MINISTER of Justice Christlyn Moore says attempts to have a forensic pathologist from outside of Trinidad and Tobago conduct an independent autopsy on the body of Caroni mother Stacy Ramdeen have so far proven futile.
Ramdeen died on November 8 after a team of police officers from the Central Police Division conducted a raid at the family home at Ibis Gardens. The police claimed that she died after swallowing a quantity of cocaine.
Two autopsies have since been conducted on her body. The first, by Dr Hughvon Des Vignes of the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre, concluded that Ramdeen died of chronic heart disease.
The second autopsy was performed by independent pathologist Dr Hubert Daisley on the insistence of Ramdeen's family. Daisley concluded that manual strangulation was the cause of death.
Through their attorney Selwyn Mohammed, the family wrote letters to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams to treat Ramdeen's death as a homicide.
Following a protest outside the Prime Minister's office last week, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and National Security Minister Jack Warner spoke with Ramdeen's husband Evans Petamber and promised a third autopsy.
Petamber secured a meeting with Moore at her office in Port of Spain yesterday and was told that efforts are still being made to have a third autopsy done.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Justice, Moore informed the family that four forensic pathologists from outside of Trinidad and Tobago have been approached. Three of the four indicated their unavailability and a response from the fourth is being awaited.
"One of the forensic pathologists, who indicated that he was unable to come to Trinidad at this time, proffered an alternative to a third autopsy," the statement read.
"That practitioner offered to produce a professional opinion and report based on a review of the two autopsy reports and documentation generated as a result of the work performed by Dr Hughvon Des Vignes and Dr Hubert Daisley."
Petamber confirmed that the family was asked to consider whether such an option would suit them should the task of securing a forensic pathologist from abroad prove to be more lengthy or unsuccessful.
He said the family will have little choice but to agree to the review being done if a pathologist is not sourced to conduct a third autopsy.
"It's in their hands right now," Petamber said. "We will have to go with it (the review) if nothing else can be done. We just want to get this matter sorted out so that we can bury her. The ball is in their court and we are waiting on them. I want to see how long it will take again."