Above: Port of Spain (CJ Photo)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Trinidad and Tobago Sport Minister Anil Roberts has resigned, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced.
Roberts’ resignation came after a controversy involving the LifeSport programme, an initiative originally aimed at using sport to help disadvantaged youth.
Roberts was the driving force behind the programme, which has been beset by allegations of millions of dollars in misused funds.
Persad-Bissessar said that she had earlier immediately ordered the initiative be switched from the Ministry of Sport to the Ministry of National Security and ordered an independent audit, following what she called “the hint of corrupt practices.”
Following the audit, she asked that the report be sent to the Acting Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Commission, the Head of the Public Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions for “consideration.”
“But even as we await the finding of these independent institutions on the matter, the usual duties of the Minister of Sport are being burdened with the mounting controversy and questions surrounding the LifeSport programme,” she said. “I continue to be disillusioned, disappointed and distressed by the level of deception and dishonesty associated with the well intentioned LifeSport programme.”
Roberts denied any wrongdoing in a resignation letter.
“It is quite unfortunate that I’m forced into this position because I don’t want to have a negative impact upon my team, the People’s Partnership Government,” Roberts said. “Having done absolutely no wrong whatsoever, having not been mentioned not even once in a flawed Central Audit Report, in which the Auditors at the Ministry of FINANCE deviated from the Audit norms, by not allowing the relevant departments in question to respond to their findings and thus allowing to enter into the public domain an erroneous report.”
The Prime Minister announced that Dr Rupert Griffith had been assigned the responsibility of the Ministry of Sport in addition to his role as Minister of Science and Technology.