Friday, February 23, 2018

Cold response from constituents about MP


nothing bad to say: Gemma “DJ Swanky Gemma” Richards speaks to the Express at her Mootoo Lands home in Arima yesterday. —Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY

Mark Fraser

Constituents of D’Abadie/O’Meara have mostly negative feelings about their MP, Anil Roberts.

Only one person had good things to say about the Sport Minister yesterday.

“God is the judge. I cannot judge nobody. We all have sinned and fallen short. He without sin should cast the first stone and I have a glass window so I am not joining anybody to say anything bad,” said Gemma Richards, 62, as she responded to allegations levelled against Roberts.

Roberts was suspended from his political party the Congress of the People (COP) on Monday night.

An individual resembling Roberts has been featuring in a controversial video rolling a marijuana joint.

Despite his recent problems however, Richards yesterday defended Roberts.

“Whatever they doing in Parliament that is politics and I am not into that. As far as I know he is one of the best public figures I have dealt with. He made a promise and he kept it and I respect that,” Richards said.

Richards, who has the distinction of being this country’s first female disc jockey, said Roberts has helped many children in the area.

In his four years in office he was able to fund some 237 children going to school, Richards said.

In 2010, 27 children were sent to school with Roberts’s assistance, followed by 66, 62 and 82 in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively.

“I am not picking up for him but I will speak about the good he has done for the children. He helped the children as he said he would before he got elected and I pray to God asking him to guide him (Roberts),” Richards said.

Richards, from Mootoo Lands, however is a voice in the wilderness in her defence of Roberts.

Originally from Laventille, Richards was a self-proclaimed diehard supporter of the People’s National Movement (PNM).

When Roberts walked in the area in the build up to the 2010 general election seeking votes she greeted him wearing her PNM red jersey.

Others, however, tell a different side to Roberts.

“He talked a good talk before he was elected then when he got into office he spit us out like a plum seed,” Jerome David, 66, said.

David said Roberts did nothing to enhance the Samaroo Village Recreational Ground which is a stone’s throw from his (Roberts’s) office on O’Meara Road.

“That is the most hurtful thing. His lackadaisical response to the concerns about the recreational ground. Only ole talk,” David said.

Michael McKenzie, 69, said Roberts should step down pending an investigation into the video.

“He should step down and let the investigation take place. Once the investigation is completed he can always come back, he will get more respect that way. He is a young man, he can always come back once exonerated,” McKenzie said.

“His response so far. His blaming others. Don’t pass blame, that will make me feel you are guilty,” he said.

Samuel Wallace, 42, said Roberts should step down because the allegations being levelled against him especially as he is a Sport Minister are serious.

“He is the Minister of Sport. He should step down, the things he is being accused of are a bad example for the youth,” Wallace said.