Diego Martin North/East MP Colm Imbert said yesterday he was “scandalised” by allegations that public money from the Ministry of Sport Life Sport programme was finding its way into the hands of alleged criminals.
“I haven’t heard a word from the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Sport,” he said. “If any of the allegations that are reported in the Express are true, that alleged criminals have been hand-picked by the Ministry of Sport and given large contracts and are the beneficiaries of millions of dollars of taxpayers’ funds on a monthly basis, and that these people are squatting on State lands and are being encouraged and facilitated by arms of the Government, if any of that is true, then that is a shocking development.
“And I am calling on the Prime Minister, the head of the Government to deal with issues raised in the Express articles about the use of funds, the beneficiaries and management of the Life Sport programme,” he said.
“This thing is attracting international attention and there is already a belief among people in the diaspora that the Government is funding quasi-terrorist organisations in Trinidad and Tobago. I am not casting any aspersions or accusing them of anything. I am just saying that if any part of what is in the Express is true, the Prime Minister must speak about this and speak now,” he said.
Asked about the PNM’s past links with the Jamaat-al-Muslimeen, Imbert said the article focused on the Life Sport programme which was something created by this Government. “The PNM did not create the Life Sport programme. I have always heard about this nebulous Life Sport programme and I wondered what it was. I am looking at $113 million and ‘ghost gangs’. What’s going on? This is not a creature of the PNM. It is a creature of the People’s Partnership. They are the ones who have to answer,” Imbert stated.
A special investigation by the Express revealed that the Carapo-based Jamaat-al-Muslimeen is controlling the lion share of the Ministry of Sport’s $113 million Life Sport programme.