PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday May 8, 2019 – The lawyer who has been charged alongside former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan with corruption has stepped down from his position as Opposition Senator, saying that he does not want to hurt his party’s chances in the next elections.
But Gerald Ramdeen is adamant that he is innocent of the allegations levelled against him.
He submitted his resignation to Opposition Leader Kamla Persaud on Monday, the same day he appeared in court with Ramlogan on charges related to a legal fees kickback scheme during the Attorney General’s 2010-2015 tenure under the previous administration.
Ramdeen had been a United National Congress (UNC) Senator for three years and said that during that time he attempted to discharge his responsibility to the best of his knowledge, wisdom and ability.
However, he wrote in his letter to Persad-Bissessar, “having regard to recent events, and after mature consideration, I have come to the conclusion that it is right and proper in the circumstances to offer you my resignation as an Opposition Senator.”
“I consider this decision to be in the best interest of the great party that you lead and in my own interest to allow me the opportunity to concentrate on defending my name and reputation against the allegations and charges that have been made against me.
“This decision is a very difficult one but I do not wish that my own personal circumstances in any way hamper or prejudice the ability of our great party to form the next government.
“I unreservedly maintain my innocence against these malicious, vindictive and politically motivated charges and allegations that have been made against me,” Ramdeen added.
Although stepping down from his Senate seat, Ramdeen said he would continue in his personal capacity to serve his country and uphold the values and traditions of the UNC “by fighting on behalf of the less fortunate, poor and disadvantaged against this oppressive regime”.
The Opposition Leader accepted Ramdeen’s resignation which took immediate effect, and told reporters during a break in Parliament’s sitting on Monday that she agreed with him that it was the right thing to do.
However, she has stayed away from pronouncing on the innocence or guilt of either the resigned Senator or Ramlogan.
It is alleged that the two conspired with Queen’s Counsel Vincent Nelson for Ramlogan to misbehave in public office by accepting sums of money from Nelson for granting him State briefs; conspired for Ramdeen to receive, conceal, and transfer criminal property which represented corrupt rewards given to Ramlogan by Nelson for the State briefs; and conspired for Nelson to give ten per cent of the paid legal fees to Ramlogan as a “gift” or “reward” for being granted those State briefs. The offences occurred on various dates between October 1, 2010 and September 9, 2015.
Nelson, who has entered into a plea deal with the prosecution and will testify against his co-conspirators, appeared in court last Friday and was granted bail. The Jamaican is set to return to court later this month.
Ramlogan and Ramdeen, meantime, will make another court appearance on June 28.
Ramlogan is out on TT$1.2 million (US$ 177,450) bail while Ramdeen was released on TT $1.5 million (US$ 221,812) bail.