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PM waits for report on Glenn

By LAUREL V WILLIAMS Monday, March 24 2014

FOR the second time in two days, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has said she will await a full report on allegations of misconduct against Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh before making any comment amid calls for him to resign or for her to fire him.

At Phagwa celebrations yesterday at Palmiste Park, Phillipine, on the outskirts of San Fernando, the Prime Minister gave the same answer as she did on Saturday night when approached by Newsday on the issue.

“ I asked the Honourable Minister to give me a full report and I also ask the relevant authorities to give me a full report. So, it will be inappropriate at this time to make any comment on that matter until I receive those reports,” she told reporters.

Several groups have made calls for the resignation of Ramadharsingh following reports of disorderly behaviour aboard a domestic flight from Tobago to Trinidad last week Sunday.

It is alleged that the Minister, who is also the Member of Parliament for Caroni Central, refused to stow his luggage after flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow asked him to do so. She reported to the Airports Authority that he appeared to be intoxicated and touched her inappropriately.

On Saturday, Maha Sabha secretary general Sat Maharaj said Ramadharsingh should resign.

Ramadharsingh was tight-lipped yesterday when asked whether or not he will resign.

“With respect and kind regards. No comment,” Ramadharsingh said when Newsday asked him if he would resign from the Cabinet, whether he had spoken with Persad-Bissessar and what was the outcome of his talks with her.

Ramadharsingh gave no response when Newsday asked if he would be performing his ministerial duties as usual this week. Acting UNC chairman Khadijah Ameen yesterday said the matter involving Ramadharsingh did not come up at Saturday’s UNC congress at Rienzi Complex, Couva where Persad-Bissessar first said she would wait on a report from the minister and the authorities before saying anything about the matter.

Civil Aviation Authority Director-General Ramesh Lutchemedial yesterday said he was not aware that any civil aviation rules had been breached in this matter and declined to give any further comment.

Efforts to contact CAL officials to find out the State-owned airline’s position on this matter were unsuccessful.

On another matter of national importance, reporters attempted to question the Prime Minister yesterday about Saturday’s protest in La Brea in which the protesters claimed a secret Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Chinese government and Lake Asphalt. However, before walking away to greet members of the public, she responded, “We will deal with those matters tomorrow and thereafter.”

Minutes earlier while addressing the gathering at Phagwa, Persad-Bissessar said that it was the first time that her grandson, Christiano Bissessar, eight, ever celebrated the Hindu festival.

“We are proud and happy to be here. Pandavas has been bringing this celebrations to Palmiste Park but today for the first time, I am proud to say my Government has partly sponsored this celebrations. So it will grow and continue to grow. For the first time, my grandson has attended a Phagwa celebration. Give him a round of applause. I saw him play the phall (an instrument), I never knew he could,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Pandavas is the name of the group which hosted the celebrations.

Both grandmother and grandson and MP for Oropouche West, Stacy Roopnarine, were seen dabbing abeer powder on persons. Christiano even wished the gathering a “Happy Holi” to which the Prime Minister remarked, “He is not a politician. He is just my grandson and I am happy to have him here today.”

Among the entertainers at the celebration was the South Oropouche West Chowtal Group in which both Persad-Bissessar and Roopnarine showed off their singing abilities.

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