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Moonilal: Shaq coming back
Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal says US basketball legend, Shaquille O’Neal, was brought to T&T by private businessmen and not at the expense of taxpayers. He said so in response to questions during the CNC3 Morning Programme yesterday. The visit of O’Neal was “sponsored by private corporate sponsors,” Moonilal added. He said those sponsors would like to remain anonymous for fear of being targeted.
O’Neal was flown in last weekend to launch an anti-crime initiative, called Hoop for Life, in depressed communities, including Beetham Gardens, Port-of-Spain. A basketball competition, with a first prize of $1 million, is part of the initiative. Moonilal said the event, the Shaq initiative, was sponsored by the Ministries of Housing, Marine and Land Affairs, National Security and Sports.
He said O’Neal’s presence had a positive impact on the people involved. Moonilal said O’Neal was expected to return to T&T but did not elaborate or say when. Dealing with another social programme, Colour Me Orange, he said that initiative had significantly reduced crime in Port-of-Spain and San Fernando in December last year.
He said when the Government “investigated why that was so, many persons told us it was (because of) the Colour Me Orange Programme.” He said many people in other parts of the country, including Sangre Grande, were complaining of not having such a programme in their community. He said the usual critics of such initiatives were people with money and food on their tables.
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