Don’t disadvantage the poor and middle class.
That was the Opposition’s appeal to Government yesterday on the eve of today’s 2017 budget delivery.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar refused yesterday to say whether or not she has spoken to Sport Minister Anil Roberts about the infamous video featuring a man resembling a government minister rolling a marijuana cigarette in a hotel room with two women. And with regards to the controversy surrounding the Life Support Programme, which was moved from Robert’s ministry to the Ministry of National Security, Persad-Bissessar said she was awaiting the results of an audit before deciding what action to take.
Persad-Bissessar spoke briefly with reporters on these two issues as she was leaving the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha annual Indian Day Arrival celebrations in Debe yesterday. Asked if action had been taken against Roberts in the multi-million dollar programme issue, Persad-Bissessar said: “No action at this time because the audit is being undertaken and according to the results of that audit then we will make a decision with respect to the Life Support Programme,” she said.
Announcing the transfer of the multi-million dollar programme at the People Partnership’s rally last week, Persad-Bissessar said a full audit would be conducted by the Ministry of Finance. Her announcement came amidst allegations that the programme’s funds were being misspent and also being used to fund criminal activities. On the issue regarding the video, Persad-Bissessar said she was hoping for a feedback on a meeting Roberts was having with his political leader about the video.
Roberts is a member of the Congress of the People (COP), led Prakash Ramadhar. However, on Thursday at a meeting with the COP’s chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and other executive members, Roberts refused to comment on the video, saying it was in the hands of his attorneys. Asked if she inquired from Roberts if he was the person in the video, Persad-Bissessar said: “Sport Minister Anil Roberts is meeting with the leader of his party and I am sure we will get some feedback after that meeting.”
Asked if he would then meet with her, Persad-Bissessar said: “I meet with him all the time, he is in the cabinet and a Member of Parliament.”