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Anil Roberts should have been fired rather than
having to resign.
This was the collective cry of the PNM and trade
union leaders following the announcement by Prime
Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that she had
accepted Roberts resignation.
In an immediate response, the PNM s public
relations officer Faris Al-Rawi said it was scandalous
that the Prime Minister, as head of the National
Security Council, had to accept Roberts resignation
as opposed to having him dismissed.
He said that was especially so, given the fact
that the allegations of corruption and financial
impropriety in the Life Sport programme had been
an issue which occupied national interest since
"This issue must have been the subject of serious
discussion at the highest level of the Cabinet and
the National Security Council.
"It is sceptical that it took public outrage for
the Prime Minister, who heads the National Security
Council, to relieve the population from the scandal
that is the Life Sport programme by accepting the
supposed resignation of Mr Roberts," Al-Rawi
He said there must be further "anxious scrutiny"
into the programme and the serious issue remained
the State s perception to deal with any backlash
of financial support from the State to alleged crim-
"The Prime Minister needs to speak on our
nation s national security preparedness on all fronts
and would do well to explain to the nation why
she did not seem to accept the Minister of National
Security s public criticism of the Life Sport pro-
gramme in the face of her seemingly open support
for Mr Roberts.
"There are serious allegations arising in respect
of the URP and Hope of Life which the PNM shall
be prosecuting in the public s interest," Al-Rawi
National Security Minister Gary Griffith said he
had no comment to make.
We feel vindicated
Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union
(BIGWU) president Vincent Cabrera and Joseph
Remy, president of the Communication Workers'
Union also questioned whether Roberts had
resigned or was in fact forced to do so.
Cabrera, Remy and leaders of other trade unions
protested outside the Ministry of Sport, Abercromby
Street, Port-of-Spain, around 10 am yesterday
demanding that Roberts "must go."
Commenting on the resignation Cabrera said
many members of the public joined yesterday s
protest and also added their voices to the call for
Roberts to be booted.
"So we would have gained momentum by our
action and we believe Mr Roberts was forced to
resign," Cabrera added.
Echoing his sentiments Remy said he felt vin-
dicated adding that Persad-Bissessar was supposed
to fire Roberts.
"We hope this would be the beginning of an
exodus of ministers who have tampered with the
public s purse," Remy added. See Page A5
Friday, August 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
calls Anil quits
After mounting calls and an online peti-
tion calling for his removal, Sport Minister
Anil Roberts has resigned.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
announced Roberts resignation and her
decision to accept it as she addressed the
weekly post-Cabinet media briefing at the
San Fernando Teaching Hospital.
Persad-Bissessar also announced Science
and Technology Minister Dr Rupert Griffith
had been assigned the Sport Ministry, in
the interim, in addition to his present port-
folio until a suitable replacement is found.
Her announcement follows the findings
of the financial audit into the controversial
Life Sport programme.
The audit, which was laid in Parliament
last week Friday, unearthed widespread
corruption prompting her to terminate the
Persad-Bissessar said there was enough
evidence to warrant a probe by the Director
of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the acting of
Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Com-
mission and the head of the Public Serv-
ice.Delivering her statement at yesterday s
briefing, said: "I continue to be disillusioned,
disappointed and distressed by the level of
deception and dishonesty associated with
the well intentioned Life Sport programme."
Prior to her statement there was spec-
ulation that Roberts was going to be
removed from the Cabinet.
At 3.15 pm, after reporters were invited
to the Teaching Hospital for 1 pm, the Prime
Minister entered the conference room where
journalists were waiting for the briefing.
She presented cheques to the Emanci-
pation Support Committee and four rep-
resentatives of Islamic organisations and
told journalists not to leave. She hinted she
had more to say later and they should wait.
Shortly after 4 pm press secretary Francis
Joseph returned to the conference room
and announced that acting Energy Minister
Dr Bhoendratt Tewarie and Foreign Affairs
Minister Winston Dookeran would make
announcements at the briefing and they
would be followed by a statement from
At 4.30 pm Persad-Bissessar emerged
and delivered her brief statement. She did
not take questions.
In her statement she said she had "resist-
ed quick judgment and rash decision" and
had demonstrated "patient allowance for
all sides of the story to be heard through
an independent audit" and had "allowed
due process to occur."
However, she said, the election of the
Peoples Partnership Government had
changed the political landscape and "the
expectations of the public that something
will be done when wrongs are committed
in public office are now the hallmarks of
In this vein, she said: "I have decided to
accept the offer of resignation as Minister
of Sport from Anil Roberts."
She said she had advised acting President
Timothy Hamel-Smith that with effect
from yesterday, in accordance with the pro-
visions of section 3 (9) and 79 (1) of the
Constitution, that Roberts s appointment
as Minister of Sport be revoked and that
Griffith be assigned the responsibility for
Ministry of Sport in addition to his present
She reminded reporters that at the hint
of corrupt practices she immediately ordered
that the programme be switched to the
Ministry of National Security and instructed
an independent audit be conducted.
See Pages A5, A6 and A7
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, centre, receives the Child Protection Task Force report yesterday from the organisation's
chairman, Diana Mahabir Wyatt, second from right, and members of the Child Protection Task Force at the San Fernando Teaching
Hospital Chancery Lane, San Fernando. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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