Prime Minister, Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s full statement on the resignation of Sports Minister Anil Roberts
The PM took no questions from the media at the post Cabinet press conference at which she read the statement.
“I continue to be disillusioned, disappointed and distressed by the level of deception and dishonesty associated with the well intentioned Life Sport programme.
The background is well known. At the hint of corrupt practices, I immediately ordered that the initiative be switched to the Ministry of National Security and instructed an independent audit be conducted.
After the findings of this audit were made available, I instructed that the report be sent to the Acting of Commissioner of Police, the Integrity Commission, the Head of the Public of the Service and the DPP 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 Life Sport programme.
I have allowed due process to occur; I have demonstrated patient allowance for all sides of the story to be heard through an independent audit.
I have given careful consideration to the rapidly emerging issues and have resisted quick judgment and rash decision.
The election of this government has changed the political landscape. The expectation of the public that something will be done when wrongs are committed in public office is (sic) now the hallmarks of good governance.
Consequently, I have decided to accept the offer of resignation as Minister of Sport from Mr. Anil Roberts.
Further, I have advised His Excellency, the Acting President of Trinidad and Tobago, Timothy Hamel-Smith that with effect from today Thursday July 31st 2014 in accordance with the provisions of section 3 (9) and 79 (1) of the Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago that the appointment of Anil Roberts as Minister of Sport be revoked and that Dr Rupert Griffith be assigned the responsibility for Ministry of Sport in addition to his present duties as the Minister of Science and Technology.”
The no nonsense Prime Minister has been cleaning out her Cabinet of officials deemed unfit by her. The majority of cases dealt with corruption. An unprecedented 11 ministers have been fired since Persad –Bissessar took office.
In March the Prime Minister orchestrated the revocation of the ministerial appointment of Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh.
He was the Minister of the People and Social Development.
Ramadharsingh became the subject of negative attention following allegations of disorderly behaviour on board a Caribbean Airlines (CAL) flight from Tobago.
A 12th minister, Jack Warner, left of his own volition amidst allegations of financial impropriety, following the Concacaf Ethics Committee report.
The People’s Partnership Government has not yet completed four years in office.
Out of the 11 people fired, four were axed in response to specific allegations. All of the Ministers were fired for corrupt practices or inappropriate behaviour.
In May 2011, Mary King became the first Minister to be dismissed following allegations of conflict of interest in the award of a contract.
Next in line was Minister in the Ministry of National Security Collin Partap in August 2012, following allegations that he refused to take a breathalyser test after leaving a nightclub.
One month later, then Justice Minister Herbert Volney was given the boot, for allegedly misleading the Cabinet over the Section 34 fiasco.
Apart from having a specific infraction levelled at them, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has also fired ministers for apparent non-performance. In these instances she gave the vague reason of Cabinet re-organisation.
In June 2011, Subhas Panday, Minister in the National Security Ministry, was relieved of his portfolio in the first Cabinet reshuffle, along with Therese Baptiste-Cornelis and Nan Ramgoolam. They were all senators and were replaced by Devant Maharaj, Verna St Rose-Greaves and Nicole Dyer Griffith (who was a parliamentary secretary).
By the next reshuffle in June 2012, St Rose-Greaves was out, along with John Sandy and Dyer Griffith. In came Jamal Mohammed and Marlene Coudray.
Mohammed’s appointment was however short-lived. He was fired in September 2013 and replaced by Gerry Hadeed.
In September 2012, when Volney was fired, Christlyn Moore was appointed. Moore’s appointment was terminated in September 2013 when Gary Griffith was appointed National Security Minister. Griffith replaced Jack Warner who had resigned in April of that year and was temporarily replaced by Emmanuel George.
In firing Ramadharsingh last March, the no nonsense Prime Minister had stated that “There must be no compromise on integrity, no allowance for arrogance, no room for violation of mutual respect; there will be no sacrifice of our values on the altar of political expediency.”
“Regardless of whether the decisions I take hurt me politically or not, I have the strength and courage and independence of mind to measure every tough decision on the basis of what is right and just…No one is exempt from the measure of value based leadership.”
“I hold no brief for any man or woman save the greater public interest. I am always aware of the higher expectation upon which this Government was elected and the immense responsibility each of us has to uphold public trust in all we do every single day of our lives. It is not a responsibility we can choose to have one day and lose the next,” she stated.”
“I am reminded of Gandhi’s identification of one of seven social sins as being “politics without principle” I have insisted from the moment we took office that everyone of us must display a sound character of public integrity, fairness, humility, compassion and human dignity,” stated Persad-Bissessar.
She stated further that no man, nor woman, has been allowed and will not be permitted to deviate from the very principles upon which her Government was elected by the people into office.
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