The 'private and confidential" letter of Anil Roberts
The Office of the Prime Minister on Friday released a copy of the letter sent to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar by Sports Minister Anil Roberts in relation to a video in which a man is seen rolling what appears to be a marijuana joint.
The following is the letter -
The Honourable Kamla Persad Bissessar S.C.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
Re: Request for clarification on what is being called as a viral video that has grabbed the attention of the media over the last fortnight
Let me state at the onset that, I Anil O.E. Roberts have never indulged, partaken or used any illegal drugs in my entire life nor have I ever indulged, solicited, requested, engaged or employed any form of prostitution. Further, I have no recollection of the events portrayed in the video.
I confirm that I have not used any drugs inclusive of marijuana during my tenure as a Minister of your Government. It is with great sadness that I have watched a relentless media campaign designed to defame, hurt and disrespect not only me, buy my wife, children and unborn child, as well as my constituents, my government and you my beloved Prime Minister.
Since this “news item” was first broadcast on the preferred station of our detractors, and may I remind you that accusations and innuendo about a video resembling what we now witness were thrown at me by none other than Dr. Keith Rowley, Senator Faris Al-Rawi and Fitzgerald Hinds among others as well as the PNM’s preferred newspaper in TnT Mirror over a year and a half ago.
There has been no legitimate allegation being made or to be made by any official agency and no investigation launched against me. To this point not one allegation of misconduct, criminal activity or activity warranting further investigation has been made. I have been instructed by my attorneys to remain absolutely silent on the matter. From what I have seen in the video, I am unable to determine when it was, where it was, and what substance is alleged to have been held by me. Indeed, there is no material visible. In much the same way, I have been advised by my attorneys that there is no way in which any of the material displayed on the video may be verified. The production of this video is an extreme form of mischief which places one in an unenviable place to ‘defend’ oneself by making statements and pronouncements that in turn will be used in tandem with the video of dubious origin and delayed production to condemn the speaker.
I was informed through the media of a decision made by the Congress of the People purporting to suspend me. I attach my letter of inquiry, which to date remains unanswered. I note in the Trinidad Express reported comments of the Chairman of the party admitting that the Constitution of the Party contains no power to suspend me, and there is a nebulous reference to a code of ethics.
I also note that the production of this video was in tandem with a sledgehammer of misinformation attacking the Lifesport programme. This programme remains a most innovative reformation programme that signals hope to the much maligned and at risk youth. I attach a statement of the Director of the Programme which rubbishes all of the reports. I respectfully also await the outcome of the investigation.
Honourable Prime Minister, as your Minister of Sport, as your member of Parliament for D’abadie O’meara, your supporter and a patriot who has served my beloved country as a former national swimmer, a former national footballer and a national Olympic medal winning coach I assure you that I have never taken, used or experimented with illicit or illegal drugs nor have I ever been involved in any form or fashion with prostitutes as has been implied by Dr. Keith Rowley. I certainly have not treated lightly with the trust and confidence in which you have reposed in me and I remain at your service.
Minister of Sport,
Member of Parliament for D’abadie O’meara.