|‘Sick’ Glenn sorry for bad behaviour |
By JULIEN NEAVES AND MARLENE AUGUSTINE Friday, March 21 2014
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GLENN APOLOGISES: Minister of the People and Social Development, Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh, speaking to the media yesterday at Capital Plaza hotel, in Po...
IN RESPONSE to allegations that he inappropriately grabbed and threatened a female flight attendant while on board a Caribbean Airlines flight, Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh has apologised for being un-cooperative stating he was “unwell” and “fatigued”.
However, he denied there was any physical interaction with the woman.
Ramadharsingh spoke on the issue yesterday following a stakeholder session on street-dwelling at Capital Plaza Hotel, Port-of-Spain.
A newspaper article yesterday stated police were investigating a report of disorderly behaviour by Ramadharsingh while aboard a domestic flight from Tobago to Trinidad on Sunday.
According to the article, flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow, 25, reported Ramadharsingh refused to stow away his luggage, appeared intoxicated and refused to switch from an emergency seat. The attendant reported that the minister attempted to grab her pass pinned above her left breast and threatened that her days “are numbered”.
Acting Prime Minister Winston Dookeran, speaking during a media conference yesterday at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair, reported that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar had been informed of the situation.
“The Prime Minister has been informed and I have had a discussion with the minister, and he will be dealing with the matter, in due course,” he said. Questioned whether he was satisfied with his Ramadharsingh’s explanation Dookeran said he did not provide an explanation, but “we just discussed the matter”.
At the Capital Plaza, Ramadharsingh provided his chronology of the events to the media. He reported that on Saturday, after spending an entire day in his Caroni Central constituency in walkabouts, he participated in a sporting activity, where he won a bronze medal in a sack race and ran the 100 metres.
He noted he had some meetings in Tobago to plan major initiatives with the “Direct Impact” exercise, and they have been working with the Tobago House of Assembly on some projects.
“I also had my family vacationing in Tobago, and I thought I would spend some time with them,” he added, noting that his uncles, godfather, godmother and some cousins were all on the sister isle. Ramadharsingh reported that on Sunday, he decided to leave earlier than planned “because I began to feel very unwell”. After he was unable to get a doctor in Tobago he telephoned his doctor in Trinidad and informed him he would be returning home and would like to see him. He reported that upon arrival at the ANR Robinson Airport he asked if he could be allowed to sit in a private area, and the arrangement was made by operation supervisor Mr Alleyne.
“I would have thought that the information would of been passed on. I do not know what occurred. Feeling noxious (sic) and quite ill I returned with family members on the flight. I sat at a seat at the back, and there was some conversation with an air flight attendant about fixing my bag which had to be placed in several cabins ahead, due to the space on the aircraft. She felt that I should move to another seat at the front. At the point in time I did not agree. Reflection is always healthy. I believe that I should not have been perturbed with some of the requests she made, and I have since on arrival at the Trinidad (airport) I did indicate that I apologise. (I) do so again, and I do so again. An unreserving (sic) apology,” he said.
Ramadharsingh noted that his doctor in Trinidad told him that he suffered from severe fatigue.
“I do apologize, and if she felt that I was not co-operative, but that I was really, really that I have run a very long and arduous schedule which I should not have done, so therefore this is my disposition on this matter,” he said.
Ramadharsingh, however, denied other accusations in the report, though he did not mention all of them specifically.
“There are many other issues that I will like to totally deny - there was no physical interaction. In fact members of my family were with me, and I have the information from them, and I would really not like to say more than that,” he said.
He also denied he had made a request to CAL management to meet with Laidlow to apologise to her. According to the article Laidlow has indicated she does not wish to pursue the matter further, but the police will continue their investigation since a report was filed.
In a press release yesterday, Independent Liberal Party political leader, Jack Warner, called for the Prime Minister to do the “right thing” and immediately fire Ramadharsingh.