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PM puts end to Red Steel controversy

By \\\\\ Ria Taitt Political Editor

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday she did not approve of the “public squabble” between Sport Minister Anil Roberts and National Security Minister Gary Griffith.

The Prime Minister indicated  she told both men as much when  Cabinet held its weekly meeting yesterday.

The two ministers were at loggerheads over the issue of whether the Red Steel cricket team, competing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), should carry the Trinidad and Tobago name or not. 

“As to the specific matter of the dispute between the two ministers, I have dealt with this matter. We have discussed it today (at Cabinet). I have made my views known to both ministers and I want to further indicate that I do not approve of public squabbling between ministers when such matters should be dealt with at the forum of the Cabinet and the sub-committees of the Cabinet.” 

The Prime Minister recalled she had said previously that where there was any disagreement amongst ministers, “the Cabinet becomes the forum under my leadership for resolving such issues”. 

Roberts had written to the Caribbean Premier League following which the Trinidad and Tobago name was dropped from Red Steel--a move over which team captain Dwayne Bravo had expressed concern.

The Trinidad and Tobago name was reinstated following the intervention of the Prime Minister and the CPL issued a release thanking her. But an earlier release also stated that the CPL “would particularly like to thank (National Security) Minister Gary Griffith for his timely intervention in this matter and for his support in bringing it to a positive conclusion”.

This resulted in Roberts insisting that only Cabinet could overturn the decision before walking out of a press conference. 

Roberts said: “You can ask Gary Griffith what he said, who he spoke to, on whose authority, because Cabinet has not met since last week Thursday, and in Cabinet last week Thursday, there was no discussion and no decision to overturn anything.” 

Griffith in response stated that Roberts had not been attending parliamentary caucuses at which all ministers agreed that it should be the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.

“The only person who did not want it to be the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel was Minister Anil Roberts,” he said. “In the last few months, we have never seen him there (at the caucus), so he would not have known what decision was made,” Griffith added.

The Prime Minister said she was very happy that CPL matches were being played in Trinidad and Tobago and that Red Steel are among those that would be performing.

“Those games for Trinidad and Tobago are going to be immense for promotion as a destination and I am very pleased that Trinidad and Tobago is the home base for the Red Steel team,” she said.

Minister Winston Dookeran and other Cabinet ministers confirmed, at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister said the team would be called Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel. 

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