failed breathalyser test: WIN TV's general manager Sunil Ramdeen leaves the Chaguanas Magistrates' Court yesterday. —Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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Ramdeen's licence revoked

TV station's manager caught driving drunk

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

WIN TV's general manager Sunil Ramdeen yesterday had his driver's licence revoked, when he appeared in court charged with drunken driving.

Ramdeen, 40, admitted that he was over the legal drinking limit when he drove his vehicle along Rodney Road, Endeavour, on Sunday night.

Around 11.40 p.m., WPC Mohan stopped Ramdeen. While interviewing him, she made an observation and told him he would be subjected to the breathalyser test, police prosecutor Sgt Deochand Gosine said yesterday in the Chaguanas Magistrates' Court.

Ramdeen failed with a reading of 76 and 75 microgrammes per 100 millilitres of breath.

The legal limit is 35 microgrammes.

Attorney Sunil Seecharan said his client had attended "a gathering" with a driver.

He said Ramdeen had an emergency and after being unable to locate the driver, he ended up behind the wheel.

Seecharan asked that Ramdeen be allowed to keep his driver's permit as his job as general manager of WIN Communications was "very demanding".

But Traffic Court Magistrate Alexander Prince told Ramdeen his alcohol level was double the 35 microgrammes and took away his licence for three months.

He also fined Ramdeen $4,000, which he had to pay in two days or serve six months' simple imprisonment.

Prince, who also passed sentence on eight other men for drunk driving, said they were showing disregard for life and the law.

"Millions of dollars have been spent over the years informing drivers to stop drinking and driving and you all seem to care less about that... There is a law against drinking and driving... You continue to drink and you continue to drive. As a result innocent people die on the nation's roads too often," Prince said.

The magistrate also suspended the licence of Russell Basdeo, an ex-employee of Ramdeen.

Basdeo, who said he was driving Ramdeen's vehicle to the police station when he was stopped, was charged with failing to give a specimen of his breath for testing.

Gosine said Basdeo failed the field sobriety test and the first breath test that was administered.

He said during the second test, Basdeo "placed his lips on the nibbles of the device and refused to blow".

He was told of the offence and asked to blow a second time but refused, Gosine said.

Basdeo told the court he suffers with asthma and told this to the charging officer.

Prince fined him $2,000 and took away his licence for three months.

Should the money go unpaid in seven days, Basdeo will serve three months' simple imprisonment.

Steve Rampersad, Mohanlal Ramnarine, Justin Gosine, Avinesh Samlal, Samuel Gobin, Nyron Chankarkhan and Rasheed Mohammed were all fined and had their licences revoked.

They all have the option of applying to the Transport Commissioner to have it reinstated.

Avinesh Samlal, who had a reading of 117 microgrammes, was fined $6,000. He had seven days to pay or he would serve 12 months in jail.

His licence was revoked for a year.

"Take a rest before you kill someone or kill yourself," Prince said.

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