Thursday, February 22, 2018

Chandresh joins Glenn on the back bench


FIRST DAY BACK IN HOUSE: Fired ministers, MPs Glenn Ramadharsingh, right, (Caroni Central) and Chandresh Sharma (Fyzabad), sit together on the back bench of the House of Representatives yesterday. Both were relieved recently of their ministerial portfolios by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, amid controversies involving separate incidents. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY

Mark Fraser

 Former ministers Glenn Ramadharsingh and Chandresh Sharma attended Parliament yesterday for the first time since losing their respective ministerial portfolios.

Ramadharsingh was fired on Tuesday March 25, while Sharma resigned on Monday, six days later.

Both are sitting next to each other, with Caroni Central MP Ramadharsingh at the end of the row, directly behind  former prime minister Patrick Manning, while Fyzabad MP Sharma is sitting next to Ramadharsingh, directly behind Arouca/Maloney MP Alicia Hospedales.

Sharma was present from the start of the sitting, while Ramadharsingh came a little later.

Sharma declined to speak with the media, but Ramadharsingh gave an interview.

“I continue to work in my constituency and for anyone who needs help,” he said.

He deflected questions about any disappointment he felt over the loss of ministerial office, saying he felt he had a sense of duty to the people of Caroni Central and Trinidad and Tobago.

Asked whether he had anything he would have liked to complete, he said a lot was done and there were a lot of good people at the Ministry of the People and Social Development.

He said he was sure good work would continue, but he had developed a special interest in helping the homeless.

Asked whether he had liaised with the Prime Minister (who has since assumed control of the portfolio), he replied: “I am liaising with the people of Caroni Central.”

On whether another colleague (Sharma) joining him on the back bench had made the adjustment easier, Ramadharsingh said: “I have my duties and I will attend to them and  those (duties) are primarily the people of Caroni Central.” 

When the media sought to get an interview with Sharma, the usually sociable MP was reluctant. Then colleague Collin Partap, the Cumuto/Manzanilla MP who had been fired last year, told the media he would not advise Sharma to give an interview.