“Does being so far out at sea in a small pirogue require courage?” I ask him.
Twenty-six-year-old Simba Garraway chuckles.
Newly-appointed Sport Minister Dr Rupert Griffith says he is ready and raring to go.
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian yesterday, Griffith said one of his first mandates was to meet with staff to discuss the ministry’s various portfolios and determine whether they were in line with the objectives of the ministry.
“I intend to meet with senior management to look at what they are doing in terms of the objectives, action plans and how best we can align them to the ministry and chart a way forward,” Griffith said.
Griffith has replaced former sport minister Anil Roberts.
At a post Cabinet press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said she had accepted Roberts’s resignation over the revelations of an audit into the Life Sport programme, which fell under his purview.
The audit, which was laid in Parliament last Friday, unearthed widespread corruption prompting the prime minister to terminate the programme immediately.
Persad-Bissessar said there was enough evidence to warrant a probe by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), the acting Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Commission and the head of the public service.
Griffith, who already holds the position of minister of science and technology, has been assigned the sport ministry in the interim until a suitable replacement is found.
Saying he felt very proud to be chosen by the Prime Minister, Griffith admitted there were challenges in the ministry and said he was more than capable of handling them.
“The sport ministry is very critical and important and I am anxious to get there and the get the work done,” Griffith said.
Asked how he intended to “clean up” the ministry given the public’s perception of corruption, Griffith said this would give the impression that the ministry was dirty and he was not “going down that road.”
PNM’s public relations officer Faris Al-Rawi said there was no doubt the appointment of Griffith would occupy the minds of many.
“He is nondescript at best and he, not being a member of the Cabinet, doesn’t seem to be a minister of the People’s Partnership Government who represents himself in any fore running capacity.
On the acceptance of Roberts’ resignation by the Prime Minister, Al-Rawi said this was muddled and confusing.
“This is much in the same way as the Prime Minister’s non-acceptance of the serious allegations of corruption in the Life Sport programme which has been in the public domain since October last year,” Al-Rawi said.
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