Apr 22, 2015 News
Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran verbally abused activist Sherlina Nageer
and later issued a carefully worded apology for his gross indiscretion. The activist felt the wrath of the Minister because she, from all indications, touched a nerve as she questioned him about his presence on a protest front. (See transcript below)
It all occurred in Berbice on Monday. Ramsaran was leading a protest demonstration mounted outside the Whim Magistrate’s Court, Corentyne, Berbice, in support of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
As he was being interviewed by reporters, Ramsaran said that those who mounted the protest were representing Jagdeo and were against the “wife beater” Christopher Ram.
At that point, Nageer interjected, questioning Ramsaran as to whether Jagdeo hasn’t abused his wife as well. Further, she asked the Minister why he was wasting time on a protest line when he has more important issues to attend to as government’s point man on health.
In response, Ramsaran shouted, “Shut your mouth and get out my face.”
The exchange continued between Nageer and Ramsaran, and the activist pointed out that “we have children and women dying under your watch and what are you doing here wasting time. You have a responsibility to the People of Guyana and their health…this is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars, my money is paying your salary.”
Those utterances further annoyed the Minister and so he decided to tell Nageer that she is an idiot.
“Get the hell out my face! Please… I am having a private discussion. Please, Please, I am having a private discussion…I am a candidate of the PPP…F-off,” said the Minister.
It did not end there, the Minister then called Nageer a “little piece of s**t” and she responded calling him a “bigger piece of s**t.”
Ramsaran then boasted that he would very well “slap her ass, you know, just for the fun…no, no, no, just for the fun…I can have some of my women strip her here.”
Kaieteur News contacted Chairperson of the Women and General Equality Commission, Indra Chandrapal for a comment on the issue, but Chandrapal said that she was incapable of responding at the time. She promised to send out a release before the end of the day (yesterday). Up to press time Kaieteur News was unable to get that response.
However, Red Thread sent out a statement condemning the actions of the Minister as they called him “dishonourable.” The women’s rights organization said that the Minister portrayed “lawlessness and the utter contempt for the Guyanese.”
Red Thread added that while the PPP has been purporting to be a Party that upholds the rights of women and is sincerely interested in women empowerment, evidence suggests otherwise.
The organization said, “We have this caring Government that on the one hand has spent money launching the Task Force on Sexual Offences at least four times between 2010 and 2014. Nothing else has happened. This Government that cares so much about women has paid a consultant to draft a National Plan of Action that is supposed to be done by the Task Force…We even have a new Prime Ministerial candidate, Elisabeth Harper, who we are told will ensure that all of these things happen. And we are told that this new Prime Ministerial candidate will not debate the coalition’s Prime Ministerial candidate Moses Nagamootoo because he was disrespectful to her and the ruling party will not under any circumstances tolerate any disrespect of women.”
The statement continued, “Let us for the moment set aside Attorney-General Anil Nandlall’s attempt, in the most disrespectful terms, to solicit the sexual services of a young female reporter for his uncle. Let us for the moment say okay that was terrible, but the PPP was not campaigning then, they were not electioneering, and had not recommitted to addressing these issues of sexual and domestic violence and other questions relating to women and children. But now that they have done all of this, what are we to make of the exchange between the dishonourable Minister of Health Bheri Ramsaran, when asked by a concerned citizen who has repeatedly attempted to address the issue of maternal and infant mortality, how he had the time to appear in a protest in Berbice in the face of the continuing inadequate care offered by the medical institutions that are his responsibility?”
Yesterday afternoon, Minister Ramsaran sent out a statement to the effect that he was “rudely interrupted by a woman who kept shouting and interrupting me throughout (an interview). I shifted away on several occasions in an attempt to avoid her but she persisted in interrupting the interview. It was unfortunate that I was provoked into anger and uttered harsh words at her for which I now regret. I therefore wish to apologize for uttering those words.”
Transcript of recording
Minister Ramsaran (talking to operators): …And now we are here involved in this support action for Jagdeo, Bharrat Jagdeo, as opposed to this wife beater Mr. Ram, Christopher Ram, known for beating his wife.
Sherlina Nageer: And Bharrat Jagdeo hasn’t had any issues with his wife? Mr. Minister Ramsaran why are you here? Why are you here and not doing your job?
Minister Ramsaran: And you my dear, who are you? I am here… I am here… Which job? I am a candidate, I am a candidate
Sherlina Nageer: You are the Minister.
Minister Ramsaran: Shut your mouth and get out my face.
Sherlina Nageer: No, you have children dying under your watch. Don’t touch me.
Minister Ramsaran: I am not touching you. Please, I am not touching you…
Sherlina Nageer: We have children and women dying under your watch and what are you doing here wasting time. You have a responsibility to the People of Guyana and their health….it is your responsibility…this is a public road, this is a public road, I hope you all are recording this…this is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. My money is paying your salary.
Minister Ramsaran: We have less maternity deaths now, you idiot. We have less maternity deaths now. I am a candidate leading these people. We are going to win the elections and do better. Get the hell out my face! Please… I am having a private discussion. Please, please, I am having a private discussion…I am a candidate of the PPP…F-off
Sherlina Nageer: He just told me to F off?
Minister Ramsaran: Yes I did
Sherlina Nageer: That’s the quality of the politicians…F-off, F-off…you have that recorded?
Minister Ramsaran: That little piece of s**t
Sherlina Nageer: I’m a little piece of s**t?
Minister Ramsaran: Yes, yes
Sherlina Nageer: Well you’re a bigger piece of s**t
Minister Ramsaran: Idiot
Sherlina Nageer: If I’m a little piece of s**t, you’re a big piece of s**t
Minister Ramsaran: Officer, could you stop this woman harassing me?
Sherlina Nageer: I’m harassing you? Look at where my hands are.
Minister Ramsaran: Officer, I’m a candidate of the PPP and I’m here to support….Less women and children dying than under the PNC
Minister Ramsaran: I would slap her ass, you know, just for the fun…no no no, just for the fun…
Unknown: No Minister, Minister.
Minister Ramsaran: I can have some of my women strip her here. No no no, I can.
(Click here to listen to recording)
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