Monday, February 19, 2018

No direct apology from Ramlogan, says Ramnath

THE animal behaviourist at the centre of a controversy over “picong” thrown in Parliament last week by Attorney General Anand Ramlogan yesterday said she is yet to receive a direct apology from him.

Kristel-Marie Ramnath was last Friday caught up in remarks made by Ramlogan, when an excerpt of her opinion of the Dangerous Dogs Bill (2014) was read by Opposition St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh during debate in the House of Representatives.

The Attorney General teased Deyalsingh about having a relationship other than a professional one with Ramnath. Ramlogan, who piloted the bill on Tuesday in the Senate, apologised and said “picong” was part of the political culture of this country.

Ramnath said yesterday she has “never even met” Deyalsingh, and feels another proper apology is still necessary, as Ramlogan’s comments may have caused hurt and embarrassment to Deyalsingh’s family.

“An apology has never been addressed to me, therefore I can’t comment on that,” Ramnath said in a telephone interview.

“What I can say, however, with regard to the statements by the Attorney General, is that with positions of power and influence come a greater responsibility to be mindful of what one says, how one says it and where it is said. In particular, verify the facts before one speaks.”

Asked about her relationship with Deyal­singh, Ramnath, who regularly writes for a daily newspaper on animal welfare, said, “I have never met or spoken to Mr Deyalsingh. I believe he was quoting something I had written but not sent directly to him.”

She added it was “unfortunate” the incident was taking attention away from the critical issue of the bill and the dire consequences the document, in its current state, could have for the animals mentioned therein. Ramnath has been one of the more vocal animal-welfare activists to speak against the breed-specific nature of the bill, which seeks to outlaw certain types of dogs and which, she said, does not truly address the need for responsible pet ownership.