Monday, February 19, 2018

AG: Baby Simeon report cost $.8m

The report into the death of baby Simeon cost $835,299.48, says Attorney General Anand Ramlogan.

The Express yesterday reported the Government was seeking an additional $3.8 billion for the 2014 budget which included $8 million to pay expenses for the baby Simeon matter.

The $8 million figure was quoted from the following item in the proposed Supplementation of the Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2014:

“The sum is required to meet outstanding legal fees as well as the costs incurred by the appointment of an independent committee to investigate/review the circumstances surrounding the death of the baby of Quelly Ann Cottle. The committee convened during the second quarter of fiscal 2014 and remains in session.”

However, at a news conference at his Port of Spain office yesterday, Ramlogan explained that this $8 million was not only for the baby Simeon probe. He said the bulk of it was to settle outstanding bills owed to a British law firm.

In March this year, baby Simeon died during Caesarean section surgery on his mother, Quelly Ann Cottle, by Dr Javed Chinnia who has since been suspended.

A team comprising Justice Mustapha Ibrahim, Dr Petronella Manning and Dr Melanie Davies of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, United Kingdom, was mandated to investigate the baby’s death.

The team found a prima facie case had been made for negligence.

Ramlogan disclosed yesterday that Ibrahim was paid $500,000, Manning $190,000 and Davies $114,490.

The breakdown of Davies’s payments showed that her fee was £2,500, travel fare for two visits to Trinidad in April and May was £8,200, totalling £10,700.

A total of $30,809.48 was paid for secretarial and administration services rendered for April, May and June 2014.

Ramlogan said his office had budgeted some $1.5 million for the probe and was able to complete it at a lesser cost.

Ramlogan explained further that his ministry sought an additional $7,254,838 because of outstanding legal fees owed to the State’s standing Privy Council agents Charles Russell LLP for services rendered under the former People’s National Movement (PNM) administration.

He said this sum amounted to $5,689,616.81 and under his tenure $63,179.22 was owed to the firm for services.

Ramlogan said Cabinet was advised of the firm’s numerous attempts for payments for outstanding monies owed dating back to 2003 totalling $5,754,838.