The Private Sector Commission(PSC) on Friday weighed in on Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran’s recent ‘slap and strip’ verbal assault of a female activist and said the President and other government officials mere condemnation was not enough as the Commission urged President Donald Ramotar to take action which could include asking for his resignation.
During an engagement with the media at his Waterloo Street, Georgetown office, PSC Chairman Ramesh Persaud said the Minister’s conduct, though “provoked”, was “unacceptable and irresponsible.”
“We believe that his behavior warrants the sanction of the President and we are looking for the President to take the right actions necessary,” Persaud said.
When pressed further he said the sanctions could include asking Dr. Ramsaran to resign.
Just one day after issuing an apology for his “harsh words” directed at women’s rights activist, Sherlina Nageer, Guyana’s Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsarran has found himself in more hot water after he was recorded telling a health forum that the activist is a “miscreant” who is in need of “psychiatric help”.
Meanwhile, popular Businessman and Public Relations Consultant Kit Nacimento explained that the PSC understands that the discretion for action resides with the President but hopes he acts as the situation requires.
“It is an inexcusable behavior, totally inexcusable behavior from a Minister of the government,” he added.
President Donald Ramotar broke his silence on the verbal attacks on Friday morning in a statement which 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”.
A number of local human rights groups and activists have called on the Minister to resign from office. The US and British governments have also issued strong condemnation of the remarks.
At a meeting on Thursday with health officials, one day after he apologised for his initial remarks, Dr. Ramsaran sought to address the fall out by describing the activist he had wanted to “slap and strip” as a “miscreant”.
He said “so we have these miscreants who are sometimes supported by the international community because they are rights activists, right to spit in my face but not collect two slap, you understand me, or one of my ladies who love me wreck her up, you understand me?”
The Health Minister added that “well you know I’m Bheri best, all the ladies like me. Suppose one of my big strong women seh “wuh yuh do we doctor, wuh yuh do dis innocent lil man? Wacks! Wacks! Then she’s going to become a hero, some of us will make sure we give her a medal. Right, spit in my face, I don’t know if she got rabies or what, I know she was rabid. That woman need psychiatric help.”
During a confrontation outside the Whim Magistrates’ Court in Berbice on 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”.