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Lecturer Dr Winford James: Govt has lot of baggage in Anil

Published: 
Thursday, July 31, 2014

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar can choose to revoke Sport Minister Anil Roberts’ appointment or keep him, but the question is on what basis she might do either one, says lecturer Dr Winford James. Speaking yesterday on whether the PM can keep Roberts after the Life Sport issue, he added: “The question is whether she should do either one, and whichever direction she takes, she has to have justification for it. “The evidence is clear he wasn’t monitoring what was going on in his ministry and if he wasn’t doing it, he’s not suited for the job. I don’t know how he can report (on things) if he’s not paying attention. 

“On that basis alone, she can remove him. “That she has not removed him suggests she is not satisfied he was not doing the ministry’s business—but she has run into an anti-sentiment wall. 
“Since her ratings are good the best course will be to get rid of him, as there is no advantage to keeping him. He did not win by a large margin—about 1,300 or so votes—so it’s not as though he is a real asset, and his conduct leaves a lot to be desired. Government has a lot of baggage in Roberts.”

James said there was also culpability on the Government’s part since it should have been seeking reports on how the Life Sport and other programmes were doing and Cabinet was the best place for this. James added: “The Life Sport issue is the straw that will break the camel’s back in the electorate’s eyes. I don’t know how the PP can come back from this one, and other errors are to be revealed. This Government does not seem to know how to govern, and it comes from a mindset they have. “I don’t think the COP will make any difference. Roberts, being a COP, should have adhered to his party’s wishes (to step down) but he’s a maverick.”

Political analyst Dr Bishnu Ragoonath said: “She can keep him if she wants to, but it will be at a political price. The decision is hers. It’s her prerogative.” On whether the COP’s calling for him to go would make any difference, he added: “No, it won’t make a difference. The Prime Minister is in charge of the PP. “I think one of the biggest things that came out of the recent COP election was that COP is so divided within itself, nobody will seriously take them on again.” On why Persad-Bissessar hasn’t acted against Roberts yet, he said: “I think she may be keeping him to give the PNM picong in Parliament.”

PNM: Fire him, please
Meanwhile, PNM general secretary Ashton Ford, on behalf of the PNM’s Arima constituency executive, has called on the Prime Minister “to rid the Cabinet of this cause of extreme national embarrassment, this horrific excuse of a government minister, that is, Anil Roberts. He added: “There has been too much controversy over far too many sordid affairs and dealings surrounding this individual and to keep him as part of your leadership team is to drive a nail into your own political coffin. “We believe he is one of the poorest excuses for a government minister and we will do our part to ensure that the likes of him never again gets elected by an unsuspecting public, into any Parliament.” “But while we wait that time, we appeal to your own sense of right from wrong, Madam Prime Minister, and we ask that you free this nation from this day of rueful regret. Fire this man, please, Madam Prime Minister.”