The Opposition UNC will have a new Senator in the Senate this afternoon following the resignation of UNC’s Gerald Ramdeen on Monday.
Ramdeen tendered his resignation to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar prior to his 9 am appearance in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court. The resignation was accepted.
Ramdeen and former attorney general Anand Ramlogan were charged with corruption-related offences last Friday.
Persad-Bissessar who has maintained the decision to charge Ramdeen and Ramlogan were politically motivated because of upcoming elections, spoke about the situation during yesterday’s Parliament tea-break.
The Opposition Leader said if Ramdeen had not offered to resign the post, she would have requested it of him.
“It is keeping with the manner I have always operated in public office. So I think he did the right thing in that I didn’t have to request it, he sent it. I received it sometime earlier today,” said Persad-Bissessar.
Persad-Bissessar, however, did not say if his replacement would be named before today’s Senate sitting.
“In due course, we will share with you our replacement for the Senate,” said Persad-Bissessar.
She also was not clear if Ramlogan and Ramdeen would continue to represent the United National Congress in legal matters.
“I can’t say at the moment, there are several matters in which they are counsel on record, lawyers on record so we shall see based on what happens in the circumstances whether they will have the same amount of time to devote to those matters that are before the court,” said the UNC leader.
“That will be a matter for them and not for us, basically their time will become circumscribed. They are good lawyers, there is no question they are good lawyers. They have won many cases in the courts, I have no problems with their capabilities as lawyers.”
The Opposition Leader said with regard to criminal allegations, she has always asked her members to leave their posts and prove their innocence.
“I have always taken a particular kind of approach when I was in government, outside I have continued to take that approach. It was clear your name and come back. This is not unusual,” she said.
Ramlogan had resigned from his post as Attorney General while current Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith was dismissed from his post of Minister of National Security in February 2015 amid a witness tampering scandal involving Police Complaints Authority director David West. It is alleged that West was contacted to withdraw his statement in a defamation case against PNM political leader Dr Keith Rowley.
Ramlogan was charged in 2017 in relation to that case, which is still before the court.
In 2014, Minister of Sport Anil Roberts resigned his post as Minister of Sport, amid mounting controversy surrounding the contentious LifeSport Programme and its possible link to fraudulent and criminal activity.
Ramdeen has not been available for comment.
Last Tuesday—before Ramdeen was detained by police for questioning—he was not present in the Senate and attorney Brian Baig acted in his absence on the Opposition bench.
Because of the Senate’s debate today on liquor licence legislation, the Opposition had also already scheduled another attorney to participate in debate of this matter.