Sunday, January 21, 2018

Glenn apologises for conduct on CAL flight


ADDRESSING THE MATTER: Acting Prime Minister Winston Dookeran, addresses a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, yesterday. —Photo: AYANNA KINSALE

Mark Fraser

Acting Prime Minister Winston Dookeran said yesterday he held a discussion with Government Minister Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh who told him he will deal with the controversy surrounding his disorderly conduct aboard a Caribbean Airlines (CAL) flight.

The Express exclusively reported yesterday that  police are investigating a report of disorderly behaviour by  Ramadharsingh on board a domestic flight from Tobago to Trinidad on Sunday.

Ramadharsingh is the subject of the police investigation, following a complaint by 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.

Ramadharsingh apologised for his conduct yesterday, attributing it to severe fatigue but denied touching Laidlow. He also denied threatening to have her fired.

Questioned yesterday at a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair on whether he had discussed the matter with Ramadharsingh, Dookeran responded, “The Prime Minister has been informed and I have had a discussion with the minister and he will be dealing with the matter in due course.”

Asked if he was satisfied with Ramadharsingh’s explanation, Dookeran said, “Well it’s not an explanation, we just discussed the matter.” Meanwhile, leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) Jack Warner has called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to fire Ramadharsingh from her Cabinet. 

Warner said, “Ramadharsingh’s overall behaviour, including his conduct prior to the take-off of the domestic flight from Tobago, his reported physical assault of the flight attendant by grabbing at her identification badge and the issue of threats to have the young woman fired is far worse than that of former Junior National Security Minister Collin Partap who was fired in August 2012 for driving a government vehicle with flashing lights.....and refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer test by the police,” stated Warner in a release.

“There is nothing people-friendly nor honourable about an individual who would misbehave and then threaten the livelihood of an innocent worker who is only following protocol and performing the duties of her job,  a job that involves ensuring the safety of dozens of persons on an aircraft,” he added.

Warner stated that Ramadharsingh’s behaviour was reprehensible and unfitting for a minister of government. “It sets a bad example for the young people of our nation. It is an embarrassment to all citizens as the report on this incident is read by persons around the world. But then again, such behaviour is typical in persons with swollen egos and who are drunk with power. Mrs Persad-Bissessar must do the right thing and terminate Ramadharsingh’s ministerial appointment immediately,” stated Warner.