Fired T&T minister at centre of sex probe
(Trinidad Express) Police are investigating a report by a 47-year-old woman alleging that she was made to perform sex acts on fired government minister Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh when she went to him for assistance to fast track a Housing Development Corporation (HDC) application.
The Sunday Express has learned that the woman, Patricia Singh, accompanied by her attorney Nizam Mohammed, went to the Port of Spain CID office last Friday and reported the matter.
According to the police report, the two sex acts occurred at the Ministry of the People and Social Development at the corner of Independence Square and Abercromby Street, Port of Spain office in 2011 and eight weeks ago.
The report, the Sunday Express learned, contains explicit details of the sex acts, corroborating an earlier interview Singh had with the Sunday Express on March 24.
Singh told police officers in spite of her objections she was made to perform the sex acts on Ramadharsingh.
Inspector Mervyn Edwards and WPC Sandra Phillips David are conducting investigations.
Sunday Express investigations have revealed that the alleged sex acts were brought to the attention of Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar after midday on March 25 just before her decision to fire Ramadharsingh who was then publicly accused by Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow of disorderly conduct on a flight from Tobago to Trinidad
The Sunday Express learned that up until March 23, Persad-Bissessar had considered demoting Ramadharsingh instead of giving him the boot.
However, Cabinet sources told the Sunday Express the Prime Minister had a sudden change of mind and opted to fire Ramadharsingh after she learned Singh had been interviewed by the Sunday Express on the sexual allegations.
Sources told the Sunday Express several Cabinet ministers were also informed of the nature of the sexual allegations against Ramadharsingh and began lobbying for him to be fired, expressing concern about the negative impact it would have on the Government.
Ramadharsingh was summoned to a 4.30 p.m. meeting with the Prime Minister on March 25 and told that his ministerial appointment had been revoked.
Ramadharsingh remains the elected Member of Parliament for Caroni Central.
Singh contacted the Sunday Express at 11.30 a.m. on March 24 asking to tell her story.
When the Sunday Express met with Singh at her central Trinidad home at 12.30 p.m. that day she produced phone logs showing missed telephone calls from Ramadharsingh on March 24 at 11.14 a.m., 11.16 a.m., 11.17 a.m. and 11.19 a.m.
The missed calls were from the same mobile phone number the Sunday Express has called to reach Ramadharsingh from the time he was appointed a minister.
During the interview, Singh, a part-time domestic worker, claimed she has had sleepless nights since committing the sex acts on Ramadharsingh and expressed fear she would be harmed if she spoke out.
Insisting she had nothing to hide, Singh gave the Sunday Express permission to use her real name and also produced a photograph she took with Ramadharsingh the first time she visited his office in 2011.
Seeking to give credence to her story, Singh returned Ramadharsingh’s telephone call in the presence of the Sunday Express.
During the five-minute, 15-second recorded conversation obtained by the Sunday Express, Singh expressed disgust over the sexual acts she said she was made to perform on Ramadharsingh at the ministry’s Port of Spain office.
During the telephone conversation, Ramadharsingh did not admit to the sex acts performed on him.
The Sunday Express has also obtained a sworn Statutory Declaration in which Singh speaks of her disapproval over performing the sex acts on Ramadharsingh at the ministry’s office. (See sidebar)
The Sunday Express learned that Singh intends to file a complaint with the Integrity Commission this week for the matter to be investigated.
Legal sources told the Sunday Express under Section 34 of the Integrity in Public Life Act, when there is a complaint from a member of the public, the Integrity Commission is required to investigate alleged breaches of the Act or corrupt or dishonest conduct.
Section (34a) of the Act states: “In carrying out its function under section 33, the commission may authorise an investigating officer to conduct an enquiry into any alleged or suspected offence.”
Singh speaks out
The Sunday Express learned Singh had previously told an official in the Office of the Prime Minister, an attorney, a church elder and a former government minister about the alleged sex acts she performed on Ramadharsingh.
However, the single mother of three told the Sunday Express she never previously made an official report about the incidents but was doing so now because of the courage shown by Laidlow who reported the disorderly behaviour of Ramadharsingh aboard BW 1519 to the security department of the Airports Authority of T&T (AATT) and the Piarco Police sub-station.
Singh said: “I was afraid to speak all the time because people I confided in about the incidents told me how powerful the ministers are. I told myself I am nobody; just a poor woman, but when I saw the ticker tape running across the television relating to the (former) minister’s behaviour I told myself it was time to speak out because I have been having sleepless nights. The (former minister) needs to be exposed.”
Singh said she went to seek assistance from Ramadharsingh to get a house for her mute 74-year-old uncle Hyder Khan and herself.
“I also knew that the ministry deals with the food cards. I received a food card but what has happened to me is not right,” she said.
Singh said on two occasions she was made to perform sex acts on Ramadharsingh when she visited the ministry for an update on the housing application.
Regretting her actions, Singh told the Sunday Express she allowed her desperation and her vulnerable situation to get the better of her.
“It is me and my deaf and dumb uncle living in a one-room apartment. I am scraping to pay $2,000 a month rent. I do not know what it is to have a good life. I went through 17 years of domestic violence abuse and all I want is to live for God now. I was so excited to meet the (former) minister that when my mother, aunt and I went to meet him the first time, I asked if I could take a photograph with him. You know I am poor woman and to me ministers are high people. We did not have an appointment. We left Central determined to see the minister to get some assistance. I considered the (former) minister to be an action man who helped people. From the moment I saw him walking in I boldly approached him and asked if he could spare me a minute.
