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Warner urged sports minister to starve football of funds
Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner told Sports Minister Anil Roberts to stop providing funds to the T&T Football Federation (TTFF) earlier this year, Opposition Leader Keith Rowley said yesterday. peaking in the budget debate in Parliament, Rowley read part of an April 20 letter, allegedly from Warner—who was works minister at the time—to the sports minister.
Rowley said this had happened at a time when footballers are in dire straits, “because the minister instructed the sports minister not to give them funding—and he is a person who is banned from having anything to do with football.“
Rowley said he wanted to know what FIFA had to say about this development and claimed the Sports Company found $864,000 to house nine Cuban coaches “in premises procured under shady circumstances, with the rent for unfurnished premises being paid one year in advance “
He said, “The minister must tell the country if all of this ill-treatment of the country’s footballers has anything to do with the letter he received from the former FIFA vice president, who has been banned from football, but who, in his current position as a minister of government, writes to the minister of sport requesting that the TTFA be starved of funds.”
He added, “The Eddie Hart ground, which the corporation maintained virtually for free all these years, has been passed to the Sportt Company so that questionable contracts for hundreds of thousands of dollars could be awarded to a Mickey Mouse company which is not even VAT-registered.”
Questioning Government’s continued army/police patrols, Rowley said there was an undeclared state of emergency in some areas. He said this could not be done without the necessary power. He expressed concern about National Security Minister Warner discussing the police’s covert operations in public, wearing army fatigues and congratulating officers after fatal confrontations with alleged transgressors.
Rowley warned Warner off speaking about any threat to his life. He said when he recently received a threat he reported it to the police and did not tell his family. But he said Warner later revealed it in public and the covert probe into the threat is now compromised.
On the gaming industry, Rowley said, “The time has come for this country to shift focus from ritualistically increasing taxes on an undeclared gaming industry whilst not admitting that a thriving casino-gambling industry exists. In the absence of properly enforced gaming control regulations, the casino-gambling industry is a real business sector open to criminal activity such as money-laundering.
“The critical attention should be centred on effective tax collection and regulation. If we continue to turn a blind eye to this problem, under the pretence that casino gambling is illegal here, then we may soon attract the attention of the FATF [Financial Action Task Force], which will make demands and place deadlines on us, with dire consequences for non-compliance.”
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