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T&T minister filing lawsuits

(March 24, 2013)

T&T minister filing lawsuits against journalists, media houses and politician

Sports Minister Anil Roberts said that he had already sent pre-action protocol letters to the Guardian Media Limited, publishers of the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Friday March 22, 2013 – Sports Minister Anil Roberts says he will take legal action against several journalists and media houses as well as the chair person of his Congress of the People (COP) political party amid allegations that he was being investigated by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in relation to a complaint of alleged misappropriation of funds at the Trinidad and Tobago Boxing Board of Control.

Roberts, speaking at the end of the weekly Cabinet meeting, said that he had already sent pre-action protocol letters to the Guardian Media Limited, publishers of the Trinidad Guardian newspapers, the editor in chief, Judy Raymond and Anika Gumbs-Sandiford, who wrote the article.

Roberts said he also taking legal action against the popular radio station i95FM, two of its radio presenters -Daryan Marcelle and Andre Baptiste – former Boxing Board member Ricardo Phillips  and Ian Prescott of the Trinidad Express.

Roberts also announced that a pre-action protocol letter would be sent to Public Administration Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan, who is also chairman of the COP, the second biggest party within the coalition People’s Partnership government here.

“She failed to call me, her COP colleague,” Roberts said  when the newspaper article appeared, even though several government ministers, including the Attorney general Anand Ramlogan, had done so.

“But my chairman didn’t call me. When I showed her the Integrity Commission’s letter she was the only one to read it twice and questioned the veracity of the contents and went on to mumble and mutter and I told her I hoped she hadn’t made any statements on something she failed to get the facts on.”

In its statement, the Integrity Commission said no allegations with respect to Roberts, Permanent Secretary Ashwin Creed and adviser to the Boxing Board of Control Boxu Potts had been sent to the DPP.

“The said persons were not referred to the DPP by the Office of the Integrity Commission,” the Commission said, indicating that the Integrity in Public Life Act requires that a person is given a full opportunity to be heard before making an adverse finding.

“It is important to emphasise that Section 38 of the Integrity in Public Life Act (Chapter 22:01) states: No report concluding that a person to whom this act applies has failed without reasonable justification to fulfil a duty or obligation under this act shall be made until reasonable notice has been given to such person of the alleged failure and the person has been allowed full opportunity to be heard, either in person or by an attorney,” the Commission said


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