Last update: 09-Dec-2013 1:43 am
Monday, December 09, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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I’m no deportee
The Independent Liberal Party’s candidate for Palmiste/Hermitage, Charran Sookoo, is demanding a public apology from Attorney General Anand Ramlogan for defamation, after Ramlogan said Sookoo had been deported from the United States for stealing electronics. Sookoo, 48, of Hillpiece Road, San Fernando, yesterday denied he was deported from the US or that he was ever charged or convicted of larceny.
He also revealed that he had repaired the AG’s TV. Showing off his passport and visa as proof of his innocence, Sookoo said: “I am not a deportee. I lived and worked in the US for six years and then I came back home to build my life. I have a valid passport and visa.” His passport showed he last travelled to the US in April this year. Sookoo added that Interpol did not make mistakes and if he were a deportee his visas would have been revoked.
He said he has taken the matter to his attorney and plans to send a pre-action protocol letter to the AG. “I am ashamed of Ramlogan’s irresponsible behaviour. The AG could have easily checked his information before coming on a platform and making untrue accusations,” Sookoo said. “I want him to publicly clear my name. I come from a respectable home and I don’t want my character to be damaged. “The financial part is not important. I just want him to give me a public apology. I have proof that I am travelling.”
Sookoo, who owns Charran’s Electronics, said his business is suffering because of the allegations. “People are sceptical about coming to my business. I have a small establishment where I fix electronics like printers, fax machines, televisions. My business has suffered a couple thousand dollars well.” He said he has visited the AG’s home twice to fix his television. “His wife has my number. I went to the AG’s home twice to fix his TV. It is so unfair that he will do that to me.”
Sookoo said he came from a prominent family. His father, Chan Sookoo, was the public relations officer of the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) and in 2012 he was given a national award for excellence in education. Sookoo’s son Brandon, a national scholarship winner, is expected to graduate with honours in law. He said despite the allegations he did not regret getting involved in politics.
“I am so disappointed that the campaign has dropped so low. In all my years, I have never seen politics so dirty. The campaign has gone to the dogs,” Sookoo said. “I entered politics because I feel I can do something for my people. This is not about the money.” He said if elected he will develop committees to cater to the needs of citizens.
AG: No apology from me
Contacted yesterday, Ramlogan said he would not apologise to Sookoo because he had not seen documentary evidence that he was not a deportee. “I said on the platform that an allegation has been made that Sookoo was deported because he was accused of stealing electronics,” he said. “I invited him to clear his name. I called upon everyone to clear the air and refute the allegation if it is untrue.”
Asked if he had checked Sookoo’s records, Ramlogan said: “For those whom I indicated had been convicted, yes, we checked their criminal records. For those whom I indicated had pending matters before the court, yes, we checked those records, and the fact that one candidate out of 18 has come forward to rebut this allegation, to say that it is not true, doesn’t say very much for the 17 others who have remained silent.
“The charges and convictions against ILP candidates range from drug trafficking and gun possession to robbery with violence and fraud. Those are far more serious offences.” He said Sookoo should be thanking him for the opportunity of clearing his name instead of demanding an apology.
Since the local government election campaign started, United National Congress (UNC) activists have been attacking members of the ILP. Deputy leader Dr Roodal Moonilal has named 16 candidates from the ILP he claimed had pending or previous matters in the courts. Moonilal claimed the ILP was attracting criminals.
The offences include assault and battery, kidnapping, rape, theft, fraud, embezzlement, larceny of a motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, robbery with violence, robbery with aggravation, trafficking narcotics, possession of narcotics, illegal stay, illegal entry, possession of illegal firearms, shooting with intent, possession of ammunition, indecent assault, obscene language, malicious damage, throwing missiles, obtaining money by false pretences, and begging by false pretences.
Moonilal claimed that ILP candidate for Morvant area in the San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation Kerwin Bucchan was a “double deportee.” Bucchan, who was granted bail on recent charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition and shooting with intent, remains a candidate for the October 21 elections.
Moonilal also questioned whether ILP think tank member and candidate for Carlsen Field/St Mary’s candidate, Kenneth Roach, was the same man who was fired from a company in the East- West Corridor after being found in impropriety. The ILP’s deputy political leader, Anna Deonarine-Rampersad, was also named on a PP platform in connection with a Range Rover allegedly stolen from the United Kingdom.
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