Sunday, December 17, 2017

...‘Written apology required’

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan must apologise for defamatory comments he made against animal behaviourist Kristel-Marie Ramnath in Parliament last Friday in writing, and present it in the Senate, in the proper context that the laws on defamation require, Opposition Senator Faris al-Rawi said yesterday.

Al-Rawi used Ramlogan’s cross-floor comments toward Opposition Senator Terrence Deyalsingh—where he alluded to an alleged relationship Deyalsingh had had with Ramnath—as ammunition in his argument during the debate on the amendment of the Libel and Defamation Bill 2013 yesterday when the Senate met at Tower D, International Waterfront Centre, Port of Spain. 

“The reportage issuing out of the Attorney General’s—the titular head of the bar—statement under privilege in Parliament is a serious matter and it can no way be excused by saying Deyalsingh is thin-skinned or that it is part of the normal cut and thrust of politics, but what we have objection to as human beings is the derogation and sullying of a young lady’s name.

“If (Ramlogan) is serious about any apology, I put it through you that he should offer a written apo­logy in the proper context that the laws of defamation require and should be made in the very house,” al-Rawi said. 

He said Ramlogan needed to “man up” and offer the proper apo­logy, as well as make some type of “charitable donation” to cater for the derogation and destruction and reputation to Ramnath.

He also drew from his own experience facing allegations from Ramlogan in Parliament under parliamentary privilege, when in 2010, Ramlogan accused al-Rawi of receiving $84 million in legal fees from the previous government. He was yet to receive an apology from Ramlogan, he said, despite letters from prominent attorneys refuting the claims.  

In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Ramnath said it was up to Ramlogan to do what he thought was right.

She said the whole ordeal had been an unpleasant experience, but refrained from commenting further on the personal impact of the situation.

It was, however, unfortunate, she said, that what was happening was detracting from the real issues of the impact of the Dog Control Act when it passes into law, and the fate of the animals that will be affected.

Ramnath had stated in a letter to the editor on Sunday that she had never before met Deyalsingh.