Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 5th 2015 Contents Pundit at funeral of
3-year-old accident victim:
on the road
A religious leader yesterday made a plea for
drivers to exercise more caution on the roads as
mourners gathered to say their final goodbye to
a three-year-old child killed in an accident.
Pundit Ravi Maharaj said drivers to be more
careful as dangerous driving continues to take
lives in accidents around the country.
"Sometimes we wonder where these drivers
got their licences. Did they buy it or as we used
to say, they got it in a cereal box? Drivers must
be considerate for others as they have the lives
of other people in their hands," said Maharaj at
the funeral service for Ravendra Gattoo.
Gattoo died in a vehicular accident last Monday.
His mother, Omattie Gattoo, who suffered serious
injuries, was discharged from the San Fernando
General Hospital on Saturday, to attend the funeral.
She sat in a wheelchair for the funeral service
and wore bandages on her right arm and right
The funeral service took place at the family's
Bejucal Road, Cunupia home and the child was
cremated at the Caroni Cremation Site. About
200 people attended the funeral.
Relatives described Ravendra as a loving child.
Some of his favourite toys, including a car and a
tractor, in his tiny casket.
Maharaj singled out truck drivers saying that
they needed to police themselves.
"We must all take precautions. Must the police
be watching our every move? These truck drivers,
are they watching their speed limit? They need
to be more considerate," he said.
"This was very tragic and no one expected this
to happen. When I first heard of this tragedy I
put myself in the family's position. This is one of
the saddest situations that could happen to any-
one," he said.
Monday, January 5, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The attorney for paraplegic Robby Ram-
charitar yesterday questioned Health Min-
ister Dr Fuad Khan s decision to order a
psychiatric evaluation for her client.
Rekha Ramjit said her client was victim
of a police beating and psychiatric eval-
uations were usually ordered for people
accused of criminal offences.
She said Khan should have instead
looked at the mental health of the two
Special Reserve Police officers charged with
assaulting a man confined to a wheelchair.
Yesterday, Ramcharitar was kept under
guard at Ward 9 of the San Fernando Gen-
eral Hospital (SFGH).
When the Guardian visited him yester-
day, Ramcharitar said he went to the St
Ann's Mental Hospital on Saturday night
where he was evaluated and returned to
"The doctors told me I am not mad, I
was never mad. Maybe I drank a little alcohol
that Saturday when the officer slapped me
but I am not mad," Ramcharitar said.
While speaking, a security officer came
to his bed and told him, I talk to you already.
You had enough of the media already.' The
officer would not identify himself, but tried
to stop the conversation.
Speaking by telephone yesterday, Ramjit
said it was possible that Ramcharitar's rights
were violated, but would have to check what
basis Khan used in determining that an
evaluation was needed.
"I spoke to Mr Ramcharitar and he said
they told him that he is under protective
custody and he does not know why. The
only reason he can be in protective custody
is if the police think his life is in danger.
"I am not sure on what authority or basis
that the Health Minister asked that he be
taken for psychiatric evaluation. There is
nothing in the video to suggest that Mr
Ramcharitar did anything untoward.
"Mr Ramcharitar did not do anything to
suggest that he was out of his normal senses.
He may have reacted in a manner that was
unacceptable, but certainly, hundreds and
thousands of people in T&T would act in
that manner on a daily basis," Ramjit said.
Snr Superintendent Cecil Santana said
Ramcharitar was not under police protection
as it would have been officers in uniform
guarding his bedside.
Robby Ramcharitar, the man allegedly
assaulted by police on a Facebook video
was sent to the St Ann s Mental Hospital
on Saturday night before promptly being
sent back to San Fernando General Hospital
(SFGH) a few hours later.
Ramcharitar, who has been living at the
SFGH for months, was referred to the St
Ann's institution by a psychiatrist at the
San Fernando facility.
At around 10.30 pm on Saturday he was
taken in an ambulance, along with a nurse
Medical Chief of Staff at the SFGH Anand
Chatoorgoon said he was flabbergasted when
he was informed on yesterday that the St
Ann's hospital had turned Ramcharitar away.
He said Ramcharitar had been given a
psychiatric evaluation by a San Fernando
doctor and it had been decided that he
should go to St Ann's as the south psychiatric
unit was overcrowded.
Chatoorgoon said he had spoken to the
Medical Chief of Staff at St Ann's and was
told that everything was in place to receive
Up until yesterday, the hospital could not
locate Ramcharitar's family and he was being
housed in the psychiatric unit on Ward One.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan yesterday
said he had the authority to refer a patient
for psychiatric evaluation in the face of crit-
In a telephone interview, Khan said he
had the authority to ask the Medical Chief
of Staff to look into doing a referral from
one medical institution to another under
the Regional Health Authority (RHA) Act.
