T&T Sport Minister blasts own party

(Trinidad Guardian) Sport Minister and member of the Congress of the People (COP) Anil Roberts has chastised his own party, saying it is being operated no different from the People’s National Movement (PNM). Roberts, who was a no-show at the COP’s emergency meeting held the party’s operation centre at Charlieville, Chaguanas, yesterday, has also accused the executive of the COP of trying to force Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to break the law, by insisting that San Fernando mayor Marlene Coudray must go.

“The law is very clear…The Prime Minister cannot remove a sitting mayor and Mr Ramadhar must understand that and is fully aware of that,” he said. “What they are doing is trying to get the Prime Minister to break the law and I will not support that. “The COP is looking more like the PNM in the way they operate…This smells like PNM politics but then again I am not shocked.

“I really don’t see what all the fuss is about with Ms Coudray’s decision.” Leaders of the five-member People’s Partnership meet again today for second round of talks aimed at ensuring the smooth operations of the 23-month-old Government. Roberts said if after today’s meeting with the Prime Minister, should Ramadhar decide to walk away from the party, that would be his choice.

“If Mr Ramadhar wants to walk then so be it, but I am not walking behind him and I am not standing behind him in his decision for Ms Coudray to be removed,” he said. “They are giving the Prime Minister an ultimatum and how could you do that? “What really does Mr Ramadhar expect the Prime Minister to do?

“I am very disappointed that he will ask the Prime Minister to break the law.” Making reference to the April 21, 2010 signing of the Fyzabad Declaration which formed the foundation of the People’s Partnership Government, Roberts accused those from within of trying to create cracks.

“I am really baffled as to what is going on,” he said. “Why are people trying to create cracks on certain issues?” Speaking with the media after yesterday’s meeting, COP’s vice- chairman Vernon de Lima said he personally invited Roberts to be part of the talks. An angry Roberts, however, accused de Lima of “being a stranger to the truth.”

“He called me 8.25 this morning (yesterday) to inform me of the meeting at nine,” he said. “The secretary called me some ten minutes before Mr de Lima to tell me of the meeting. “Is this proper invitation? Mr de Lima is a stranger to the truth. He also accused the executive of the COP of failing to resolve an issue between him and another COP member which occurred some seven months ago.

“Until that issue is resolved, I would not be attending no raffle, no barbecue, no meeting that the COP has, and I have made that position very clear and they are well aware of it,” Roberts said. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, in a brief interview yesterday, said he was “just an observer like everyone else” regarding today’s meeting of PP leaders.

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