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PM on why she didn’t fire Anil: No third party came forward

Thursday, June 26, 2014
COP Leader Prakash Ramadhar, left, and his predecessor, Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Dookeran listen attentively during Finance Minister Larry Howai’s presentation during the sitting of Parliament, yesterday. Dookeran is supporting Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan for political leader in Sunday’s election. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says she has not dismissed or asked Sports Minister Anil Roberts to step down in the wake of the airing of the controversial ganja video because no third party has stepped forward. 



Speaking during the debate of the first report of the Finance Committee of the House of Representatives in Parliament yesterday, Persad-Bissessar said when she dismissed other ministers in the past there were third parties involved, including the police, court and victims of alleged wrongdoings by her ministers. She said those matters are different from Roberts’s issue and ought to be dealt with differently. 



“They ask ‘Why didn’t you deal with Anil Roberts?’ The answer is in those matters there were third parties involved and with this minister it was this minister alone, no other corroborating evidence with respect to this minister,” Persad-Bissessar said. The PM was referring to her recent decision not to fire Roberts after he denied he ever used illicit drugs or fraternised with prostitutes in a letter to her on the now controversial video. 


His letter came after a public outcry for his dismissal in the wake of the video, which showed a man resembling a Government Minister rolling a marijuana cigarette in a hotel room with two women. Roberts said the production of the video was an extreme form of mischief.


The PM said in the other instances, which included the dismissal of Mary king, Colin Partap and Herbert Volney, her Government took action. She asked the Opposition why they failed to do likewise when there were glaring levels of impropriety with third party evidence against their members.


Since the video was aired publicly, the People’s National Movement (PNM) and several trade unions have called for his dismissal, while his own Congress of the People (COP) has suspended him for failing to assist them in their investigation into the veracity of the video.