Wednesday 21 October, 2020

Anil Roberts is back!

Anil Roberts may return to the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago as a Senator for the United National Congress (UNC).

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar said on Monday night that she will appoint the former Minister of Sports to the Senate as she delivered her feature address at her party's Monday Night Forum.

The announcement came on the heels of the High Court quashing the audit into the controversial LifeSport programme.

In delivering her judgment in favour of the Claimants, High Court Judge Justice Mira Dean-Armorer ordered the following:

(i) A Declaration that the Central Audit Committee comprising the Defendants infringed the Claimants’ right to natural justice in relation to the conduct of the Audit into the LifeSport Program;

(ii) A Declaration that the Audit in relation to the LifeSport Program was made and/or concluded and/or published in breach of the mandate of the Central Audit Committee and/or in breach of the legitimate expectation of the Claimants;

(iii) And a Declaration that the failure of the Central Audit Committee comprising the Defendants to specifically inform the Claimants, before the making and/or publishing of the Audit Report into the LifeSport Program, of the respective adverse allegations and/or findings and/or conclusions, was done in breach of the Claimants’ right to be heard and/or is procedurally unfair.

She also ordered the Defendants to pay the Claimants’ legal costs for the bringing of the Judicial Review proceedings.

Former permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sport Ashwin Creed and three former directors of the LifeSport programme, Cornelius Price, Theodore Charles and Ronnell Barclay, in November 2014, filed for judicial review of the Ministry of Finance’s Central Audit Committee’s (CAC) report into the defunct LifeSport Programme published on July 24, 2014.

It was under Roberts' term as Minister of Sport that the LifeSport programme was established. 

Following the publication of the audit which showed wanton expenditure, Roberts was forced to resign from the People’s Partnership Government and has kept a low public profile until Monday night.

Surprising UNC supporters when he appeared at the Monday Night Forum, Roberts, standing out in a sea of yellow in his white shirt, said he felt vindicated.

He said he waited two years, 27 months, to talk.

"When something is before the  court, you must hush, you must respect the court," he said of his previous silence.

Accusing public servants of fabricating lies in the audit report to get the UNC out of office, Roberts insisted that LifeSport was aimed at helping young African youth most at risk. 

"We tried to give them an opportunity for them to come off, put down the gun and move into productive work," he said.

In her address, Persad-Bissessar welcomed back the former Minister stating that she wanted to put him back in the people's house of the Parliament.


Related articles:

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Young 'very angry' over wasted $$







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