Friday, February 23, 2018

Dookeran ‘very sad’ over firing

Dismissal of Glenn Ramadharsingh from Cabinet


Foreign colleague: Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, left, greets Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena during a news conference yesterday at Tower C, International Waterfront Centre, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain. —Photo: ISHMAEL SALANDY


FOREIGN Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran yesterday said he was “very sad” Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, who he lauded as “one of the most vibrant and effective ministers”, has been fired from the People’s Partnership Cabinet.

Dookeran, however, expressed his support for Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s decision to do so.

On Tuesday, Persad-Bissessar advised President Anthony Carmona to revoke Ramadhar­singh’s appointment as minister of the people and social development.

Her action came 11 days after the Express exclusively reported, in a story by investigative journalist Denyse Renne, police were investigating a report of disorderly behaviour by Ramadharsingh on board a domestic flight from Tobago to Trinidad on March 16.

Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow, 25, filed a complaint that Ramadharsingh’s hand touched her breast when he reached for her identification badge, which was pinned to her blouse, and threatened to have her fired.

Two official reports were made by the flight attendant—to the security department of the Airports Authority of T&T and the Piarco police sub-station. 

Ramadharsingh subsequently apologised for his behaviour, saying he was suffering from “severe fatigue”, but denied touching Laidlow or threatening to have her fired.

Persad-Bissessar was out of the country, attending a funeral in Florida, when the incident was reported. 

Dookeran was acting prime minister at the time of Persad-Bissessar’s absence.

Last Thursday, Dookeran had a discussion with Ramadharsingh on the matter.

Ramadharsingh on Tuesday submitted a report via e-mail to Persad-Bissessar on the matter.

Persad-Bissessar and Ramadharsingh met later that day, where she informed him of her decision to axe him from her Cabinet.

Following a news conference for the visit of Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Jose Antonio Meade Kuribrena to this country which was held at Level 14, Tower C, International Waterfront Centre in Port of Spain, Dookeran was yesterday approached on the issue of Ramadharsingh’s dismissal.

“It is a political matter. The Prime Minister, after assessing the situation, has made a political judgment,” Dookeran said yesterday.

“I support her decision on the matter. I do wish to indicate, however, that Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh was indeed one of the most vibrant and effective ministers and I feel very sad that he is no longer be discharging that function at this point in time,” he said.