“(He) said okay; come quickly. As soon as the door was closed he gave me a hug and kissed me on my cheek and then on my lips. I was shocked. The minister then pushed his hands down my body suit and began touching my breast. I was trying to tell him that I needed help to get a HDC house and a food card. The minister then told me to (sex act specified). I am not going to lie. I did it. When I left the office I could not even speak to my mother. When I went back outside I stayed quiet until I got home.”
Singh said Ramadharsingh gave her his cellular number to contact him for an update on the housing application.
The Sunday Express obtained the text messages that were sent to Ramadharsingh in relation to the housing application.
One of the text messages read: “Dr Glenn. Patricia. HDC housing at Matna Drive, Endeavour. For sure I’ll feel much safer there knowing that its going to be gated eventually. Please help me to get there.”
Singh said she returned to the ministry in 2014.
“I did go back. I was feeling bad but I really need the help. As soon as I walked into the (former) minister’s office he walked into the toilet and signaled for me to come. I went. It was because somebody knocked on the door that I got saved. The minister quickly fixed his clothes. I felt awful. When the person entered the minister’s office he quickly ended the meeting with me saying that he will be in touch.”
Singh said in January this year she received a referral letter from Ramadharsingh’s Caroni Central constituency office to take to the HDC.
The letter dated January 7, 2014 was signed by Ramadharsingh requesting assistance for Singh and her family to get housing at Matna Drive, Endeavour or Edinburgh 500.
“About eight weeks ago I went back to the ministry for an update and I think it was that encounter that made me feel really bad. I always go to the Port of Spain office on a Monday because that is when committee meetings are held. As soon as I walked into the (former) minister’s office he told me to (sex act specified). He told me not to make noise.
As I walked out of his office I felt ashamed of myself. I have two daughters and if I know anyone is taking advantage of them I would lose it. I went to get help but it seems that I have to exploit my body for it. I feel embarrassed, abused and hurt and do not think anyone should be allowed to go through what I have been through,” Singh said.
The Sunday Express contacted Ramadharsingh via telephone on March 25, 2014 at 8.08 a.m. seeking a face-to-face interview in response to the allegations levelled against him by Singh.
At 8.10 a.m. on March 25, Ramadharsingh contacted the Sunday Express and asked for the questions to be sent via text message.
The Sunday Express sent a text message to Ramadharsingh at 8.20 a.m. that read: “Mr Ramadharsingh, as discussed earlier, the allegations against you are very serious. Are you sure you would like the questions sent via text message?”
In response to the text message at 8.24 a.m. Ramadharsingh replied: “Do you wish to e-mail?”
Ramadharsingh then sent the following e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org for the questions to be sent to him.
The questions were sent to Ramadarsingh via e-mail as requested.
However, Ramadarsingh not responded to the questions that were also forwarded via text message.
On March 25, the questions were sent at 8.57 a.m.,1.28 p.m., 3.21 p.m. and 3.40 p.m.
The questions were again sent to Ramadharsingh on March 26 at 7.13 a.m., 8.44 a.m., 10.07 a.m., 11.11 a.m., 1.41 p.m., and 3.38 p.m.
Express reporter Anna Ramdass also attempted to get a response from Ramadharsingh to the questions, and was told by an official at the ministry that Ramadharsingh consulted with his attorney who advised him not to respond to the questions.
On March 27 at 5 p.m., the Sunday Express visited Ramadharsingh’s Point Pleasant, Cunupia home and was told by a relative: “Mr Ramadharsingh is resting, please come back.”
The Sunday Express remained camped outside Ramadharsingh’s house and attempted to speak with him one hour later. However, no one answered the doorbell.
The Sunday Express tried to contact Ramadharsingh yesterday for comment on Singh’s complaint to the police against him.
Up to last night, he had not responded.
Excerpts from the sworn Statutory
Declaration made by Singh
“I went to his office in Port of Spain with my mother and aunt. I asked to see the secretary to make an appointment to see Dr Ramadharsingh and while I was waiting for her to come downstairs to see me he walked in. I recognised him and approached him. I introduced myself and told him that I heard he helps people. He said hold on, that he had just reached and that he was going upstairs and that I would come a little while after to see him.
We waited a little while and then went upstairs to his office. He came outside of his office and said I could come in to see him. The three of us were going into his office and he said he would see me alone. I went into his office alone.
While I was in the office he closed his door and he hugged me. I thought it was a friendly hug and I started to talk and said I wanted a picture with him and took out my camera and put it on his desk so I wouldn’t forget. He said “just now”, then hugged me again and this time he kissed me first on the cheek and then on my lips. His hands then began sliding under my clothes and he started to fondle my breasts.
I became very angry because I didn’t expect this from him but I didn’t say anything because I was lost for words. He then told me to take off my clothes and I saw him pull down his pants and underwear and he sat in the chair. I told him I was wearing a bodysuit and he said to come and (sex act specified).
I again went to his office on a Monday six weeks ago and when he saw me he told me to come into an office which we didn’t go in before. He sat at a desk and I said I wanted to ask something upfront, that if every time I come to his office if I had to give him sex or…I told him he made me feel stink. He said he was still helping me, and then pointed to another room. I said: “Ain’t I now ask you about that.”
He didn’t answer but he continued to point to the room. He got up and walked to the room and I followed him.
When we got into the room he told me to undress and he pulled down his pants. I began to ask him why and I did not want to take off my clothes. He told me not to make noise and I stopped talking. He pushed his hands down my top and said he wanted to see my breast…”