“Does being so far out at sea in a small pirogue require courage?” I ask him.
Twenty-six-year-old Simba Garraway chuckles.
Cameraman Bissoondath “Ram” Rampersad was described as hardworking, passionate, jolly and sometimes miserable at his funeral yesterday at his St James home. Rampersad died on January 4 at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, where he was warded after a heart attack. Family and former colleagues from the media fraternity filled his garage and spilled out into the street yesterday as they paid their final respects to the 53-year-old cameraman, who started his career at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT) in 1981.
Court protocol and information manager for the T&T Judiciary, Jones P Madeira, who met and worked with Rampersad at TTT, praised his professionalism during the service. “You couldn’t help wanting to go on your assignment with Ram,” he recalled. Madeira said when he joined TTT he barely knew Rampersad but the cameraman stood out because he did the work of three people.
“It would be quite characteristic to see him with tripod, VCR and camera— the things we paid three people at TTT to do—and he would be running out on his assignment, and would bring back the work, with a lot of complaints, but he would bring it back.” He said that exemplified Rampersad’s passion for his job. Madeira also commented on the recent passing of several other journalists, wishing members of the media would not have to meet any more at the funerals of their colleagues.
“We should stop meeting like this,” he said, adding he now feared the word “veteran.” He was referring to the fact that two other media veterans, Newsday editor- in-chief Therese Mills and TV6’s content director, Curtis Wilson, also died in the past week. Mills’s funeral service was held only on Tuesday, while funeral arrangements for Wilson are yet to be finalised. (See other story) “But the matter at hand is Ram.
Miserable, loving, irrepressible. Those are words that come to mind immediately. He gave me a lot of hell, but showed me the way to TTT’s heaven,” Madeira said, causing laughter. “He was a fantastic person. It is with great sadness I say farewell but it’s a life worth celebrating.” Rampersad’s youngest daughter, Candice Rampersad, 28, said while many saw her father’s legacy in terms of his commitment to his profession, she would remember him for being jolly and mischievous.
“Never a dull moment with Daddy. He was very mischievous. We were the mischievous ones in the family,” she told the T&T Guardian, adding he called her “little one” as she was the youngest of his four children. His common-law wife, television journalist Sandra Maharaj, gave a tearful thank you after the Hindu funeral service, saying the messages of condolence from his colleagues and friends were heartfelt.
“Thanks for all the comments that were made about Ram. That really surprised me. I really didn’t think it would have this sort of impact. Thanks for the love and support and being a good friend to him and to us.” Rampersad was cremated at the Caroni cremation site.
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