Section five of the RHA Act says a board
shall exercise its powers and functions in
accordance with such specific or general
directions as may be given to it by the min-
"That is what I did. I spoke to the Medical
Chief of Staff and asked him to look into
it," Khan said.
He was responding to questions on what
basis he could have referred Ramcharitar
for an evaluation.
Khan had previously said Ramcharitar
should be admitted to St Ann's as his behav-
iour in the video which went viral, showed
he used obscene language to a police officer,
was cause for concern.
But former Medical Chief of Staff at the
St Ann's Mental Hospital Dr Ian Hypolite
said the Health Minister may have had more
information about Ramcharitar than him.
He listed the ways in which the Mental
Health Act provided for admissions to mental
"Before being admitted patients must fall
into one of several categories," Hypolite said.
Ramcharitar admitted he was a long-
term patient living at the San Fernando
Asked yesterday if this was proper pro-
cedure, Hypolite said only that he felt that
Khan perhaps had more information.
On December 29, 2014, members of the Cunupia
family were returning home around 11 am, after
spending the weekend by relatives in Barrackpore
when a 40-foot trailer truck collided with their van
along M2 Ring Road, Picton, San Fernando.
Ravendra, his mother, his six-year -old sister Stacy
and their grandparents, Laloutie Balraj and Maniram
Balraj, were in a Mitsubishi four-door van driven by
Kumar Gattoo. The truck which was reportedly
swerving along the roadway hit the right side of the
van and the force of the impact sent the van into a
nearby ditch. Ravendra was killed instantly. He was
sitting on his mother's lap and suffered head injuries.
All the other occupants were injured, treated and
discharged. The driver of the truck was questioned
ABOUT THE ACCIDENT:
In 2012, then Gender Minister Verna St
Rose-Greaves ordered a ministry em-
ployee to be taken to the mental hospital
in St Ann's after she had an outburst at
St Rose-Greaves was criticised for not
following the correct procedure.
The employee, Cheryl Miller, an assis-
tant accountant was committed to St
Ann's against her will. She spent more
than two weeks at the medical facility, be-
fore being released on Good Friday.
Part one of the Mental Health Act
which deals with the admission and de-
tention in psychiatric hospitals or wards
lists the ways for people who are reason-
ably believed to be in need of psychiatric
treatment to be admitted to institutions.
These admissions are as follows;
(a) as an urgent admission patient;
(b) as a voluntary patient;
(c) as a medically recommended patient;
(d) by an order of the Court made pur-
suant to section 13;
(e) by an order of the Minister of National
Security made pursuant to section 14;
(f) on the application of a Mental Health
Officer under section 15.
MENTAL HEALTH ACT:
Victim of police assault sent to St Ann's
Lawyer questions Khan's order
St Ann's refused Robby
Police said yesterday they have gotten
helpful leads to capture the bandits who
shot a police constable responding to a bar
robbery on Friday.
Head of the Southern Division Snr Supt
Cecil Santana said the wanted men should
being caught within a few days.
PC Kashyap Ryan Lochan, 21, was shot in
the abdomen and left leg when he and two
other officers confronted armed bandits at
Vietnam Bar, Barrackpore.
Santana said Lochan continued to make
great improvement at the San Fernando Gen-
Yesterday, Lochan's cousin Dylan Ramb-
hajan said he has been talking to relatives,
but doctors want him to rest after Saturday's
three-hour long surgery.
Rambhajan said Lochan could not identify
any his shooters as all he saw was a red T-
shirt. He said relatives aren't really taking
about the shooting because they don't want
him to relive it just yet.
"Compared to yesterday, he has improved
a lot. His eyes are bright, he is more respon-
sive and he is moving about his bed pretty
well. He wanted to show us his wounds, he
is not too afraid. Although he is small person,
he has a lot of spirit. He is showing a lot of
fight and a lot of courage."
In a message to young police officers, San-
tana called on them to not allow Lochan's
shooting to dissuade them from their duty.
Santana said officers being shot was one of
the risks in the oath they swore to protect
and serve the public.
"We are asking them not to be discouraged
by this shooting and to remember the oath
that they took. I want them to continue the
work that they have started off as police offi-
cers," Santana said. (KF)
Injured cop shows signs of improvement
Medical Chief of Staff at the SFGH Anand
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