Foster Cummings, Minister of Youth Development and National Service. File photo/Sureash Cholai
YOUTH Development Minister Foster Cummings said he and his family remain strong in the face of allegations being made against him in a 2019 Special Branch report.
At a UNC meeting in San Fernando on May 5, Opposition Senator Jayanti Lutchmedial said the document alleged that Cummings was involved in several illegal activities involving Housing Development Corporation (HDC) lands. It also alleged improper behaviour in relation to government contracts and an association with alleged criminals.
Cummings has denied all of the allegations and has initiated legal action against Lutchmedial.
Speaking with the media after an event at the National Energy Skills Centre auditorium in Couva on Friday, he said, “We are a very strong-knit family. My mother and father are very strong personalities.”
Cummings added that he, his family and extended family “have received significant support coming through this. A strong family can overcome any challenge.”
Asked about being faced with cyberbullying because of the allegations made against him, Cummings replied, “That’s par for the course. In politics you get that.”
He confirmed that he and his family did seek counselling to deal with that. “That’s a family matter but the answer is, yes.”
He declined to comment directly on any of the allegations.
“I have spoken on that at length. I have made, I think, all the of the comments that I need to with respect to that.”
Cummings said the Prime Minister does not make his decisions based on speculations or allegations. He had no comment to make on Dr Rowley’s comments on the matter.
On May 12, Dr Rowley, speaking at a post-Cabinet press conference, said there was no proof to support allegations of wrongdoing against Cummings contained in the Special Branch report.
He said in a previous instance, Cummings had provided documents to counter allegations of wrongdoing raised by the UNC and waved a bundle of documents but did not make them public.
Rowley said it was normal practice for Special Branch to report directly to the prime minister and, in some instances, not inform the CoP, on matters of national security.
He said such reports were usually graded on the veracity of the intelligence and had no weight in a court of law.