COP team probes Muradali mall incident
By Richardson Dhalai Tuesday, January 15 2013
San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali has signalled his intention to co-operate with a fact-finding committee set up by Congress of the People (COP) political leader, Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar, to look into an incident which reportedly took place between Muradali and his girlfriend at a mall in late December.
According to reports, Muradali, who is serving his first term as mayor of the southern city, was involved in a public spat at the Gulf City Mall, La Romaine, on December 21.
The incident, which was widely circulated on a social networking site, prompted Ramadhar to announce the formation of the committee, chaired by COP deputy political leader, Dr Anirudh Mahabir, to investigate the incident.
The other committee members are psychologists Anna Marie Mora and Laila Valere, and attorney Clyde Weatherhead. Mora is also a deputy COP political leader.
In an e-mailed response, Muradali, who is also a foundation COP member, stated that he would be “providing a report as requested by the committee.” However, he noted, “I have issued a press statement and for me this matter is closed.”
And regarding reports that he had missed a number of public functions and meetings since the incident, Muradali stated, “I have been in office continuously and attended public functions as usual despite reports that I have not been.
“Over the Christmas season I spent many days in City Hall in meetings with Carnival stakeholders such as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, NCBA, Pan Trinbago, TUCO, and others. Just last weekend I attended the Panorama Single Bands Competition in Pleasantville and the Kenson Charity Fete.”
He added, “I will continue my efforts and commitment to the people of the City of San Fernando until the end of my term. The Carnival activities continue to be planned and implemented and we are hoping for the best Carnival ever in the city of San Fernando.” The mayor’s office yesterday issued an invitation to the media to join the mayor on his tour of mas camps and panyards tomorrow evening. This morning the mayor will chair a committee meeting with councillors at City Hall.
Meanwhile, in a telephone interview, Mahabir said the committee would submit a report of the incident to the party’s national executive which would then take a decision on what action, if any, would be taken.
“We are a fact-finding team and so we are in the process of getting all of the facts and compiling a report on the matter,” Mahabir said.
Meanwhile, San Fernando City Corporation councillor (Les Efforts West/La Romaine), Anthony Ramkissoon, said Muradali should “automatically step down” as mayor.
“My view is that he is the first citizen of San Fernando and the head of the city and if what is being reported in the media and on Facebook is true, he should automatically resign as mayor because that is not the kind of role model for our young people and our burgesses,” Ramkissoon said. “I read he placed an apology on Facebook but for there to be an apology, then he must have done something wrong,” he added.
However, Councillors John Mark Chankersingh (Springvale/Paradise) and Jason Williams (Marabella East) disagree with Ramkissoon’s assessment, with Williams pointing out that Muradali had issued an apology.
“I think he has dealt with the issue, and I also think it is a personal issue because we do not really know what took place except from what has been reported.”
Chankersingh said there was a “very healthy” relationship between the mayor’s office and councillors and that the two offices would function for the benefit of the burgesses of the southern city.
Efforts to contact Ramadhar were unsuccessful.