Roberts: Life Sport story misleading
By JOEL BAILEY Wednesday, July 23 2014
SPORTS MINISTER Anil Roberts yesterday described a story in yesterday’s Express and Monday’s edition of the CCN TV6 News, as “misleading”. The Express and TV6 stories claimed a person whose alias is “Jim John”, benefitted with close to $2 million in cheques from the controversial Life Sport programme.
The Life Sport programme was recently moved, by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, from the Sports Ministry to the Ministry of National Security, while an audit is currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Finance, following allegations of financial irregularities and ghost gangs.
At a media conference yesterday at the Ministry of Sport on Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, Roberts said, “Life Sport is an organisation separate and apart from the Ministry of Sport. Life Sport has its own logo, its own organisation structure, its own directors, its own bank account (and) bank, its own cheque and its own signatories.
“Therefore the cheque shown by (Express and TV 6 reporter Mark) Bassant as a Life Sport cheque is totally fallacious, wrong, misleading. That is a Ministry of Sport cheque,” Roberts said.
About allegations made by “Jim John” that he got his cheques at the Sports Ministry’s office, Roberts responded, “nobody walks into the Ministry to get pay. Life Sport is implemented by the Sports Company on Henry Street (Port-of-Spain).”
The Sports Minister made it clear that his response, which was published in yesterday’s Express, was from a first question posed by Bassant at a previous media conference last Friday, and not from his (Bassant) second question, “which deals with these allegations.”
To back up his claims, Roberts played a pair of recordings of the media conference held at the Ministry’s office last Friday.
The Minister stressed, “to come here and to state with some fella who claims that he could come by the Ministry of Sport, collect cheques (worth) millions of taxpayers dollars easy, through Life Sport, when that is not true at all, is very mischievous!
“And I have written to MATT (Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago) and I take this rather seriously,” he added.
“This sort of thing is unnecessary, it hurts many people across the board and it is basically untrue.”