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Opposition Senator Faris Al-Rawi is calling on
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan to apologise
in writing and provide charitable donations on
behalf of Kristel Marie Ramnath.
Al-Rawi s call came during yesterday s Senate
debate on the Libel and Defamation (Amendment)
Bill, which was presented by Ramlogan and seeks
to abolish the criminal offence of malicious defam-
He was commenting on the issue which occurred
in the House of Representatives last Friday, when
Ramlogan had reportedly said the PNM s St Joseph
MP, Terrence Deyalsingh, was agitated because a
former girlfriend, Kristel, was deprived of his services
on Valentine s night.
Ramlogan said yesterday, however, that it was
just picong and given in the cut-and-thrust of
But Al-Rawi, who spoke after Ramlogan yesterday,
said the matter was not just one of picong and
He said it was a serious matter and the AG could
not be excused for his attack by saying Deyalsingh
was thinned-skin or that it was normal cut-and-
thrust of politics.
"What we have objections to is the derogation
and sullying of a young lady s name," Al-Rawi said.
He told legislators if Ramlogan was serious about
an apology he should submit a written apology in
the House of Representatives.
"It is incumbent on the AG to man up and offer
the kind of proper apology that should be offered,"
He said the AG should also consider "making
some form of charitable donation to cater for the
derogation and destruction of reputation to the
And dealing with the bill itself, Al-Rawi said the
Data Protection Act, which has not been proclaimed
despite being passed in 2011, was worse than the
Libel and Defamation Amendment Bill.
The Opposition senator said there were provisions
in the unproclaimed bill for media workers to face
criminal action. He said part four of the act dealt
with the control of personal information in private
He said media houses would face worse penalties
if the Data Protection Act was proclaimed and oper-
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
AG apologises to Deyalsingh...
for 18th FEBRUARY, 2014
Although Attorney General Anand Ram-
logan yesterday apologised for statements
he made last Friday concerning People s
National Movement (PNM) MP Terrence
Deyalsingh and animal behaviourist Kristel
Marie Ramnath, he maintained it was just
"good political picong".
Ramlogan delivered the apology while
piloting the Libel and Defamation Act
amendment seeking to abolish malicious
defamation libel as a criminal offence.
However, picong by PNM senator Camille
Robinson-Regis prompted Ramlogan to
comment on the issue concerning Deyals-
ingh and Ramnath.
The Opposition PNM walked out of Par-
liament last Friday during debate on the
amendment after Ramlogan reportedly
attacked Deyalsingh about a woman
described as the MP s former girlfriend
Ramlogan reportedly said "Kristel" was
deprived of Deyalsingh s services on Valen-
tine s night.
PNM MPs called on Ramlogan to apol-
ogise. The deputy Speaker also called on
Ramlogan to apologise for his remarks on
Ramnath, an animal behaviourist who gave
written views on the drafting of the Dan-
gerous Dogs Bill. The PNM subsequently
stormed out of Parliament in protest.
In yesterday s debate, after Robinson-
Regis tossed picong at Ramlogan about the
United National Congress (UNC), Ramlogan
acknowledged that this was picong, adding:
"I didn t get up and walk out of Parlia-
He explained that last Friday s House
debate on Valentine s Day included picong
about everyone wanting to go home as they
really wanted to be with loved ones on
Valentine s night.
He added on the Deyalsingh/Ramnath
issue: "... So you have to take some fatigue...
and then the media said girlfriend and a
man said my wife and children suffering
but what does the Hansard (Parliament)
record show, two things. I want to correct
the media on that.
"First the Hansard shows it wasn t girl-
friend , it was ex-girlfriend and secondly,
it also showed when called upon to apol-
ogise, I did. It was good political picong
and I do hope it wasn t taken out of context
(but)... it probably was."
Ramlogan added: "But to the extent that
was misunderstood, misrepresented and
inaccurately reported and portrayed... that s
the kind of thing one has to live with as
part of a free and functioning, or dysfunc-
tioning, or malfunctioning democratic soci-
"But the apology is there. I humbly apol-
ogise, you never too big to apologise."
He said political picong was part and par-
cel of "who we are in T&T."
On debate on the bill, Ramlogan said
sometimes remarks were not malicious or
intended to cause harm and could be inad-
vertent or political humour.
He noted that in that regard, parliamen-
tary picong and cross talk, if taken out of
context, could be misinterpreted.
Ramlogan said that was why the Parlia-
ment channel only broadcast the voice of
the person on their feet speaking and not
the cross stalk. He said MPs understood the
dynamics of the situation, so there could
be no malicious intent
Contacted yesterday, PNM s Deyalsingh
said he had not seen yesterday s Senate
debate when Ramlogan apologised and until
he saw a written version or saw it he could
'It was only good
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, right, and Minister of Justice Emmanuel George look
over a document during the Senate sitting yesterday. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE
it in writing
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