Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley has called upon President George Maxwell Richards to dismiss Dr Indira Rampersad as a commissioner of the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC).
"She is patently unfit to be an EOC commissioner and should be dismissed forthwith," he said in a letter to Richards bearing yesterday's date.
Rowley based his call on statements made by Rampersad on national television which were repeated in yesterday's Guardian, stating the "Calcutta ship" statement by Hilton Sandy during the run-up to the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election was not an error but part of a deliberate, carefully thought-out strategy of the People's National Movement (PNM).
Rowley said if the reports in the media about Rampersad making such statements were accurate, then she had "undoubtedly demonstrated that she is inca- pable of impartially discharging her functions as an Equal Opportunity commissioner and that she is in noticeable breach of her oath".
Rowley cited Section 28 (2) of the Equal Opportunity Act, Chap: 22: 03, which states: "The appointment of a commissioner shall be terminated by the President after consultation with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition if a) he becomes bankrupt; b) he is nominated, elected or appointed to any other office of emoluments; c) he is incapable, for whatever reason, of performing his duties and functions under this Act."
Noting the oath of office taken by Rampersad requires her to impartially discharge the functions of the office and do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, Rowley said: "Her breach is even more serious when one considers the fact that the mentioned statement is currently the subject of a complaint to the EOC.
"And without a shred of evidence and in breach of all principles of natural justice, she has made a wholly unjustified, biased, controversial, revolting and, by far, an improper declaration in public about the PNM," he added.
Rowley said notwithstanding the fact that both himself and THA returning Chief Secretary Orville London had "publicly and unambiguously dissociated" themselves and the PNM from the statement and made it clear that such sentiments were not the policy of the party, "Dr Rampersad has chosen to declare this warped view to the public at large without a shred of evidence to support her preposterous accusations".
Pointing out that Sandy had repeatedly apologised for the unfortunate and unacceptable statement, Rowley said he rejected outright any suggestion or submission from any individual or entity that the statement was in any way a party strategy.
"Please be assured, Your Excellency, that the PNM will stand firm in its fundamental principles as described in our National Anthem and will strongly resist all attempts by self-serving individuals or entities to paint us as otherwise," he said.
Attempts to contact Rampersad yesterday proved futile. Numerous calls and texts to her were unanswered.