‘Worst of my life’
By ANDRE BAGOO Friday, October 19 2012
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WET TRIP: Vehicles traverse along a flooded Southern Main Road in Dow Village, Aripero, following heavy showers in this and other parts of Trinidad ye...
LEGAL AFFAIRS Minister Prakash Ramadhar yesterday said the Section 34 fiasco was, “one of the worst experiences of my life” and one which he does not think he will ever live down.
Speaking in an early-morning interview on a State television network, Ramadhar asked for forgiveness, but said he would not be able to forgive himself.
“In Cabinet, we work together as a team at the end of which we take a Cabinet decision.
“Except Section 34 is a fiasco. I will never be able to forgive myself for that,” Ramadhar said.
He said it was “no secret” that he was the Acting Minister of Justice on August 16, when the Cabinet note containing confirmation of the early proclamation of Section 34, was confirmed.
“The Cabinet note for confirmation came and we were duped the way we were duped the week before in terms of the way one reads it,” he said. “We were duped. When you read it, one did not truly appreciate it. And then the information was given that suggested that everything was honky dory and we went ahead with it.
“The confirmation note says that here the Cabinet agrees to so and so.”
Ramadhar continued, “For-
give me, I have made an error. I will not live this down. It is one of the worst experiences of my life. It has happened. What has happened after that? We went and repealed the section. Others will argue well that may not have any real benefit in the long-term, we will wait and see how the courts determine that.”
The Minister of Legal Affairs continued, “It is an awful experience for me, I wish I could turn the hands of time backward, I can’t.” Ramadhar denied the COP as a coalition party has ever flip- flopped on anything.
“The COP has flip-flopped on nothing. The core values we came into this partnership with we still have. We challenge things in the Cabinet. The COP has never issued any ultimatum. We have not done that,” he said.
He said the COP is working on a new party constitution to discipline members, but was at pains to say this had nothing to do with the issue of COP member Sports Minister Anil Roberts criticising him in public.
“We want all those who believe that they could be disrespectful or do damage to the organisation — and I am not speaking about Anil, I am speaking about all — to have a grace period to catch yourself, to fix yourself. Because we don’t want to divide.
“We want to build. And you know it is easy to speak of ‘bussing your throat’ and everything like that. I detest that.
“We will give you the opportunity and then you know there is a line after which if you cross it you have done that to yourself. We have not done that to you. That is coming very soon.”