“DON’T play Lotto, play LifeSport”.
So said Chaguanas West Member of Parliament (MP) Jack Warner as he yesterday told of the “financial haemorrhage” in the LifeSport programme.
Warner made the statement during his contribution to the debate on a private motion in the name of MP for Diego Martin North/East Colm Imbert which asked that the Lower House censure Sport Minister Anil Roberts for facilitating the funding of criminals and criminal enterprise through the LifeSport programme.
Warner said the LifeSport programme was “big business for some” with its budget moving from $6 million to $300 million.
He said according to figures up to the year ended September 2013, the total expenses for the LifeSport programme was $150.5 million.
For the nine-month period ended May 2014, Warner said the figure was $136.1 million.
“This financial haemorrhage called LifeSport,” he said.
He said the figure for Official Entertainment rose from $304,342 in 2013 to $1.5 million in 2014.
During the same period the figure spent on Technology and Videotaping increased from $51,600 to $8.4 million.
Warner said for the month of January $1.75 million was spent on Janitorial/Clean-up in 38 LifeSport centres. He said that same month $1.9 million was paid for Maintenance Upgrades on 26 recreation grounds.
Warner said these recreation grounds are managed by the regional corporations in the respective areas.
Warner said there were several interlocking companies which were cornering certain lucrative aspects of the programme and raking in millions of dollars.
He said “Going All Out Event Planners”, Dustbin Divers Maintenance Crew” “Had Hat Construction” and “Raising the Bar” companies that received contracts from the LifeSport Programme had Perry Jerome and Susanna Hadad as their principals.
Warner said of $961,875 paid for refurbishment upgrades to LifeSport Centres in January, these companies raked in $764,000.
“It pains me, to stay here on this side and talk about having a minister censured for financial irregularities especially the Minister of Sport. You know why madam deputy speaker, it was we who talked the talk, who sang morning, noon and night about Calder Hart and Ken Julien and Uthara Rao. There was no debate that could take place in this Parliament in which those names were not mentioned and today at every corner we have a Calder Hart, today at every ministry we have a Uthara Rao,” Warner said.
Warner named a policeman and four soldiers who he said benefitted financially from the LifeSport programme.
Warner said an example of an “overnight fortune” was the Axios Advertising Consultants Ltd which made $276,000 in three months for the “provision of public relations and media liaison services for the LifeSport programme”.
Axios, whose invoices were signed by managing director Michael Kerr, charged $92,000 a month for their services.
Kerr is also known as radio personality “Mikey K”, Warner said.
Warner said DC Tent Rentals owned by Davough Cummings was paid $105,000 in June.
DC Tent Rentals is not registered, Warner said.
Warner said LifeSport was giving the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB) competition in making millionaires.
“This whole things suggests that to hit the jackpot you have to be in the LifeSport programme. Don’t play Lotto, play LifeSport,” Warner said.
Warner said Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar is flushing her legacy down the drain and he called for a forensic audit and criminal investigation to be launched into the LifeSport programme.