Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2013 Contents A5
Thursday, June 27, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
"This is a kangaroo court. I was never
given a chance to talk to the COP political
leader and I was never officially informed
that my membership was revoked."
These were the words of an upset Manohar
Ramsaran yesterday, after hearing that Con-
gress of the People (COP) leader Prakash
Ramadhar had expelled him from the party
for undergoing screening to contest the
Chaguanas West by-election on a United
National Congress (UNC) ticket.
In a press release, Ramadhar said Ramsaran
never consulted with the party when he decid-
ed to be screened, although he was a financial
member of the COP.
"The COP has not received any form of
resignation from Ramsaran. The COP s con-
stitution does not permit dual party mem-
bership. So Mr Ramsaran s decision to join
and contest elections on behalf of another
political party, forfeits his membership in the
COP," Ramadhar explained.
"In order to clear up any doubt which may
arise, the COP wishes to make it abundantly
clear that there is no COP candidate in the
Chaguanas West by-election. There will be
only one candidate in that election on behalf
of the PP coalition and that candidate will
be chosen by the UNC."
Former MP and UNC chairman Jack Warn-
er, who was also screened, said it was a mys-
tery why Ramsaran was screened in the first
place, as he was not a UNC member.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bisessar, who
recused herself from screening, told CNC3
news at Rienzi Complex on Tuesday night
that Ramsaran could not contest because he
is not a member of the UNC.
However, Ramsaran yesterday said COP
and UNC were the same.
He said he got the blessing of former COP
leader Winston Dookeran to go for screening
but never got a chance to speak to Ramadhar.
He said he also spoke to Ramadhar s sec-
retary, seeking a meeting with him, but this
never materialised, and also told COP chair-
man Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan about his
intentions, but was never advised against it.
Asked how he could be screened when he
was not a member of the UNC, Ramsaran
said the two parties shared the same ideol-
"The COP and the UNC are both part of
the People s Partnership and I never make a
distinction between both parties. The fact is
we are now in government and I believe these
decisions should not be made as to how we
are going to divide them and that is how I
stand," Ramsaran said.
Ramsaran expressed disappointment at
Ramadhar s decision to revoke his member-
"I have accepted and I want to take respon-
sibility for what happened, I hold no malice
to the UNC leadership," Ramsaran said.
The UNC will announce the successful
candidate at a meeting in Felicity tomorrow.
Contacted yesterday, Seepersad-Bachan
denied that Ramsaran told her he was going
up for screening.
"He told me that he was appearing on a
platform, not screening," Seepersad-Bachan
She added that Ramsaran s membership
was automatically revoked because he cannot
be a member of two parties.
Eight candidates were screened on Tuesday
night. These included Ramsaran, Warner,
Khadijah Ameen, Pundit Satyanand Mahabir,
Mantab Mohammed, Harry Monian, Harry-
dath Maharaj and Manohar Singh.
Ameen said if she is chosen, she will have
to resign as acting UNC chairman and as a
councillor. She chairs the Tunapuna Piarco
Warner has already predicted that he would
not be chosen, saying yesterday he had been
told Ameen would be the candidate.
Contractor Emile Elias yesterday said
DPPs had too much power in T&T,
adding the office should be restricted to
Speaking at the Trinidad Union Club s
guest speaker series at Nicholas Towers,
Port-of-Spain, Elias also wondered why
former executive chairman of Udecott,
Calder Hart, had not yet been charged
He reminded the audience that Hart
had testified that no member of his family
had received a contract from Udecott.
He said it was subsequently proven that
Hart s brother-in-law and his wife s broth-
er-in-law had received a contract for $368
million to build the Ministry of Legal Affairs
Elias said: "Attorney Vernon de Lima
went to Malaysia. He got the birth cer-
tificates of Calder Hart s wife and her
brother and proved they were related.
"That was four years ago. No charge
for perjury has been laid against Calder
Hart. It s very simple. He should be charged
with perjury and brought before the courts.
"Maybe he will say I don t know my
brother-in-law. I don t know how he got
into my house and used my private fax to
send a fax to Udecott accepting the con-
Elias also questioned why former DPP
Geoffrey Henderson (now a High Court
judge) failed to follow up on his written
complaints from August 2, 2005, that a
witness before another commission of
enquiry had perjured himself.
He said he received a response from the
DPP three days later, pledging to take
action after the completion of the enquiry.
Elias said he wrote to DPP Henderson
in October 2005, April 2006 and December
2006 asking for an update, to no avail.
