Chanting “no ghosts, no ghosts”, participants in the LifeSport programme staged a fiery demonstration outside the Parliament yesterday as heated debate took place inside the chamber on the controversial programme.
“All kinds of money missing all round the country, not only LifeSport. Money missing all about! We have no problem with that. What we saying is we keeping some (money) for the youth,” one coach from San Fernando, Ossie McKnight said, when he was asked for a response to Opposition charges about corruption in the programme.
Calister Chubby David, an “elder” in the LifeSport programme, said: “A few days ago the Opposition and Government passed two bills— one for the retirement of judges and one for the politicians. Those who serve ten years or more shall receive $60,000 a month and those who served $18 years would receive at least $800,000, “ he claimed, inflating the amounts considerably. “No one here do not have an objection to that. Why then should people have objection to LifeSport which is a pittance, the crumbs of the land,” he said.
This brought cries of “small money man” from his followers.
“Why should anyone oppose the poor people and say $1,500 is too much for them,” David said. “How could the politicians alone want to eat all the food while we stay hungry?” he asked.
McKnight said he wanted “Madam Prime Minister” to know this: “We put yuh dey. These (youths) is the future of the country. The country under pressure. The youth and dem rebelling, dey frustrated, allyuh (in Government) do something and deal with this problem, ...We not about no violence. We not about no nutten. We trying to bring the youths together.”
“Madam Prime Minister, deal with the people who put yuh in power. Allyuh shunning alllyuh back. But allyuh coming next election to people to vote for allyuh,” he shouted.
McKnight said the group of LifeSport participants organised their transport to the Waterfront “from we pocket, the co-ordinators, the coaches, the supervisors, plus the maxi men in the area, do it for free, cause they know we plight”.
“So we organise and mass the troops,” McKnight said.
“What we want the Prime Minister to know, what we want the parliamentarians to know (is) that we is black people in this country, we have a aim, we have a mission. We want something for the youths of this country. Allyuh want to close down LifeSport! Allyuh must put things in place for the youths! When allyuh close down LifeSport, what yuh want we to do? ... Dem (the participants) coulda been shooting and killing people. ... We want something for the youths and we want it now!”, McKnight said.