(Trinidad Guardian) The People’s National Movement (PNM) voted yesterday to expel suspended long-standing member and financier, Harry Ragoonanan from the party.
At a press conference at Balisier House following the meeting, chairman Colm Imbert said none of the general council members voted against the disciplinary committee’s recommendation which was presented at the meeting.
“You may recall that sometime last year there was a report of a complaint made about a PNM member, Mr Harry Ragoonanan. That matter was referred to the party’s disciplinary committee and after conducting an investigation and examining the evidence and facts, and following the rules of natural justice, the disciplinary committee reported to the general council today on their findings with respect to that particular complaint with respect to Mr Ragoonanan,” Imbert said.
“There were no votes against the motion. Nobody voted against it. Yes, there were abstentions but not sufficient or in any way impacting on the decision.”
On October 14, 2017, Ragoonanan was suspended from the party following allegations that he was involved in corrupt practices and behaviours with respect to procurement of Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC) buses. The allegations came after the leak of a recorded telephone conversation involving someone identified as “Harry.”
Last August 13, the PNM announced that Ragoonanan would face its disciplinary committee led by party vice-chairman Camille Robinson-Regis.
At that time, Ragoonanan claimed that the call for him to face the committee amounted to a witch hunt. He denied the allegations levelled against him during a press conference held jointly UNC activist Devant Maharaj.
Calls to Ragoonanan’s cellphone went unanswered yesterday and PNM PRO Laurel Lezama-Lee Sing could not say whether had been informed of the party’s decision.
Robinson-Regis said the committee’s findings were not passed on to police and did not respond to follow-up questions.
Imbert said while it was his responsibility to deliver the news, it brought him no joy.
“It is very, very unfortunate. It is not a happy day for me. I don’t consider it to be a good day in those terms but there are procedures, rules and regulations of the party and those procedures had to be followed in regards to this matter,” he said
He said Ragoonanan is not the first member of the party to be expelled but could not say if past expulsions had been done in a similar manner
“People are automatically expelled from the PNM if they join another political party, or if they do things that are inimical to the movement. There have been people over the years who would have been expelled, so he would not be the first one,” Imbert said.