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Glenn: I stand by the Prime Minister, PP Govt

By JULIEN NEAVES Thursday, March 27 2014

THERE have been varied responses to the firing of Minister of the People and Social Development Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar over his disorderly behaviour aboard a Caribbean Airlines (CAL) flight. There has been displeasure from a number of his constituents, and resignation by the former minister himself.

When Newsday visited the former minister’s Cunupia home yesterday and called for him he came out and spoke very briefly.

“(I am) supportive of the Prime Minister, the Partnership and the Government,” he said.

He then made a hand gesture as though cutting wind, indicating that he would say no more. The former minister then went back inside his house. After the announcement he was fired he told one media house he will be making a statement in the future but for now he would like some time for himself.

On Tuesday night the Office of the Prime Minister released a statement stating the Prime Minister had advised President Anthony Carmona to revoke Ramadharsingh’s ministerial portfolio. She had requested and received a report from him on his behaviour during a flight last week Sunday from Tobago to Trinidad on board CAL flight BW1519 following a complaint by flight attendant Ronelle Laidlow. A police investigation into the matter is ongoing but Acting Commissioner of Police has said it is unlikely a charge will be filed because Laidlow, reportedly on vacation and back home in St Vincent, has indicated she does not wish to pursue the matter.

Yesterday at the minister’s Caroni Central constituency office in Freeport one of the officials said there was a “meeting” and no media would be allowed in. A manager at the office, who did not give her name, said they cannot make a comment until the executive meets and noted Ramadharsingh is “still their MP”.

One man, who asked not to be named, said “everybody” in the constituency is sad. He recalled Ramadharsingh would normally be in the area talking to people “all the time”.

At the Solo Supermarket one woman said Ramadharsingh had done a lot of good things for people, though she was still waiting for a food card that she had applied for in February last year.

Constituent Trevor Resal told Newsday the firing was a “bad thing” and noted everyone makes mistakes. He recalled Ramadharsingh assisted him with material for his house after it burned down. “Is real people that man help since he out deh you know,” he said. Minister in the Ministry of the People, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, said despite the absence of the former minister the ministry has “very well-oiled machinery” and yesterday, because they had so many projects on schedule “things went pretty much the same as usual. However, Barrington “Skippy” Thomas claimed he and seven other advisers to the fired minister were yesterday barred from entering the ministry’s Port-of-Spain offices and were called “political appointees”.

“The Prime Minister decision has affected all of us. I mean, I did nothing on no plane at all. I wasn’t terminated. And I went to work along with other advisors and had to be humiliated by a Permanent Secretary, and security guards escorted me all over the building and asking us to clear our personal effects from the offices. I mean I am yet to understand what have I done and I have received no notice that I was terminated. So I mean I am extremely troubled by it,” he said.

Thomas noted he has two more years remaining on his contract.

Alleyne-Toppin said she was not aware of the incident but she will be inquiring about it.

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