Monday, January 22, 2018

Winford James: He had it coming

Different reactions from two political commentators

There were different responses yesterday from two political commentators to the firing of Glenn Ramadharsingh.

“He had it coming. And the Prime Minister must be congratulated for the “courage’ of her actions,” political analyst Winford James, stated as he reacted to the dismissal of Ramadharsingh as Minister of the People and Social Development.

However political scientist Indira Rampersad said on the face of it, the action seemed to be disproportionate to the “crime”. “The fact that the Prime Minister took the decision to fire him suggests that there is more to it than we are aware of. Her investigations must have revealed other things. Because on the surface of it and the information that came out in the media, I don’t think it warranted a firing. But I don’t have all the information to be able to justify or not justify what took place,” she stated.

She said it was unfortunate because Ramadharsingh was a young man who seemed to have a promising political career. She said she knew he was popular in his constituency and many thought he had done reasonable well in his ministerial portfolio.

Asked whether Sat Maharaj’s call for his sacking had a main part in the Prime Minister’s decision, “The call from Sat Maharaj was surprising. But then again, we don’t know if he is privy to something we are not aware of,” she said.

Rampersad however did not feel that Maharaj had that kind of influence on the Government and she said she believed the Prime Minister’s decision was based on investigations that she conducted.

“So some information surfaced that prompted her to take such drastic action,” Rampersad said.

James on the other hand said Ramadharsingh’s behaviour on the flight was “gross and out of place”. “And he embarrassed the Cabinet,” James said.

Ramadharsingh appeared to be using his office to intimidate someone (Caribbean Airlines flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow) who had done him no wrong, James stated. Laidlow alleged that Ramadharsingh grabbed at her and threatened to have her fired after he failed to follow instructions to move his bag.

James said one had to wonder whether this was the only misdemeanour, given some of the allegations that have been made over the past six months about various wrongdoings.

James said the matter was not the dismissal but the basis for it. He noted the Prime Minister identified she would not allow a lack of integrity, arrogance and lack of mutual respect. He also said one of the “unanswerable questions” now, was whether the Prime Minister would have acted, if secretary-general of the Maha Sabha had not intervened.

But the bigger question was what would be the conclusion of the population if it took on board the values which the Prime Minister put before it, as the basis of her actions, and applied them to the actions and behaviour of other ministers, “including her good self”.

James said the Prime Minister’s courageous act must be taken in the context of the fact that so many ministers have had to be “put away” and one left on his own.

“Eleven firings and one resignation—that calls in question her judgment in picking people and the suitability of the People’s Partnership for governance,” he said.