NO COMMENT: Glenn Ramadharsingh

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GLENN IN FLIGHT DRAMA

...CAL attendant alleges minister grabbed at her, threatened to have her fired

By Denyse Renne denyse.renne@trinidadexpress.com

Police are investigating a report of disorderly behaviour by Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh on board a domestic flight from Tobago to Trinidad on Sunday.
Ramadharsingh is the subject of the police investigation, following a complaint by Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow, 25, that the minister’s hand touched her breast when he reached for her ID badge, which was pinned to her blouse, and threatened to have her fired.
When the Express contacted Ramadharsingh yesterday and posed several questions surrounding the allegations, the minister said, “No comment.”
Two official reports were made by the flight attendant—both to the security department of the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT) and the Piarco Police sub-station.
The Express obtained copies of both reports.
When the Express contacted Laidlow yesterday afternoon by phone, she declined to comment on the incident.
In both reports, the 25-year-old flight attendant stated while on duty on BW 1519, she spoke to Ramadharsingh about stowing away luggage since the overhead compartment could not be closed properly.
“Mr Ramadharsingh, who was identified by the passenger seated next to him, still refused to comply in stowing his bag,” she wrote.
She said following a conversation with the plane’s captain, “I went and I spoke to the passenger about stowing the bag and he replied, “No.”
“I tried to explain to the passenger that there was space in the overhead locker opposite. Eventually after a few minutes, Mr Ramadharsingh got up to stow the bag. Upon him getting up, he appeared to be intoxicated.
“I asked the passenger seated next to him to please hold on while I get contact with the passenger he was travelling with and confirmed that she was travelling with Mr Ramadharsingh, who replied, ‘Yes.’”
Laidlow said she asked the female passenger seated next to Ramadharsingh whether “she would be willing to assist me by switching seats with Mr Ramadharsingh, because he appeared intoxicated and that was considered an emergency seat and he was hesitant on complying”.
Laidlow said the instructions were repeated and Ramadharsingh again refused to comply, despite being told the door could not be closed to ensure departure.
Laidlow said the minister replied: “Well we won’t be going anywhere.”
“The same lady who was travelling with him pleaded with him along with the passengers on board, which at that point he got up and moved,” Laidlow said.
Laidlow said the flight then departed and, upon arrival at Piarco International Airport, as Ramadharsingh was disembarking, she said to him, “Goodbye, do have a pleasant day.”
It was at this point, according to the written reports, that Ramadharsingh attempted to snatch Laidlow’s identification badge, which was clipped onto her blouse “above my left breast where his hand brushed against and replied, ‘What’s your name your days are numbered’”.
Laidlow said she told the minister to desist from touching her.
“I told him my name, which in reply he again said, “Your days are numbered,’” she wrote.
When the Express contacted CAL, a release was issued, stating: “CAL has comprehensive policies and processes in place for the protection of both our passengers and our valued employees.
“A fundamental aspect of these procedures is that we do not comment on any alleged incident until those processes have run their course. This is essential in order to ensure that any person—staff or passenger—can be confident that their matters will be treated with the utmost confidentiality.”
Sources told the Express that following enquiries, a representative acting on behalf of Ramadharsingh yesterday indicated to senior CAL management that the minister wanted to apologise to Laidlow in the presence of police officers.
Sources further told the Express Laidlow said this was not necessary and wanted the incident forgotten. She also indicated her intention not to further the matter.
However, sources said a police investigation will still be launched since an official police report was lodged.

Statement by flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow to Airports Authority security on
March 16, 2014:

“I am 25 years of age and I live at ---- Arouca. I have been employed with Caribbean Airlines Ltd for the past 6 (six) years as a flight attendant. My contact number is ---- (number given).
“On Sunday 16th March, 2014, whilst working on BW 1519 from Tobago to Trinidad, my colleague Ayana Hajarie spoke to the passenger about stowing away the bag properly because the locker could not be closed. The passenger did not make any attempt to close the locker. Miss Hajarie then asked for assistance from the Load Sheet Agent on duty.
“Mr Ramadharsingh who was identified by the passenger seated next to him, still refused to comply in stowing his bag. Captain David Dass called me by the inter-phone asking me if the passenger stowed the bag, which at that time the bag was still not stowed. I went and I spoke to the passenger about stowing the bag and he replied ‘No.’
“I tried to explain to the passenger that there was space in the overhead locker opposite. Eventually after a few minutes, Mr Ramadharsingh got up to stow the bag. Upon him getting up he appeared to be intoxicated. I asked the passenger seated next to him to please hold on while I get contact with the passenger he was travelling with and confirmed that she was travelling with Mr Ramadharsingh who replied ‘yes’.
“I asked her if she would be willing to assist me by switching seats with Mr Ramadharsingh, because he appeared intoxicated and that was considered an emergency seat and he was hesitant on complying. So I told him, ‘Sir I  need you to relocate to the other seat,’ explaining to him the reasons why.
“Once again he refused and I explained to him I will not be able to close the main door for departure. Mr Ramadharsingh replied, ‘Well we won’t be going anywhere.’ The same lady who was travelling with him pleaded with him along with the passengers on board, which at that point he got up and moved. We prepared for departure and left.
“Upon arrival into Trinidad when Mr Ramadharsingh was disem­barking I said to him ‘goodbye, do have a pleasant day.’
“In return Mr Ramadharsingh attempted to grab my restricted area pass which was pinned to the left collar of my blouse above my left breast where his hand brushed against and replied, ‘What’s your name your days are numbered.’
“And I told Mr Ramadharsingh, while retrieving my ID that he does not have to touch me to find out my name and I told him my name, which in reply he again said ‘your days are numbered’. I immediately reported to Captain Dass via the inter-phone.

Questions posed to Minister Glenn Ramadharsingh at
8.52 a.m yesterday:

Asked to comment on a police report made about him verbally and physically assaulting a flight attendant on Sunday while on board a flight to Trinidad from the ANR International Airport in Tobago, the minister said: “I have no comment on that matter at this time.”

Express: Minister were you intoxicated when this incident occurred?
Ramadharsingh: “I have no comment to make.”

Express: Minister, what did you mean when you told the flight attendant that her days were numbered at CAL?
Ramadharsingh: “I have no comment to make.”

Express: Minister, are you refuting the allegations made against you by the flight attendant?
Ramadharsingh: “I will communicate with you at a further date.”

Express: Minister, are you aware that the matter has been reported to the police?
Ramadharsingh: “I have no comment to make.”

Express: Minister, have you been interviewed by the police regarding this incident?
Ramadharsingh: “Ma’am, I told you I have no further comment. Goodbye.”
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