GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday May 1, 2015 – Dr Jennifer Westford is the new Minister of Health following the dismissal of Dr Bheri Ramsaran who had been under fire after insulting and threatening a female rights activist in an altercation caught on tape.
President Donald Ramotar said in a brief statement that Dr Ramsaran had been relieved of his ministerial duties.
“The president reiterates his outrage at the verbal outbursts and insults uttered by the minister recently,” Ramotar said, just over a week after Dr Ramsaran was in an April 20 confrontation with Sherlina Nageer outside a court where he had joined supporters of former president Bharrat Jagdeo who is facing a criminal charge.
— SASOD Guyana (@SASODGuyana) April 29, 2015
“We have women and children dying under your watch. What are you doing here wasting time?” Nageer had asked the minister.
He responded by insulting Nageer and using expletives.
“Shut your mouth and get out my face . . . You idiot . . .,” Dr Ramsaran was caught on camera saying. He went on to use expletives as he told Nageer to “get out of my face”.
Nageer also insulted Dr Ramsaran and when she walked off, he told reporters that he would slap her rear end “just for the fun”.
“I can have some of my women strip her,” he also said.
Dr Ramsaran, in a statement issued after the incident was publicized, acknowledged that he had used “harsh” words, but said Nageer had provoked him as he stood with protestors outside the Whim Magistrate’s Court.
“As I was about to depart, two journalists sought an interview with me on the matter at hand, to which I readily agreed. During the interview, I was rudely interrupted by a woman who kept shouting and interrupting me throughout. 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,” Dr Ramsaran said. “I therefore wish to apologize for uttering those words.”
Despite the apology, various women’s and human rights groups had called for his dismissal.