General Secretary of the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic Clement Rohee on Monday disclosed that Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran has been “sanctioned” at the Party level for his recorded verbal abuse of a female rights activist last week.
Those sanctions included speaking to the Minister “seriously” at a meeting of the Executive Committee, according to Rohee.
No other action has been taken against Dr. Ramssaran even in the face of calls for his resignation.
The Health Minister who is also on the Party’s list of candidates for the upcoming elections found himself in hot water twice last week for uttering what he considered “harsh words” directed at women’s rights activist, Sherlina Nageer and subsequently saying she was a “miscreant” who is in need of “psychiatric help” after offering an apology on the first occasion.
His repeated actions caused a number of local human rights groups and activists, including the Private Sector Commission to urge President Ramotar to demand his resignations, which he is yet to do.
The United States, Canadian and British governments have also issued strong condemnation of the remarks.
To this end, Rohee said there is nothing the ruling Party can do. “The resignation of any government Minister is a matter that rest with the President… we await further development at the Presidential level,” Rohee said.
President Donald Ramotar broke his silence Friday last on the verbal attacks which occurred on Monday. In a statement he said “The statements and behaviour of the Minister do not reflect the high-standards I have set for Ministerial conduct nor the public’s expectations of an office holder. It is outright disrespectful and improper. I intend to have further discussions with the Minister on this matter”.
This comes even as the ruling party has promised in its elections manifesto to formulate a code of conduct for Cabinet Members and public officials should it win the upcoming elections. The PPP/C has governed for the last 22 years without such a document.
During a confrontation outside the Whim Magistrates’ Court in Berbice last Monday, the Health Minister called the women’s rights activist “a piece of sh#t” and an “idiot” who should get out of his face and “eff off”after she persistently questioned him about the maternal death rate in Guyana.
As Ms. Nageer was being led away by the police, Ramsarran could be heard telling two reporters that “I would slap her ass you know just for the fun and I can have some of my women strip her right here”.
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