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PLOT TO KILL

By NEWSDAY STAFF Tuesday, June 10 2014

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TWO TOP officials of the Ministry of Sport yesterday stated there is a plot to kill them in relation to issues surrounding the controversial Life Sport Programme, formally under that ministry’s remit but now under the Ministry of National Security.

Ruth Marchan, Deputy Director of Physical Education and Sport, told Newsday of death threats directed at her via cellular phone text messages. She linked these threats to what she said was her central role in the Life Sport programme. She has had to seek refuge abroad.

Another official, Cornelius Price, Director of the Life Sport programme, stated he had been told by national security officials that death threats were directed at him. He too has had to take forced leave.

Marchan, 34, told Newsday that she is living in fear. “I am being targetted because I would not condone corruption in the Life Sport programme,” Marchan told Newsday. “I am afraid because of these threats when all I have done is what I am supposed to do.”

Asked if the plot to kill her was reported to police, Marchan said ‘no’. Marchan said she has opted not to report the matter to police after she reported it to a senior Sport Ministry official for action and was given the assurance that the matter is being taken care of.

Marchan said she decided to go public with the plot to kill her so should she be killed by unnatural means, the general public would know and be aware that her demise came because of her stance in not condoning profiteering by persons in the Life Sport programme.

Marchan said she discovered a trail of text messages dated between April and May which indicated she was being viewed as a “threat” by top officials in relation to her involvement in the Life Sport programme.

Marchan said she found the messages after she discovered that her phone had gone missing from her desk recently. “I took someone’s phone, whom I suspected has had a problem with me, because of the progress I had been making at the ministry,” Marchan stated. “To my surprise I saw my name being called,” she said. The plan, according to Marchan, was for her to be taken down in a hail of bullets similar to that of prosecutor and former Independent Senator Dana Seetahal. A price of $100,000 was placed on her (Marchan) head.

Marchan gave an outline of what she said was her role in relation to the Life Sport programme. She said she was the “life” behind the programme, with her duties including: budgets of each project; implementation and execution. “I do everything,” she said.

Marchan told Newsday she believes her life has been spared to date, because of her good relationship with the people on the ground.

“It is because they are good with me that they were able to tell me of this plot to have me liquidated, along with others in the ministry. I deal with them one-on-one and they have developed a connection with me,” Marchan said.

She pointed out that since nothing has been done to protect her, she has sought protection by hiring two police officers, with money paid from her own pockets, to guard her. Marchan is calling on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to personally look into this plot to kill her (Marchan) and others, because of their anti-corruption stance.

Director of the Life Sport programme Cornelius Price, yesterday confirmed there was a threat to his life. “I was told by the national security forces that there is a threat on my life and because of that I have been given a certain level of security,” Price said. Like Marchan, Price said he has an idea where the threats are coming from and while he is unwilling to call names, he can confirm that some came from persons associated with the Life Sport programme.

Marchan said a third top official had also been subject to threats has been forced to stay away from work.

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