Guyana: The arrogant and sick Government Minister – commentary

The arrogant and sick Government Minister

April 23, 2015 | By KNews | Filed Under Editorial

Bherri Ramsarran vs Nageer

Dr, Bherri Ramsarran being confronted by Sherlena Nageer

On Monday, the Health Minister of Government Dr. Bheri Ramsaran created quite a stir during a confrontation with a female protestor (Ms Sherlena Nageer), outside the Whim Magistrate’s Court. In the process he demonstrated the kind of arrogance that Government Ministers and officials exhibit these days.

Indeed, this is not the first time that a government official will be confronted by a member of the public and lose his temper, neither will it be the last. But for the greater part Government officials exercise restraint because in the final analysis the very people they confirm can determine their future. 

The records are full of officials who came out at the wrong end of confrontations with members of the public and in the process, torpedo their political career. Many of them have uttered statements that they have lived to regret. And even after the passage of years, just when they think that the world had forgotten, some enterprising reporter would dive into the vault and resurrect the indiscretion.

As fate would have it, Guyana is a different kettle of fish. Nobody gets penalized for indiscretions. In fact, the power of the day would glorify such a person. And so it was that the entire government of Guyana rushed to support Minister of Health, Dr. Bheri Ramsaran.

Quite rightly, a member of the public who happened to travel to Berbice to hear the legal matter involving former President Bharrat Jagdeo, saw the Minister in a picket line at a time when there are reported crises in the medical sector.  There are parents protesting the loss of their children to what could only be considered negligence of the medical institutions run by the government and the Minister, rather than try to provide answers to these parents, join a picket line in support of a private citizen.

Public figures in a public place cannot seek the protection of the authorities if someone takes the opportunity to seek answers to issues affecting the society. For example, there are reports of an overcrowded Maternity Ward which the hospital says is a normal thing. This should not be normal and the Minister who insists that he has political responsibility for the health sector must offer solutions.

There are repeated maternal deaths. This actually caused the government to establish a committee tasked with reviewing reports from the various hospitals on all deliveries. The Government’s Chief spokesman, Dr Roger Luncheon, announced the formation of the committee in the wake of a spate of maternal deaths, particularly in the Skeldon Hospital.

At one stage, it was as if every woman who went there to deliver her baby, died. Dr. Bheri Ramsaran was the Minister if Health then. To this day the committee has precious little to do because the hospitals are still not keen to prepare the reports. Sadly, there are no sanctions for the lapse of refusal to ensure a better health service.

So it was that the woman opted to enquire of Ramsaran whether he did not have serious business to execute rather than stand up outside a police station to represent a private citizen who has done nothing more than to provide an ample breeding ground for corruption and nepotism in Guyana.

Indeed, it was common knowledge that the private citizen, Bharrat Jagdeo, was not going to be in the court so for the goodly doctor to leave his office to travel to Berbice to be outside a court says that there is certainly nothing of importance in the medical system. It also speaks of the arrogance that the government holds for the people who put it there.

So rather than answer the woman who wanted to know what the Minister was doing in a picket line while there are serious problems in the health sector, the Minister crawls back into the gutter to not only abuse the woman, but also to indicate that he could have women strip her. Perhaps he wanted to be voyeur. But then again, he was at the centre of a storm with a 16-year-old girl whom he had offered to give a lift home and who accused him of things criminal.

NAGEERGATE: Pres. Ramotar reprimands Health Minister

Friday, 24 April 2015 13:41 – Written by   – CND

Under intense public pressure as the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) heads into the tightest election ever, President Donald Ramotar has strongly reprimanded the Minister of Health Dr. Bheri Ramsaran following revelation of statements he uttered during and following a public confrontation with a protesting citizen from Georgetown in Berbice.

“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,” the Guyanese leader was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Ramsaran has been on heard on a recording calling rights activist, Sherlena Nageer, a “a little piece of shit,” considered that he should have “slapped her for the fun of it” and got a number of his “women to strip her.”  At that time she had persistently asked the Health Minister what he had been doing outside the Whim Magistrates’ Court, Corentyne for a hearing of a private criminal charge of uttering racially divisive remarks by Former President Bharrat Jagdeo while many mothers and babies have been dying.

After a grudging public apology on the basis that Nageer had provoked him, the Health Minister was heard in another recording to Regional Health Officers suggesting that Nageer was a “miscreant” who was not only rabid but probably suffering from rabies.  

His second outburst followed a strong condemnation by the PPPC’s Prime Ministerial Candidate, Elisabeth Harper. She has not said anything publicly on the matter so far.

The PPP’s women’s arm, the Women’s Progressive Organisation (WPO), has also heaped scorn on the Health Minister but no organisation or personality associated with the ruling party or the government has called for his resignation. “WPO’s disappointment stems from the fact that Dr. Ramsarran is a hardworking individual who was schooled in a political environment to respect women’s equality.

Dr. Ramsarran is known for his support for women’s empowerment and has always been prepared to provide assistance to women especially those who are medically challenged,”

WPO is therefore dismayed that he allowed himself to react to provocation without giving considerations to his manner of speech; his reaction was unacceptable,”  said that organisation.

Top American and British diplomats here have also expressed grave concern at Ramsaran’s utterances.

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  • de castro  On 04/25/2015 at 2:55 am

    With all due respect…..the minister should do the “honourable” thing and offer his resignation. Its is for the president and his advisers to “accept” the resignation.

    Gutter politics seem to plague Guyana s democracy.

    Sad and embarrassing to all Guyanese especially in diaspora.😇

  • Ron. Persaud  On 04/28/2015 at 10:45 pm

    The Hon. Minister must resign and thereby demonstrate his Party’s seriousness to “…reflect the high standards I have set …” yaddah yaddah yaddah.

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