THE Congress of the People (COP) said yesterday it respects the decision of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to keep Sport Minister Anil Roberts but he remains suspended from the party and all party activities.
Political leader of the COP, Prakash Ramadhar, in a statement said while the PM may have arrived at her decision after Roberts’ submission to her of a written report on the “Room 201” video scandal, the COP is “disappointed” that Roberts did not do likewise with the party to which he belongs.
Ramadhar issued a reminder that Roberts continues to be suspended from all party activities.
“Mr Roberts’s initial and continuing suspension is on the basis of his failure to cooperate with the party and to provide clarity as to his presence, or lack thereof, in a video within the public domain. While the party respects Mr Roberts’ legal right to silence, it cannot ignore its greater duty to its membership and to the national community to ensure that representatives of the COP adhere to the highest standards of behaviour.
“Consequently, Mr Roberts will remain on suspension from all COP activities until he co-operates fully with the party and until he provides the clarity which the party requires to make informed decisions.”
Ramadhar said on the “separate issue of whether Roberts is guilty of wrongdoing”, the COP emphasises that the concept of “natural justice” which guarantees the right of individuals to “due process” and which presumes a person to be “innocent until proven guilty” has been and continues to be central to its philosophy.
“Against the background of this philosophy the party must respect the decision of the Honourable Prime Minister, who has relied on statements from Minister Roberts as well as on centuries of jurisprudence, including the very principle of “innocent until proven guilty”, in arriving at her decision to keep Mr Roberts in the Cabinet,” Ramadhar said.
“It is disappointing that while Mr Roberts moved with alacrity to provide the Prime Minister with a written report on the matter, he has refused to do likewise with the party to which he belongs. The COP remains open to be re-engaged on this matter,” he added.