownfield that Dana Seetahal was
murdered by a transnational drug
organisation with ties to T&T,
Imbert said, "The National Security
Minister can t keep his mouth shut.
He knows what s going on, he knows
this Rajaee Ali fella is the prime sus-
pect in Seetahal s murder, so he
blurts it out and also says Brownfield
echoes his views on the murder."
"I hope the Life Sport programme
has fired Rajaee Ali by now," Imbert
He complained that a music truck
with "menacing- looking people"
had been driving along Wrightson
Road yesterday with music blaring
that "There is no Fraud in Life
Imbert quipped he might suffer
the same fate as Seetahal.
An angry Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert walks out the Parliament
chamber yesterday, after being ordered to leave by House Speaker Wade Mark
for an outburst during the sitting. PHOTO: MICHEAL BRUCE
While the controversial Life Sport pro-
gramme was being debated in Parliament
yesterday, scores of participants gathered
outside the Waterfront Complex in Port-
of-Spain urging that it be maintained.
With placards in hand, some saying "No
Ghosts," they insisted the programme was
used to keep troubled youths off the streets
and provide a better life for them.
One of the programme s coaches, Jackson
Charles, said if there were corrupt elements
he would welcome the move to immediately
weed them out.
He said it was a pity that Life Sport was
being "broad brushed" to portray it as only
being used to fund criminal elements. This,
he insisted, was far from the truth.
Charles, who said he was a former national
basketball coach, added, "You cannot come
and generalise and stigmatise a whole pro-
gramme because of a few.
On the allegations that monies were being
alloted to criminals in preparation of next
year s general election, Jackson dismissed
"People does make allegations...you can
say the media is bias towards which party
is in power. The young men who come to
the programme must not suffer because of
"We know as coordinators we are sure to
get jobs for them," Jackson added.
He said the supporters were not about
causing trouble but collectively showing their
support. One of the co-ordinators of the
programme, who asked to remain anony-
mous, echoed Charles s sentiments, saying,
"What criminal element? Life Sport is there
to help the youths from 16 to 25 years who
do not have a work.
"So what is it the Opposition saying...that
everybody between 16 to 25 is criminals? If
whoever say that man is a criminal, that
means you have evidence and you are not
doing you job as the protective service of
T&T. Lock up the criminals," he said.
Don't shut programme down beg participants
Imbert: 250 strong Jamaat on state land
PP financing armed militia
PNM MP Colm Imbert said
yesterday he did his own audit of
two Life Sport programmes and
found 90 "ghost participants" in
two centres and had seen the
situation himself after visiting
He said $90,00 was paid monthly
for 60 participants but 40 were
unaccounted for at one centre. At
another centre, where the same
amount was paid, for 60 people,
only ten were present and 50 were
Imbert also claimed an additional
$80,000 was paid for catering
services and there were only 10
people, so the food was given away.
He said the 10 participants at one
centre did nothing in either the
morning or evening sessions of the
Imbert reiterated concerns raised
in the Auditor General's 2012 report
on Life Sport and others in 2013 by
the Finance Ministry. He called on
Government to probe companies
known as SOS West Indies Ltd,
Nishal Construction and
Maintenance Co Ltd, D&B
Engineering and Home and Interior
Furnishings to find out how many
got Life Sport contracts and how
many were bogus.
FINDS 90 GHOSTS IN PERSONAL AUDIT
During yesterday's sitting of
Parliament, Opposition MP Colm
Imbert was ordered to leave the
Chamber by Speaker Wade Mark
after being cautioned several times.
After being ordered out the
House, the Diego Martin
North/East MP shouted acrosss
the chamber as he packed his
things to leave, saying he had been
threatened by Life Sport hooligans
and some were taking it as a joke.
"My life is being threatened and I
can't talk," he shouted to the
He also said it was only when a
gun was pointed at someone's face
that the person would really
understand the seriousness of the
situation. As he left the House
later on he flashed his trademark
Imbert's eviction from the
Chamber was to expire at 5 pm,
but the sitting was adjourned long
before that time.
TIRADE LEADS TO EXPULSION
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