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No complaint lodged against Rampersad
The Equal Opportunity Commission cannot take any action over the incident involving one of its members, Dr Indira Rampersad, because to date no official complaint has been made. The commission’s chairman, Prof John La Guerre, made the disclosure yesterday before a breakfast meeting held by the commission at the Marriott Hotel, Invaders Bay, Port-of-Spain, titled, The Equal Opportunity Commission and You.
Rampersad became the centre of controversy after saying the “Calcutta ship” statements made by the Tobago House of Assembly’s Hilton Sandy were a well-planned PNM strategy which played on the fears of Tobagonians. She said: “People are still focused on political parties and personalities as opposed to issues. It may not be just political parties and personalities.
“It may be another issue, an issue of ethnicity and race. These issues play out in T&T all the time and some people discount it as an issue.” Rampersad later explained that racial and ethnic segregation was not a positive issue that would develop T&T. If an official complaint is lodged against Rampersad, however, La Guerre said, “I would have to seek legal advice because on the basis of the evidence they would have to determine under what category the complaint would have been filed.”
Rampersad’s status as a commissioner, he added, has remained intact. Saying would not have any conversation with Rampersad on the matter, La Guerra maintained it would be “inappropriate” to do so. He added as far as he was aware no other commission member had approached Rampersad about it either.
Pressed further whether he believed as chairman he should discuss it with Rampersad, La Guerre said, “I assume she is an academic and she will have evidence for her observations.” Asked whether the issue was of concern to him, he said, “The issues of race and discrimination have always preoccupied my attention. Until I am advised by the lawyers that it comes under one of our categories, backed up by ample evidence, I can’t comment on it.”
He said the commission investigated specific types of discrimination, among which were workplace issues, race and culture.
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