Monday, March 31, 2014

The "Fire Chandresh" chatter gets noisy; Suruj says it's too early to judge

The Congress of the People (COP) has joined the chorus of people and organisations demanding that Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar fire Tourism Minister and Fryzabad MP Chandresh Sharma over an incident in which it is alleged that he assaulted a woman, causing her to suffer a concussion.

In a media release, COP Leader Prakash Ramadhar expressed “great disappointment” over the allegations and added that Sharma should step down until his name is cleared. Ramadhar said his party is consistent in its position that "where serious allegations are made against senior public officials, as in the case of former Minister Jack Warner, such persons should remove themselves from office until the allegations are properly investigated and resolved."

He added that if it is not voluntary then the PM should act. "In the absence of the Minister’s resignation, the COP expects that the Prime Minister, Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, will move with alacrity, as she has done in the past, to preserve the integrity of her administration and of the institutions of State,” stated Ramadhar.

The opposition People's National Movement (PNM) has a similar view. The party's spokesman Faris Al-Rawi told local media the PNM now awaits the PM’s response on the incident. "We await sight of her commitment to immediacy of action in relation to this most recent scandal," he stated.

And the leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), Jack Warner, said Persad-Bissessar should show consistency and and fire the minister. He also advised that the PM should distance herself and her PP Government from Sharma "as he had not done anything for the Government in the past four years".

There have also been a chorus of internet opinion in support of Sharma. Many of the posts on social media suggested that the alleged victim, Sacha Singh, set up Sharma and that she is the one who was aggressive. The popular opinion from supporters is that Sharma was defending himself from a physical attack by Singh.

Tabaquite MP Suruj Rambachan also joined the conversation Sunday, telling the Guardian newspaper it is too early for Persad-Bissessar to make a pronouncement or take action. And he expressed confidence that Persad-Bissessar will deal with the matter at the appropriate time. "This is a matter that is under police investigation and therefore it is inappropriate to comment,” Rambachan told the paper.

The Works Minister said he has no knowledge of the matter other than what he read in the newspapers. “And not everything you see in the papers you must just accept. There are always two sides to every story, as you would know,” he said.

So far the Prime Minister has not commented publicly on the issue. But she spoke about leadership when she addressed members of the Baptist faith at celebrations marking Spiritual Baptist/Shouter Baptist Day, noting that leaders must make tough decision for the greater good.

She repeated what she said last week when she fired a member of her cabinet. “I am always aware of the higher expectation upon which this Government was elected and the immense responsibility each of us has to uphold public trust in all we do every single day of our lives. It is not a responsibility we can choose to have one day and loose the next,” she said.

“Doing the right thing is not a choice that we make, it is a duty that we have to God, to our families and to our country,” she added. She said she has learned from the struggles of the Baptist faith.

“Each day, I am guided by your strength and determination, even as I face challenges. That is why today, even as we acknowledge struggle, we rejoice in victory,” she said.

She also quoted the American poet, Maya Angelo: “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

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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