President of the Grenada Netball Association (GNA) Glynis Roberts, has denied reports that the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government had refused to assist the national team with travel expenses to participate in the Hong Kong China Four Nations Netball Tournament from February 8-11 on political grounds.
Information reaching THE NEW TODAY is that the Government had promised to finance the team’s trip to Hong Kong but reneged after Roberts refused to publicly endorse Health Minister, Nicholas Steele as the NNP candidate in the South St. George constituency for the March 13 General Elections.
“What. No miss, that is not true,” was Robert’s response to the claim, when a female reporter with THE NEW TODAY contacted her via telephone, last week Thursday.
According to well-placed sources, an approach was made to Roberts to appear and read out a prepared speech at a public rally held in the south about a month ago to officially endorse Steele as the candidate of the ruling party.
Roberts was a minister in the 2008-13 Congress government of Tillman Thomas but was expelled from the party in September 2012 along with several others following a protracted period of bitter internal feuding.
Former NDC General Secretary and now NNP Candidate for the town of St. George, Peter David was identified as the leader of the rebel faction in the Congress administration.
In an effort to shed some light on the issue, the netball president pointed out that the NNP regime did respond to her request for financial assistance for the team via a letter.
According to Roberts the letter indicated that government could not assist the netballers at this time because the 2018 budget for the state-operated National Lotteries Authority (NLA) was not yet finalised.
However, she said that despite the response, government did reach out to her last week Thursday to help with the cost of airline tickets to make the trip to Hong Kong.
Roberts spoke of receiving a telephone call from government and being told that they have “a cheque…and we went and collected it” and deposited it into the account of the airline.
She categorically denied that politics was involved in the issue.
Roberts who is also the Vice President of the Caribbean Netball Association (CNA) said: “We wrote (to) the ministry, which is normal, we usually write (to) the ministry and give our budget every year – they (government) would ask you for your budget for the following year because as associations you know it is either you raise funds, but we (associations) all get help from government…all this talk about endorsement and all of that it’s not true.
“Usually, when you write them (government), they (would) say to you – ok, this is your budget and when you’re ready to travel you would tell them and they would say ok you would get it (the money) from the Treasury or from lotto and that is how it works.
“So, I don’t want it to seem as though they promised me…This thing you coming and telling me, about they (NNP) wanted me to endorse somebody and I didn’t do it (and) that is why I didn’t get the money, this is stupidness.
“I am 66 years-old (and) I don’t have time for that…I am here to help develop my country and the young people.”
About two weeks ago, Roberts told a radio programme that her National United Front (NUF) party would not be contesting the election as most of its members are now supporters of the ruling party.
Speculation is rife that David was tipped to become the Political Leader of NUF which was made up mainly of disgruntled Congress supporters but backed away and joined the NNP instead.