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Creed denies wife got Life Sport contract

Wednesday, July 16 2014

ASHWIN CREED, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sport, yesterday denied that his wife or any member of his family had received contracts in the controversial Life Sport programme.

His denial was contained in a letter read into the record of Hansard on the instruction of Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith.

The letter was written by a lawyer representing Creed, and dealt with allegations that Creed’s family had benefitted from contracts in the programme.

PNM Senator Faris Al-Rawi had stated in the Senate that he had been “advised” that Creed’s wife had received a $6.75 million contract.

“Mr Vice-President, I am putting this on the record and I want the Members of this Senate to listen,” Al-Rawi said on July 1 in the chamber during debate of a budget supplementation bill. “I am advised that the catering contract amounting to $6.75 million that the beneficiary of that contract, I am advised, is the wife of the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Sport.” He said $75 was being spent for a lunch.

The Senate President, under practices which are invoked whenever a member of the public would like to have their side of the story recorded, said he had received a request for correspondence to be read into Hansard and had approved it.

At the start of the Senate sitting, Hamel-Smith asked a clerk to read the letter, which had been addressed to him. The letter was penned on Creed’s behalf by attorney Ravi Rajcoomar, of the Port-of-Spain-based Invictus Chambers.

“Permit me to advise on an issue that has arisen in Parliament and in which matter I am instructed by Ashwin Creed, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Sport,” Rajcoomar said. The attorney noted the press had reported on Al-Rawi’s contribution, and had, “set out an argument by the honourable Senator Faris Al-Rawi in his contribution to the Senate that my client’s wife is the recipient of a contract from Life Sport programme.”

Rajcoomar stated, “I am instructed that this argument is entirely false. My client’s wife and, in fact, no member of my client’s family are the recipients of any contracts of any form or type under the Life Sport programme. Therefore, I ask that this letter, and my client’s denial, be read into Hansard.”

Minister of Finance, Larry Howai, did not immediately respond to queries yesterday over the status of a ministry audit of the programme. The audit was due to be completed last week but its completion was reportedly postponed by one week in light of further unspecified developments.

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