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Anil Roberts suspended

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

Anil Roberts suspended

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PORT OF SPAIN – Sport Minister Anil Roberts has been suspended by the Congress of the People (COP) for his failure to co-operate and clear the air on a video of someone resembling a minister rolling a joint.
The COP executive last night also indicated that Roberts should resign as minister until the issue surrounding the video is cleared. 
The executive further decided that it would move to explore opportunities in severing ties with Roberts permanently. 
Last week Roberts met with COP chairman Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan and other senior party members who were mandated to question him on the video.
However, the investigation was blocked as Roberts refused to give any answers, saying the matter was in the hands of his attorneys.
The COP executive led by party leader Prakash Ramadhar held a meeting at the COP Operations centre, Chaguanas where the matter was discussed for almost two hours last night.
Speaking to the media just before 9 p.m. Ramadhar said the executive decided to suspend Roberts and ban him from all party activities. 
Ramadhar said the COP was ready to battle Roberts in the courts should he take any legal action against the party.
Ramadhar said these decisions were taken after “deep and serious” consideration. 
“The party has decided that in the circumstances where Mr Roberts was invited and he did in fact attend a meeting and did not cooperate as well to clarify many of the issues that were raised in that meeting … until he does so the COP will not allow him to participate or represent the Party in any form or fashion,” said Ramadhar.
He said when there is an allegation of public wrong doing, the party’s position is consistent- that person should step aside.
“He (Roberts) should step aside as a Government Minister until he clarifies the video whether first of all if he’s in it and two , whether any illegality was taking place,” said Ramadhar.
Roberts, he said, was entitled to his legal right for the presumption of innocence and the party makes no pronouncement on guilt.
Ramadhar said there was a political aspect to this issue as the perception of many in the country demands that the matter be clarified to assuage the concerns of public and party.
Ramadhar said Roberts will be given an opportunity to be heard if he so chooses according to the party’s processes. 
Roberts today responded to the decision taken by the COP questioning on what power under the party constitution he was suspended.
Roberts said the party had no authority to suspend him. (Trinidad Express)