The Opposition PNM yesterday failed in its attempt to have Ministers John Sandy and Suruj Rambachan referred to Parliament's Privileges Committee for recent "misleading" statements on the Reshmi Ramnarine issue. After applications on the issue by PNM MPs Amery Browne and Nileung Hypolite, House Speaker Wade Mark said no prima facie case had been made. Yesterday, in the House, Sandy delivered a second apology on the Ramnarine issue after apologising on Thursday also. Browne, calling for Sandy to be investigated, said Sandy had misled the House and knew or ought to have known that the statement he made last week was misleading.
He said the impact of Sandy's statement was compounded by the fact that he had been trying to set the record straight when he made the "misleading" statement. Browne said Sandy's statement was a violation of the House's freedom of speech and of the Parliament's Standing Orders. Hypolite noted Rambachan had said Ramnarine had a BSc degree in information technology, was completing a BA and had international experience. Hypolite said it was now public knowledge that this was not so.
Noting that Speaker Mark had stressed ministers must give accurate information to the House, Hypolite said Rambachan had committed a contempt of the Parliament with his statement. Hypolite said Rambachan "wilfully and deliberately" misled the House and "grossly" abused freedom of speech in the House. Mark, ruling after Sandy apologised to the House, dealt with both applications in his ruling. Mark said neither Sandy nor the Government had any intention to deliberately mislead the House. He added: "It would be beneath the dignity of the House not to accept the apology of the minister." Ramnarine was the Opposition's focus in other House business yesterday, when Opposition Leader Keith Rowley spoke on a motion concerning the Security Intelligence Agency where Ramnarine works. Rowley quoted extensively from newspaper reports to support his arguments on the Ramnarine issue.