"I am deeply disappointed that there
was not even the courtesy of an acknowl-
edgement after the first one," said Elias.
In an address on the topic, "Perjury and
the DPP --- should he be accountable to
no one", Elias said DPPs in T&T had too
much power and that instead of being
appointed for life, they should be restricted
to two four-or-five-year terms.
He added in light of the fact that Cabinet
had agreed to provide the office of DPP
with considerable additional manpower,
one of the new assistant DPPs should be
mandated to head a perjury unit which
would go after people who lied in court
in official documents or before a com-
mission of enquiry.
The main point of Elias presentation
was the fact that society did not have any
recourse if a DPP failed to exercise his dis-
cretion to charge someone.
In making the point about the impor-
tance of official action against people who
perjured themselves, Elias referred to a
statement by former High Court judge
Anthony Carmona (now the President) in
December 2005 during a trial that "perjury
attacks at the root of the administration
of justice. It is like a rodent. It eats away
the very fabric of justice."
Elias noted that Justice Carmona had
sentenced the person in question, a
woman, to 30 days in jail when the law
would have allowed him to impose a sen-
tence of up to seven years, which would
have sent a message to the society.
A Guyanese women s group is sounding the
alarm over the lyrics of songs by local chutney
soca artiste Ravi "Ravi B" Bissambhar and
Antiguan band Burning Flames.
Ravi B s Prescription and Burning Flames Kick
in She Back Door are beng described as illicit and
seeking to promote gender-based violence.
The Women and Gender Equality Commission
of Guyana (WGEC) is calling for an immediate ban
on the two songs receiving heavy rotation on the
According to guyanatimesgy.com, the commis-
sion s head, Nicole Cole, told Guyanese media on
Tuesday that the commission was totally against
these songs being promoted and played in public
Cole, who is also a member of the Media Mon-
itoring Committee of Guyana, said Prescription
promotes substance abuse.
She was quoted as saying: "Really and truly, no
doctor would give such a prescription---three bottles
of rum a day!"
She said the song also promoted gender-based
violence, which is linked to substance abuse and
led to the murder or the deaths of many innocent
The lyrical content of the other song, which won
the Antiguan Road March in 2012 but was sub-
sequently banned there, is said to be inciting acts
of violence and promoting rape and sodomy of
Cole said Burning Flames is scheduled to perform
at the Jam Zone Regional Nite (a summer festival
in Guyana) on August 16. She said unfortunately,
women are gyrating to the lyrics without recognising
the deeper meaning behind the song.
The commission remains adamant that both
songs are distasteful and disrespectful and in vio-
lation of women s rights.
Cole said: "Just imagine a man drinking three
bottles of rum each day. What will happen on our
roadways and to our women in society?"
Last October, American R&B star Chris Brown
was criticised by the same body, after he was billed
to perform in the capital, Georgetown.
Protesting women s groups voiced their opinions
on blogs, saying allowing Brown to perform in the
country sent the wrong message, given his criminal
record of domestic violence. Brown was convicted
in 2009 of felony assault after beating his girlfriend,
the Bajan singer Rihanna.
In a short text message to the T&T Guardian
yesterday, Bissambhar apologised to his Guyanese
He said: "I am very sorry if anyone finds my
song offensive. It was done purely as an item of
entertainment and I have performed it several times
in Guyana. I love all my Guyanese fans and again
I am sorry if anyone feels offended."
Also contacted yesterday, Tuco president Lutalo
"Brother Resistance" Masimba said although you
cannot tell an artiste what to write or sing, it was
the personal responsibility of all artistes to be mind-
ful of the messages conveyed in their songs.
"As an artiste you have a responsibility because
you are dealing with words and you are putting
music out there for people to move to. They also
have to remember that this music can be heard by
children," said Masimba.
He said it was also the responsibility of radio
stations and the media to ensure songs with improp-
er or offensive lyrical content were censored.
The T&T Guardian also tried to reach Minister
of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas,
for comment, but calls to his phone went unan-
Ravi B's Prescription
under fire in Guyana
UNC candidate contenders for the Chaguanas West by-election Manohar Ramsaran, right, and
Jack Warner greet each other outside the Rienzi Complex, Couva, on Tuesday, during the
party's screening committee sitting to select the person to contest the seat left vacant by
Warner. Ramsaran was subsequently ruled ineligible to run. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
Embarrassed over UNC screening fiasco...
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