Monday, January 22, 2018

Outstanding loans for LifeSport

 Even though LifeSport has been terminated, Government still has to repay millions of dollars in loans it had taken to fund the controversial programme.

Sixty-eight jobs, which cost the Ministry of Sport close to $700,000 a month were also lost when Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar terminated the LifeSport programme on Friday.

And as of July 3, 2014, the LifeSport had to pay $8,941,752.05 with a balance of $148,570.34 in its account at First Citizens.

The Sunday Express obtained a list of the salaries and positions which were created for LifeSport. 

There was a programme director, two assistant programme directors- one for operations and another for administration. There were five managers—n accounting manager, a research manager, a project manager, a human resources manager and an administrative manager.

LifeSport employed 18 guidance officers at a cost of $190,800 a month and six community outreach officers were paid $36,000 a month.

The total wage bill at LifeSport’s office was $697,800 a month which was separate from the co-ordinators’ fees for the programme.

Forty-three co-ordinators were paid $30,000 a month which works out to a total of $1.29 million.

The participants were paid $3,088,500 a month in total.

On June 26, $13,259,643.92 was signed off by a ministry official to cover expenses and salaries for LifeSport for that month.

By July, the list of outstanding cheques that the Sunday Express obtained, amounted to $8,941,752.05 which was exclusive of costs for staff and co-ordinators.

Outstanding cheques are owed to the National Insurance Board, the Board of Inland Revenue, Columbus Communications, and multiple contractors for janitorial and maintenance services.

LifeSport, which was funded through Government loans, has cost taxpayers some $400 million. The loan for the LifeSport programme was taken by the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT).

The Sunday Express understands that even though the programme has been shut down, Government is still stuck with loans it had taken to fund it.

For 2014, Government allocated just over $267 million. A further $33 million was approved in the Supplementation of the Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2014.

The Sunday Express understands that of the $33 million, while salaries for the month of July will be met with the allocated sum, the rest will revert to the Consolidated Fund.