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Griffith on Life Sport invitation to politicians: No negotiations with criminals
We will not negotiate with criminals in any way. This was the message National Security Minister Gary Griffith is sending to certain members of the controversial Life Sport programme who invited politicians to visit them at Carapo, Arima, to prove there were no criminal elements in the programme. The invitation was also extended to Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert, who was severely critical of the programme in Parliament last week.
Griffith, in an interview yesterday, scoffed at the invitation, saying: “These people getting on too ridiculous now. “Any child would see there are questionable activities going on in Life Sport and they behaving as if it is the best thing since sliced bread. They are trying to fool the country that there are no criminal connections in Life Sport... that is undermining the intelligence of this country and they are fooling no one.” He described the invitation as a “cosmetic arrangement,” saying it would be an attempt to get away from the fact that there were ghost gangs and financial impropriety taking place in the programme. But he admitted that all was not lost, as there were some youths who benefited from the programme and he intended to continue to harness the positive elements from it. “I intend to foster discipline in Life Sport because this is something that is badly lacking,” Griffith added.
On Friday scores of supporters of the programme demonstrated outside Parliament in Port-of-Spain, demanding that Life Sport should not be scrapped. They also pledged their support to Sport Minister Anil Roberts, saying he had been instrumental in keeping youths in troubled communities off the streets. Roberts is the MP for D’Abadie/O’Meara, which includes the Carapo community. Saying this was a reflection of the “indiscipline” plaguing the programme, Griffith added: “That shows total indiscipline and there is no room for that. I would ensure there is no indiscipline in the Life Sport programme. “The fact that the Prime Minister saw the need to put the programme under the National Security Ministry shows political will,” Griffith added. On the issue of evidence of corruption within the programme Griffith said he had received numerous files and intended to pass them on to the relevant authorities. “I have been bombarded with numerous documents and I intend to pass everything on to the auditors. From there we will see,” Griffith said.
On the claim that Independent Liberal Party chairman, Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner, would be passing on files about Life Sport to acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, the top cop said he knew nothing about that. “I don’t know anything about Mr Warner’s involvement with Ruth Marchan or about any files,” Williams said. Marchan, the deputy director of Physical Education and Sport of Life Sport, has been reported to be in a safe house provided by Warner after her bodyguard, Curtis “Tall Man” Gibson, was shot and killed on Thursday while in bed at his Malabar home. On Friday, the T&T Guardian reported that for safekeeping Marchan had given Warner her laptop computer with all the details of the murder plot against her. On the reported death threats against Marchan, Williams said that matter was still being investigated.