Friday, January 19, 2018

Rowley on PM's change: Admission of a security problem

Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has said the Prime Minister’s decision to transfer the LifeSport programme to the Ministry of National Security was an admission by her that her Government had created a national security problem in the administration of the programme by the Ministry of Sport.

“If the Government has now conceded that it has created a national security problem in the administration of the LifeSport programme, then the place for it to be dealt with is National Security,” Rowley said yesterday.

Noting that National Security Minister Gary Griffith had stated he became aware of the LifeSport/Carapo connection when he was adviser to the Prime Minister on national security, Rowley said: “The Prime Minister must now explain why this programme grew from $6 million to $115 million, especially since her Minister of National Security is saying half of that (money) is ghost gangs breeding profits for a number of people.”

Rowley said once again, she only acted when water was more than flour. “She has acted on it in the context of the fact that the public now knows that the programme has generated national security concerns. It is in that context that she has taken the programme into the Minister of National Security,” he said.

He said this was the Prime Minister’s modus operandi, “her style to try and defend the indefensible” until public pressure forces her to act. It is only when a matter becomes a public issue and she has no other option that the Prime Minister takes action, he said, citing the Reshmi Ramnarine issue and the Jack Warner issue among others.

Rowley said the Prime Minister was following the same pattern in her response to a video in which a person resembling a minister is featured rolling a marijuana cigarette.

Notwithstanding the removal of LifeSport from the Sports portfolio, Rowley said the PNM was calling on the Prime Minister to fire Roberts because he posed a threat to “Cabinet Government” in the country. Rowley said the Minister who resembled the person in the video could be blackmailed by whoever took the video and by those participating in the video.

“Persons who took the video can hold a ‘whip hand’ over that minister because they could say ‘I know it is you, so what are you giving me?’ And a minister cannot be beholden to persons outside of the Cabinet,” Rowley said.