LifeSport requests $32m more

By Asha Javeed

For 2014, the Government has already allocated just over $267 million on the LifeSport programme.
And in the proposed Supplementation of the Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2014, the Ministry of Sport has requested $32.8 million more to meet its expenses.
If the $32.8 million is approved, LifeSport — which targets criminal elements — would cost taxpayers almost $300 million in 2014.
The Sunday Express reported yesterday that the government took loans to finance the now controversial LifeSport programme, which targeted criminal elements for rehabilitation. The Government did not fund the programme through its recurrent expenditure but took loans from the commercial banking sector since its cost had gone beyond what was originally budgeted.
The loan for the LifeSport programme was taken by the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT).
Under the heading “Transfers to State Enterprises”, $154,133,000 was transferred to the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) for “Repayment of TT$77.2 million loan re: Pathway Programme”.
That would take the total sum transferred to LifeSport in 2014 to $267 million exclusive of the proposed $32.8 million increase requested.
According to the proposed Supplementation of the Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2014, the Ministry of Sport has made two requests:
1. $8,800,000 for The Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago to pay an outstanding sum of $8.8 million, which was accrued when the Life Sport Programme was initiated by SPORTT in 2012.
2. $24,000,000- Pathway Programme-LifeSport- Funds are required to meet the anticipated commitments for the operations of the Programme to the end of the fiscal year.

The programme, which was started in 2012, had a budget of $6,647,000.
LifeSport pays $1,500 a month to “criminal elements” to get them interested in sports. A daily meal allowance of $75 is catered for but a contract is usually given to a catering company to provide meals for the participants.
According to Ministry of Sport officials, the programme is supposed to exist in 33 centres and have 60 people.
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