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PM denies rumour of Anil’s sacking
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar yesterday dispelled rumours that she had dismissed Sport Minister Anil Roberts from her Cabinet. For most of yesterday, there had been rumours circulating that Roberts had been fired. However, addressing the issue shortly after she officially opened the new Piarco Police Station, Persad-Bissessar said, “Really? Who fired him? I am still awaiting the report, the rumours are not true.” The report she was referring to was an auditor’s report on the Sport Minister’s brainchild Life Sport Programme, which began last month.
Finance Minister Larry Howai ordered a probe into the programme after discrepancies in the disbursement of funds were raised and claims it had been overtaken by criminal elements. When the programme first received government approval in 2012, it was allocated $6.6 million, which was increased by $23 million one year later. By 2014, the programme allocation had shot up to over $113 million. Asked yesterday if she had spoken to Roberts about the programme before the audit was ordered Persad-Bissessar said yes, but would not divulge anything more. She said she is expected to receive the report this week.
Roberts was suspended from the Congress of the People (COP) last month, over his refusal to co-operate with a team investigating the controversial ganja video issue. In the video, a man resembling a government minister is seen rolling what is believed to be a marijuana cigarette alongside two women in a hotel room. Roberts has refused to confirm or deny whether he is the man in the video and after public debate raged over the video, has since refused to deal with it, telling the media the matter is in his lawyers hands.