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EMA chairman Ramnath dies

By Vashtee Achibar Sunday, July 22 2012

click on pic to zoom in
EMA chairman Kelvin Ramnath...
EMA chairman Kelvin Ramnath...

Four days after chairing a marathon meeting to iron out crucial issues at the Environmental Management Authority, (EMA) chairman Kelvin Ramnath is dead.

Ramnath collapsed and died of a suspected heart attack yesterday, just minutes after he complained of feeling unwell.

Petrotrin’s president, Khalid Hassanali, confirmed Ramnath’s death at the company’s Augustus Long Hospital in Pointe-a-Pierre. He said Ramnath collapsed at the institution shortly after complaining of feeling unwell, and that a team of doctors did everything to try to save his life.

Ramnath worked at State-owned Petrotrin for many years. His last posting was manager of health and safety until his retirement in 2008.

Manager of Corporate Communications at Petrotrin, Gillian Friday, told Sunday Newsday, Ramnath was at the hospital when at about 4.15 pm he complained of feeling unwell. It was while being attended to by a doctor that he collapsed. Friday confirmed a team of doctors tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at 4.50 p.m.

The EMA has become mired in controversy in recent weeks over the destruction of hundreds of leatherback turtle eggs and hatchlings at Grande Riviere by a team from the Ministry of Works. There have been calls from employees of the authority for its CEO, Dr Joth Singh, to step down over his handling of the matter.

Ramnath had called a meeting last Tuesday in an attempt to resolve some of the issues.

Ramnath’s first entry into Parliament was in 1976 as the member for Couva South. He served in this position until 1991, serving as Minister of Government between 1987 and 1988 as a member of the coalition National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) government. When the coalition disbanded, Ramnath served in Opposition until 1991. He was among the group of parliamentarians who were held hostage by Muslimeen insurgents for six days during the attempted coup in July 27th 1990.

Ramnath left the House of Representatives between 1991 and 2000, but served on occasion as a temporary Senator. He returned to electoral politics in 2001, regaining the Couva South seat as a member of the United National Congress led by former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday, and again in 2002 and 2007.

In an immediate response to his passing, Ramnath’s close friend, Panday, yesterday said he was shocked and deeply saddened at the death of Ramnath.

“Kelvin was a friend who fought many a political battle and sometimes against each other. He was a good friend, good parliamentarian, always articulate, sometimes sarcastic in his humour, but always a good orator,” Panday said.

Panday recalled that just two weeks ago, he and Ramnath chatted over the phone and promised to meet to chat and have a drink. He extended deepest condolences to his wife, Debbie, three children and close relatives.

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