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Rowley: President can fire Rampersad
There is no need to write directly to the Equal Opportunity Commission to have one of its members removed because the President has the power to revoke appointments, says Opposition leader Dr Keith Rowley. Saying it was for a matter for President George Maxwell Richards to directly address, Rowley again insisted that commissioner Dr Indira Rampersad should step down.
He said her comments that the “Calcutta ship” comment was deliberately used were insulting to members of the PNM and by extension citizens. He added: “I have written to the President and because this matter is for the President, since he appoints members of the commission and also has the power to revoke the appointments.
“The President has a responsibility to properly deal with issues like this which arise once a complaint has been made to him directly.” Calling on Rampersad to do the honourable thing and resign from her post, Rowley said: “She has accused us of being racists. It is not only improper for her as a commission member but she has also slandered the PNM members who are citizens of this country.”
Asked if he had received a response from Richards, Rowley said he had been back and forth from Trinidad to Tobago and therefore had not been in office recently. Pressed on whether he was disappointed that no action had yet been taken, Rowley said he preferred to reserve comment. He said: “I am not expressing any disappointment, these things have a way of working out one way or the other. I have a responsibility and other people have theirs.”
When contacted yesterday the commission’s chairman Prof John La Guerre, said there was still nothing the commission could do because there had been no official complaint. He said he had not spoken to Rampersad on the issue, deeming it “inappropriate” to do so. La Guerre said, however, he was aware Rowley had written to the President.
Rampersad could not be reached up to late yesterday as calls to her cellphone went unanswered
What Rampersad said:
Hilton Sandy, who contested the seat of Belle Garden East/Roxborough/Delaford, at a public political meeting in Tobago on January 4, urged the people to vote for the PNM, saying a ship from Calcutta was waiting to sail to Tobago, pending the outcome of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) election which took place on January 21.
Speaking during a TV panel discussion a day after the results, Rampersad said: “Whether that statement was actually said in error, I would say no. I would say that it was a carefully thought-out strategy, because it evoked a response, and I think that was also planned. “If it evoked a response it would create and play on the minds of the Tobagonian and I think we see the plans by the PNM to secure victory and we can say it certainly worked.”
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