Sunday, February 25, 2018

‘People will go to jail’

Warner puts Marchan in safe house pending police investigation...

Deputy Director of Physical Education and Sport at the Ministry of Sport, Ruth Marchan, said yesterday she was now in a safe house provided by Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner.

“Everybody is fighting for their life now. Their way of hushing me up was to kill me. But the answers are all in their phones. Everybody will pay a price,” she said of the Ministry of Sport officials who she claimed had plotted to kill her.

Marchan claimed her life was in danger after she exposed corruption in the LifeSport programme.

Asked why she chose to hand over her laptop with sensitive information to Warner and not to the police, Marchan said she had her reasons for doing so which she did not want to share with the media just yet.

For now, Marchan said she would stay in the safe house, pending the outcome of the police investigation into her matter. 

The Express was unable to get confirmation from Warner yesterday.

Marchan, a public servant, is on vacation from the ministry until August 12.

She said she would not resign her position because she did not create the situation she found herself in.

“They will have to pay me off if they want me to go,” she told the Express in a telephone interview yesterday evening.

She said it was too early to make such a decision since she was confident in the outcome of the police investigations before she reports back to work.

“I was treated unfairly. They will have to pay me off or extend my leave until this matter is resolved,” she said.

Marchan chose to go to the media with the story of death threats against her because she felt the information in the public domain was her protection. Her bodyguard, Curtis Gibson,  was murdered in his Malabar home last Thursday.

“My case is very different. I was threatened. I have evidence of it. I have given it to the police. I have had the texts published,” she said when asked why the ministry should make an allowance for her plight.

She identified three senior officials at the Ministry of Sport who were intent on silencing her because of the information in her possession.

Instead, she has opted to keep the information to give her leverage should situations demand it.

“When this is finish, people are going to jail. All of them. It’s either they will kill me or I will them. My best bet was the public domain,” she said on her new status as an information power broker.

She said she was not prompted by permanent secretary Ashwin Creed to go public but made that decision all on her own.

“This is like a Hollywood movie. There are more things to unfold,” she said.

The funding and recipients of LifeSport were identified in an investigative series by the Express newspapers. Following the stories, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar directed Finance Minister Larry Howai to initiate an audit into the programme and transferred it out of the Sport Ministry to the Ministry of National Security. National Security Minister Gary Griffith said LifeSport will now be directed by the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. 



 n The leave of absence of permanent secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Sport Ashwin Creed ended yesterday and he is expected back at work today.

Asked if he will show up to work tomorrow, his lawyer Peter Taylor said in a text message: “He instructs that when his business abroad is completed he will be available.”

As PS, Creed is the ministry’s accounting officer but he has not been present while an audit is being conducted into how funds in the LifeSport programme were spent.  

LifeSport’s expenses since 2012 have amounted to about $400 million.

Creed has been in and out of the ministry since April. He has to make annual declarations to the Integrity Commission.

The Express was told that Creed will probably proceed on early retirement leave.

Head of the Public Service Reynald Cooper told the Express that Ian Ramdahin was the acting PS in the Ministry of Sport.

The Express has been unsuccessful in reaching Sport Minister Anil Roberts or Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar for comment.