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Al-Rawi: He should have been fired

Published: 
Friday, August 1, 2014

Anil Roberts should have been fired rather than having to resign. This was the collective cry of the PNM and trade union leaders following the announcement by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar that she had accepted Roberts’ resignation. In an immediate response, the PNM’s public relations officer Faris Al-Rawi said it was scandalous that the Prime Minister, as head of the National Security Council, had to accept Roberts’ resignation as opposed to having him dismissed.

He said that was especially so, given the fact that the allegations of corruption and financial impropriety in the Life Sport programme had been an issue which occupied national interest since last October. “This issue must have been the subject of serious discussion at the highest level of the Cabinet and the National Security Council. “It is sceptical that it took public outrage for the Prime Minister, who heads the National Security Council, to relieve the population from the scandal that is the Life Sport programme by accepting the supposed resignation of Mr Roberts,” Al-Rawi added.

He said there must be further “anxious scrutiny” into the programme and the serious issue remained the State’s perception to deal with any backlash of financial support from the State to alleged criminal gangs. “The Prime Minister needs to speak on our nation’s national security preparedness on all fronts and would do well to explain to the nation why she did not seem to accept the Minister of National Security’s public criticism of the Life Sport programme in the face of her seemingly open support for Mr Roberts. “There are serious allegations arising in respect of the URP and Hope of Life which the PNM shall be prosecuting in the public’s interest,” Al-Rawi said. National Security Minister Gary Griffith said he had no comment to make.

We feel vindicated say unions

Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU) president Vincent Cabrera and Joseph Remy, president of the Communication Workers' Union also questioned whether Roberts had resigned or was in fact forced to do so. Cabrera, Remy and leaders of other trade unions protested outside the Ministry of Sport, Abercromby Street, Port-of-Spain, around 10 am yesterday demanding that Roberts “must go.” 

Commenting on the resignation Cabrera said many members of the public joined yesterday’s protest and also added their voices to the call for Roberts to be booted. “So we would have gained momentum by our action and we believe Mr Roberts was forced to resign,” Cabrera added. Echoing his sentiments Remy said he felt vindicated adding that Persad-Bissessar was supposed to fire Roberts. “We hope this would be the beginning of an exodus of ministers who have tampered with the public’s purse,” Remy added.