Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 2nd 2014 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 1st JULY, 2014
A story on Page A5 in yesterday's T&T Guardian
reported that Kevin Alexander had been
murdered and his body found in a track at
Calvary Hill, Arima.
In fact the man who was killed was not Mr
Alexander but 29-year-old Daniel Hernandez.
Our apologies for the error and for any distress it
may have caused.
Life Sport funding will be kept on a tight
leash and there are firings ahead.
That s the word on the controversial Life
Sport programme from Finance Minister
Larry Howai and National Security Minister
Both ministers spoke about the pro-
Howai told the Senate that additional
sums allocated Life Sport will not be dis-
bursed by the Finance Ministry unless and
until the ministry was assured of the legit-
imacy of the expenses that the funds were
supposed to liquidate.
After the Senate, Griffith told reporters
people involved in financial irregularities,
"persons of interest" and those who were
indisciplined would be removed from Life
Sport after the audit of the programme
being done by the Finance Ministry.
Howai spoke about the Life Sport audit
in the Senate while piloting legislation to
supplement the 2014 budget with an addi-
tional $3.8 billion for expenditure. It includes
allocation for the programme.
Howai s ministry was mandated by the
Prime Minister in May to do an audit of
the programme after allegations of gang
infiltration, corruption, various public con-
cerns and information Griffith said he had
on the situation.
The PM also moved the programme from
the Sport Ministry and placed it under Grif-
fith s National Security Ministry.
Speaking in the Senate, Howai reiterated
his statement that the audit of Life Sport
would be completed within a fortnight.
He said the programme, when concep-
tualised, sought to teach life skills, through
sport, to the less fortunate. Cabinet had
approved the initiative and it began in 2012
with a budget of $6 million.
"At that time the programme was in pilot
phase, planning and start-up mode with
participants, coaches and venues yet to be
fully identified," he added.
Funding was subsequently increased to
facilitate expansion from the initial three
sites to 43, he added.
"In order to get the programme going a
loan was arranged, which was partially
repaid, and the funding to liquidate the
remaining amount was included as part of
the budget," Howai said.
Noting various allegations levelled at the
programme and its administrative staff, he
said the Sport Minister had spoken at length
on those issues.
Howai added: "As far as the ministry s
involvement goes, the Prime Minister has
requested an audit of the programme and
this is currently in train.
"I am fully cognizant of the concerns that
are in the public domain regarding Life
Sport. We share those concerns but we have
to be sure we do not pre-judge or indeed
prejudice the work of the auditors.
"While I understand that time is of the
essence, it is my intention, in the interest
of accountability and transparency, that no
stone be left unturned in the investigation
of this programme.
"I have therefore asked that the audit of
Life Sport be done with complete and utter
thoroughness. I expect to receive the report
from the auditors within the fortnight and
then and only then can a way forward be
He added: "Suffice it to say, however,
that the additional sum allocated here for
Life Sport is yet to be disbursed and will
not be disbursed by my ministry unless and
until the Ministry of Finance and the Econ-
omy is assured of the legitimacy of the
expenses that the funds are supposed to
However, Independent Senator Helen
Drayton said she had no confidence that a
full audit report would be made public or
anyone held accountable if evidence of
wrongdoing were found. (See Page A10)
Howai: Tight leash
for Life Sport $$
...and firings coming'
National Security Minister Gary Griffith told
reporters he was awaiting the outcome of the audit
to start making big changes in the programme.
He said controversial Life Sport community co-
ordinator Rajaee Ali s presence in the programme
and those of certain other officials may be cut after
People s National Movement (PNM) MP Colm
Imbert last week said Ali should be fired and noted
that certain officials had "insulted and humiliated"
Griffith after the minister voiced concerns about
Asked if Ali was still with the programme, Griffith,
noting the audit is still ongoing, said: "There may
be people who may need to be fired and not just
based on questionable financial irregularities but
"Blatant acts of indiscipline also... when you see
persons who hold senior posts as programme direc-
tors making adverse statements about the govern-
ment and ministers, when you have a special adviser
to a minister attacking a minister, that shows indis-
"One of the principles I want in the Life Sport
is discipline so those persons who are indisciplined
will be removed forthwith. Also those involved in
questionable irregularities and persons of interest
will also be removed."
Griffith said nothing like that should be done
until the audit was conducted. He felt the programme
had a lot of positives and intended to keep them
as many youths benefited from it and it must con-
Griffith also said he had no involvement with MP
Jack Warner s recent action over death threats to
a Life Sport official.
He said if anyone had concerns about criminal
activity, that information should not be given to an
MP but to the police and any evidence involving
a laptop should be given to the Police Commissioner,
not an MP. (See Page A11)
Heads will roll
GETTING IT RIGHT
Minister of National Security Gary Griffith, left, chats with Minister of Finance and the
Economy Larry Howai during yesterday's Senate sitting. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
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