By CLINT CHAN TACK Friday, August 1 2014
DECLARING “good riddance”, on learning that Anil Roberts had tendered his resignation as Sport Minister and, according to sources, also as D’abadie/ O’Meara MP, Opposition and PNM leader Dr Keith Rowley yesterday said public pressure on the Life Sport scandal forced Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to accept Roberts’ resignation.
Speaking shortly after Persad-Bissessar announced her acceptance of Roberts’ resignation at the post-Cabinet news conference at the San Fernando Teaching Hospital, Rowley said her ability to protect Roberts had ran out.
Saying the country will now be spared having the “indignity” of Roberts in the Cabinet and Lower House, Rowley said, “He should have been held accountable (for Life Sport) and dismissed.”
Rowley said it was crystal clear that mounting public pressure forced Persad-Bissessar to accept Roberts’ resignation and the country should not be fooled into believing otherwise.
He claimed the PM is prepared to protect certain persons in Cabinet for as long as possible, notwithstanding concerns raised about these persons.
Stating the Life Sport scandal will not end with Roberts’ resignation, Rowley said he cannot accept that Persad-Bissessar, Roberts and Finance Minister Larry Howai’s expression of surprise by the findings of the Finance Ministry’s audit into Life Sport, laid in the House on July 25.
Reiterating the PNM’s call for a forensic audit and criminal investigation into Life Sport, Rowley said Howai himself has “questions to answer” about how expenditure in that programme grew from $6 million to $400 million.
He said to date, the public is none the wiser about the source of funding for Life Sport.
Saying it is clear Life Sport is operating without proper controls, Rowley alleged the People’s Partnership used the now defunct programme as a political mechanism to marshal support and expand its influence along the East/West Corridor.
On Government’s plans to resurrect Life Sport, Rowley said the PNM is not opposed to any initiative that will bring relief to persons who need help the most.