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Rowley reveals: • Jamaat Life Sport coordinator signed document as permanent secretary • $180,000 donated for funeral

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

RAJAEE ALI signed a document submitted to the Ministry of Finance in both his position as the co-ordinator of the State-funded Life Sport Programme and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Sport, Dr Keith Rowley said yesterday.

Rowley made this disclosure yesterday as he addressed a mass demonstration at the Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain.

The issue of Ali signing as permanent secretary was among several instances of alleged “racketeering” taking place at the Sport Ministry, including a “donation” of 180,000 to a funeral, which Rowley highlighted yesterday.

Rowley read a letter dated June 12, 2013, which he said was from the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Sport.

In the letter, the Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary queried “in bold” the Life Sport’s co-ordinator signing as the permanent secretary of the Sport Ministry.

“The letter bears the signature of a certain gentleman who has been named in the newspaper as manager of the Sport Life Programme, his name is there and he is signing as permanent secretary and community co-ordinator,” Rowley said.

“So when I tell you the Cabinet has collapsed and the Public Service has collapsed when a community co-ordinator, who the papers is telling us has questions to answer, he is signing as permanent secretary,” he said. 

“The Ministry of Finance and the Economy is very concerned about the inconsistencies in invoices submitted for payment, most notably in respect to the fact that the new invoices are being generated in lieu of the respect of the original invoices to appropriately certified,” Rowley read from the letter yesterday.

Rowley also read the Auditor General’s report into the Sport Ministry which stated that $180,000 was “donated to the funeral arrangements for one individual”.

“They thiefing money when you alive and when you die, $180,000 of taxpayers money went as a contribution to a funeral,” Rowley said.

He said in 2011, the Cabinet approved the funding of the Sport Life Programme to the sum of $53 million. That figure has reached “almost $120 million now” Rowley said.

“That money has been finding its way into all kinds of hands of people to buy guns and ammunition and to enrich all who involved and I can tell you I was on a platform a month ago and told you that a permanent secretary had to run from the country post haste, because when you play with dogs, you have to be afraid of the fleas,” Rowley said.

Rowley said it is because of this funding of criminals Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was afraid to take action against Sport Minister Anil Roberts even in the face of video evidence of wrongdoing.

“The prime minister is afraid of the minister because the minister has built up a militia which threatens the prime minister,” Rowley said.

“This government is saying to not believe what you see, do not believe what you hear, just give them a pass and a bligh and let’s move on,” he said.

Rowley said what made matters worse is the government’s defence of Roberts.

“When I know that this country has reached is when the government issues an official statement in defence of the minister saying that this is character assassination on the part of the opposition and to make matters worse they have addressed none of the fundamental issues, the arrogant government has the gall to tell you that having said what they said in that statement they have nothing more to say,” Rowley said.

Rowley said he will stand up for this country.

“For this country I stand up proud and when I fall I fall for this country  I will fall proud,” he said.

Rowley said the country has hit a new low with reports that CCN TV6’s senior investigative journalist Mark Bassant has gone into hiding because of death threats.

“When the media is afraid to report to you what is going on then you have lost your last line of defence,” Rowley said.

 

Several civic and political groups as well as ordinary citizens went to Port of Spain yesterday for the Joint Trade Union Movement’s (JTUM) “mother of all marches”. Among the marchers were:

 

- The People’s National Movement (PNM) 

- The Independent Liberal Party led by Jack Warner

- Former People’s Partnership coalition member, the Movement for Social Justice, led by David Abdulah

- The Banking, Insurance and General Workers Union (BIGWU)

- Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and civic entities, including Fixin’ TnT

- The Highway Re-Route Movement (HRM)

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