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Dangerous Dog Bill passed in Lower House
The Dangerous Dog (Amendment) Bill 2014 was passed in the Lower House in the absence of Opposition members, who walked out after Attorney General Anand Ramlogan attacked St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh about a woman he described as the MP’s ex-girlfriend “Kristel.” Ramlogan said “Kristel” was deprived of Deyalsingh’s services on Valentine’s night, which seemed to have the PNM MP agitated.
Ramlogan’s statement prompted Opposition members to storm out of the chamber in disgust on Friday night, as they called on him to apologise. The AG said he would not be railroaded by “screaming shouts of apology” and would set the record straight to expose the PNM’s misconceptions and deceptions. Deputy Speaker Nela Khan called on Ramlogan to apologise for his statement on Kritel-Marie Ramnath, an animal behaviourist, who gave written views in the drafting of the bill.
However, Ramlogan refused to budge. He said he was astonished that PNM members had supported the Dog Control Act and were now criticising the very policy. Earlier, Deyalsingh had read correspondence by Ramnath, which shed a bad light on the AG. Ramlogan said on February 10 he received a correspondence from Ramnath that caused him to lift an eyebrow.
He said Ramnath indicated that she had been giving of her time and services freely to him with her views, and suggested that she charge a consultancy fee by invoicing the ministry. On February 12 Ramlogan said Ramnath in another e-mail advocated for a dog bite registry and stated she was willing “to be contracted to set up and monitor a database for this purpose.” Ramlogan said Ramnath also suggested the establishment of an animal behaviour registry and offered to set up a consultancy role for this.
“That would have been the third or fourth consultancy contract that I would have had to give out. By the time all that finish, we ain’t have money to buy beds for the hospital, build roads or a box drain.” Ramlogan said he did not want to bring Ramnath’s e-mails in the glare of the public. Ramlogan said Deyalsingh read selected correspondence written by Ramnath about him. The PNM members never returned to the chamber.
When the votes were taken, 23 were in favour of the Government, while Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner voted against. The bill was passed by a majority.