Thursday, August 8, 2013

AG clears the air; never any doubt of paying bills for accident victim

File: AG Ramlogan
Attorney General Anand Ramlogan on Thursday clarified the circumtances relating to the injury of a man on July 29 and his involvement in the matter.

Ramlogan was responding to a newspaper editorial. He said there never was any question about the payment of the man's medical bills.

The AG's media release is reproduced below:

Permit me to respond to your editorial entitled “Step up for Chaguanas West Accident Victim” regarding the accident involving a security vehicle attached to one of the national security agencies. Much has been said about this incident that requires correction and clarification.

The facts are as follows:

  1. I was nowhere around when the accident occurred as I was at a completely different location. Upon being informed of the accident, I immediately sent a private ambulance to transport the victim to the Chaguanas Health Centre. Upon learning that his injuries could not be properly treated at the Health Centre, after consultation, it was decided that he should be sent to the Gulf View Medical Centre where a specialist orthopaedic surgeon was on duty. At the material time, I spoke with Mr Rampaul’s elder daughter, Meera Rampaul, who agreed to meet with me later on that day
  2. On the day of the accident (Election day) I called Ms Rampaul on three occasions for us to meet. She indicated that her father undergone surgery that same evening and was tired. We therefore postponed our meeting and agreed to keep in contact. I voiced a desire to visit Mr Rampaul at an appropriate and convenient time when he was able to comfortably receive visitors
  3. Ms Rampaul and I subsequently met at my office in Port of Spain and I was able to clarify certain misconceptions and explain what had transpired. I found her to be quite understanding and receptive. I confirmed that the Government via the Ministry of Health would meet the financial cost of her father’s stay at the nursing home. I indicated that I had, in any event, confirmed my willingness to pay this bill and that I was prepared to stand by this commitment. I also inquired if there was any other assistance which the Government could provide and certain discussions were held in confidence which I promised to pursue
  4. Soon after Mr Rampaul was admitted to the Gulf View Medical Centre, I personally spoke to the owner of the said institution. It was agreed that an approach would be made to the Ministry of Health to secure payment on the understanding that in default, I would have no difficulty in paying same
  5. I was subsequently advised by Ms Rampaul that her father had to be transferred to another institution and I made arrangements for him to be admitted to the specialist orthopaedic ward in the new wing of the San Fernando General Hospital where he is presently being cared for by a team of competent doctors. Prior to leaving Trinidad last week, I paid Mr Rampaul a visit. I spent half of an hour with him. He was in good spirits but his leg was in a cast. He is a decent and humble man and I enjoyed chatting with him. He was very calm and philosophical about the accident and showed no bitterness or acrimony
  6. I was advised that Mr Rampaul was transferred because he is being treated for a medical problem that predated the accident. This condition has absolutely nothing to do and is in no way connected with the leg injury he sustained in the accident. Mr Rampaul was in fact being treated for this pre-existing medical problem (the details of which were not disclosed), at a hospital
  7. I was very surprised to see Mr Warner in the media posing with Mr Rampaul soon after his operation. I was amused by his public commitment to pay to his medical bills. This surprise visit apparently occurred in the absence of the family. I was, on the other hand, patiently awaiting word from the family as to a convenient date and time for me to visit Mr Rampaul. It was certainly not my intention to visit with any media in tow
  8. Having observed the mischievous and malicious confusion surrounding this matter in the media, I decided to clear the air before leaving Trinidad. At the opening of Parliament, Friday 2nd August, 2013, I was interviewed by the full media (including TV6). When questioned about this matter, I confirmed that the Government via the Ministry of Health would provide the necessary financial assistance to take care of Mr Rampaul’s bills at the nursing home. I further reaffirmed my personal commitment to pay same in default. I also stated that the nursing home was aware of this fact as I had personally spoken to the owner. I am certain that this taped interview can be easily retrieved to verify these facts. The criticism over my silence on this matter is therefore completely unfounded
  9. In the circumstances, I am at a loss to understand the sudden call by your newspaper for the Government and myself to pay Mr Rampaul’s nursing home bill. This has never been an issue. Indeed, the family has never stated that a demand for payment was made of them. I would be extremely surprised if the nursing home demanded payment from the family in light of the discussions I had with the owner. It is therefore a mystery that so much can be written and said on this non-issue. One can only infer that this baseless speculation was designed to portray me as lacking in compassion when nothing can be further from the truth
  10. No one is above the law. The police investigation and the DPP will determine if there are grounds for criminal charges and prosecution. On the civil side, Mr Rampaul may be entitled to substantial compensation from the driver and his insurance company if negligence is proven. These are matters for the court to determine based on all the relevant facts
  11. Having already personally apologise to Mr Rampaul, permit me to repeat same and wish him a speedy recovery

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai