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Updated: Health Minister relieved of duties for degrading remarks to rights activist due to pressure- Luncheon

The virtual sacking of Health Minister Dr. Bheri Ramsaran for offensive remarks he made to a female rights activist days before general elections was due to mounting pressure for him to resign or be fired , according to a top government official.

Luncheon claimed he did not know that President Donald Ramotar had relieved the Health Minister of his duties and the portfolio assigned to Public Service Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford but  he conceded that such action was a result of calls by sections of society.

“I would want to believe, if I have to hazard a guess, is that the pressures… I am pretty certain that you are aware of the pressures that have been brought to bear on Minister Ramsaran about his utterances and I suppose the pressures have prevailed,” he told reporters.

The Head of the Presidential Secretariat could not immediately say whether Ramsaran remained a government minister or has been sacked for insulting remarks he made to Sherlena Nageer earlier this month outside the Whim Magistrates’ Court.

At that time, Nageer had confronted the minister asking why he had gone to Whim for the court hearing of a private criminal charge of uttering racially divisive remarks by former President Bharrat Jagdeo. After Nageer persisted on finding out from Ramsaran whether he should not have been paying attention to dying mothers and babies, he told her to F-off, described her as a “little piece of sh..,” considered slapping for fun and getting a few of his women to strip her.

Though he later apologized and contended that he was provoked, the Health Minister the following day referred to the incident and again spoke disparaging of Nageer as someone who probably was rabid and had rabies.

President Ramotar’s announcement that he has relieved Dr. Ramsaran of duties as Health Minister followed days of calls and concerns by the international community, lawyers associations, the Women and Gender Commission, Women’s Progressive Organisation and the People’s Progressive Party Civic for him to be sanctioned one way or the other.

“Minister Bheri Ramsaran has since been relieved of his Ministerial duties following a meeting with the President.The President reiterates his outrage at the verbal outbursts and insults uttered by the Minister recently,” according to a statement issued by the Government Information Agency (GINA).