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Rowley open to Carapo visit

By SASHA HARRINANAN Tuesday, July 1 2014

click on pic to zoom in
Dr Keith Rowley...
Dr Keith Rowley...

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Keith Rowley says he has “no problem” in going to Carapo to find out what’s going on there, in terms of the highly controversial Life Sport programme. “When we take our oath of office as Members of Parliament (it) says that you are required to treat fairly with all manner of men, without malice or ill-will. And if there is knowledge to be garnered by visiting a programme which taxpayers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on, I see no problem in (that),” Rowley said.

He was responding yesterday to an open invitation issued to all politicians by supervisor of the Life Sport Project Devon Cummings, during an interview with Sunday Newsday, for them (politicians) to get a firsthand look at the Carapo-arm of the programme.

Saying there has been “so much unpleasantry arising out of (Life Sport),” Rowley said, “if persons involved in the programme want to show us what it’s doing, I don’t see why we can’t look at it. However, I am yet to be convinced that the programme as a solution, is not creating a new problem of its own.”

The programme, described as the brainchild of Sport Minister Anil Roberts, was transferred from Roberts’ ministry to the National Security Ministry in late May following allegations of corruption and claims of death threats against ministry officials and persons involved in the programme. At the same time, an audit of the programme was ordered by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

While Rowley expressed his willingness to visit Carapo, he also made repeated calls for Finance Minister Larry Howai, to explain how Life Sport was funded over the past two years.

“The person who can answer that question is the Minister of Finance and he has been studiously silent. He came to Parliament asking for $3.8 billion last Friday and among that $3.8 billion was more money for this programme,” Rowley said.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Opposition Leader’s office on Charles Street, Port-of- Spain, yesterday morning, Rowley questioned how the programme was funded last year and this year.

Rowley was later asked what he thought of Chaguanas West MP and Independent Liberal Party (ILP) leader Jack Warner, providing a “safe house” for Deputy Director of Physical Education and Sport in the Sport Ministry, Ruth Marchan, who has claimed a threat has been made on her life as a direct result of the Life Sport Programme. “Isn’t that worrisome?” he replied.

“My understanding is that if there is a problem of that nature, you look to the police. That alone should be cause for concern...that a public officer who says there are threats and that she has evidence of threats, can make that evidence available to someone else and the police appear not to be interested,” Rowley said.

Marchan has provided Warner with her laptop computer, said to contain details of the murder plot against her.

Warner told Newsday the information from the laptop will “eventually” be passed on to law enforcement officials. Referring to this, Rowley asked, “is this a Government laptop? If it is and it was given to the Member for Chaguanas West, is that an appropriate place for it to be? Secondly, is that laptop evidence? If it is evidence, where is the police?”

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