PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Wednesday May 15, 2019 – Another lawyer has been sworn in as an opposition Senator in Trinidad to replace attorney Gerald Ramdeen who resigned last week after being slapped with corruption-related charges.
Ashvani Mahabir was sworn in this morning.
In a statement announcing his appointment, the United National Congress (UNC) said the attorney-at-law and communications consultation brings to the Parliament “wide and extensive academic and professional qualifications as well as significant and widespread experience in the fields of law, political communications and strategy, research, public relations and management”.
“Over the years, Mahabir has exhibited strong commitment to the party’s philosophy and ideology. Mahabir’s appointment is a reflection of the UNC’s policy commitment in ensuring young people’s right to contribute, to participate and be incorporated in our democratic processes,” the party said.
Mahabir replaces Ramdeen who has been charged alongside former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan in connection with a legal fees kickback scheme during the Attorney General’s 2010-2015 tenure under the previous administration.
He has maintained his innocence, and described the allegations against him as malicious, vindictive and politically motivated. But as he stepped down from his Senate position, Ramdeen said he was doing so as he did not want his personal circumstances to hurt his party’s chances in the next general elections.
His replacement, Mahabir, is a graduate of the University of the West Indies with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He is also a graduate of the University of London with a Bachelor’s degree in law and the holder of a Legal Education Certificate from the Sir Hugh Wooding Law School. Further, he is a graduate of the University of Leicester with a Master’s degree in Mass Communications. For the last 19 years he has been engaged in his private law and communications practice.
Mahabir is also a well-known political commentator.
He has had a longstanding relationship with the UNC, having served as Chairman of the party’s Youth Arm and having worked in varying capacities in research and political and strategic communication.