T&T PM fires minister over plane incident


(Trinidad Express) Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar last night advised President Anthony Carmona to revoke the appointment of Minister of the People and Social Develop-ment Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh.

In taking action on the minister, Persad-Bissessar said there must be no compromise on integrity and no allowance for arrogance in her Government.

Her action comes 11 days after the Express exclusively reported in a story by investigative journalist Denyse Renne that police were investigating a report of disorderly behaviour by Ramadharsingh on board a domestic flight from Tobago to Trinidad on March 16.

Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow, 25, filed a complaint that the minister’s hand touched her breast when he reached for her ID badge, which was pinned to her blouse, and threatened to have her fired.

Two official reports were made by the flight attendant—to the security department of the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT) and the Piarco police sub-station.

Ramadharsingh subsequently apologised for his behaviour saying he was suffering from “severe fatigue” but denied touching Laidlow or threatened to have her fired.

Persad-Bissessar was out of the country, attending a funeral in Florida, when the incident was reported.

On Sunday she told the media she would make a statement after receiving a report from Ramadharsingh and the relevant authorities.

Ramadharsingh submitted his report via e-mail yesterday and later met with the Prime Minister where she informed him of her decision to axe him from her Cabinet.

Last night, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a release indicating that Persad-Bissessar had advised President Carmona to revoke Ramadharsingh’s appointment.

The Prime Minister stated that while she was overseas she received reports on the incident and upon her return she requested reports on the matter.

Persad-Bissessar stated that after reading the reports and meeting with Ramadharsingh she took a decision.

“There must be no compromise on integrity, no allowance for arrogance, no room for violation of mutual respect; there will be no sacrifice of our values on the altar of political expediency,” stated Persad-Bissessar.

“Regardless of whether the decisions I take hurt me politically or not, I have the strength and courage and independence of mind to measure every tough decision on the basis of what is right and just,” she added.

The Prime Minister added that she has always said, that regardless of the consequences, “I remain resolved to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. My decisions in the past demonstrate this consistency regardless of whether you are in my Cabinet or not. No one is exempt from the measure of value based leadership.

“In the circumstances, I have advised the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency, Justice Anthony Carmona, to revoke the appointment of the Honourable Minister of the People, Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh” she stated,

Persad-Bissessar stated that all her considerations were character driven.

“I hold no brief for any man or woman save the greater public interest. I am always aware of the higher expectation upon which this Government was elected and the immense responsibility each of us has to uphold public trust in all we do every single day of our lives. It is not a responsibility we can choose to have one day and lose the next,” she stated.

“I  am reminded of Gandhi’s identification of one of seven social sins as being “politics without principle” I have insisted from the moment we took office that everyone of us must display a sound character of public integrity, fairness, humility, compassion and human dignity,” stated Persad-Bissessar.

She stated further that no man, nor woman, has been allowed nor will be permitted to deviate from the very principles upon which her Government was elected by the people into office.

“I know there will be arguments put forward by some as to what was condoned in the past administration to allow for continuity but I disagree,” stated Persad-Bissessar.



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