Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says he is not afraid and has no regrets about scolding a young woman seen in a viral video on a beach in breach of Covid-19 regulations.
His comments came even as the woman’s father cursed at and threatened Deyalsingh with court action in a post on Facebook late Tuesday night.
“I am not afraid of the backlash. I anticipated it, as a matter of fact I thought it would have been worse,” Deyalsingh said at yesterday’s virtual Covid-19 news conference.
In a video posted on Facebook over the weekend, the woman, Samantha Ramischand, boasted that her family owned the “private” beach and land and, as such, were not risking anyone’s lives.
She said she didn’t owe anyone an explanation as to why her family was at the beach.
The Police Service subsequently mounted a search for the woman, and police interviewed her on Monday and seized her laptop computer and mobile phone as part of their investigation.
At Monday’s news briefing, Deyalsingh slammed Ramischand for her “reckless” behaviour, saying she characterised the “worst of young people in Trinidad and Tobago”.
Ramischand’s father, attorney Odai Ramischand, took to Facebook on Tuesday night to fire back at Deyalsingh.
Cursing at the minister and his family, he warned Deyalsingh to be prepared for a fight he has “never experienced before”.
“I shall beg no quarters or seek no favours. One of us shall be decimated and emaciated and pulverised and I am sure it will not be me,” Ramischand went on.
Talking truth to power
Deyalsingh seemed unfazed at yesterday’s news conference. “I am not afraid. I have no regrets, because we have to talk truth to power in this thing,” he said.
He said while he had received some condemnation for his stance, he also received positive messages from many parents saying that at last somebody had the strength to talk to young people.
He said one parent told him “her child, around 25 years of age, went to a party. Her mother died. It was subsequently found out that that 25-year-old person went to an underground party, got infected, brought the virus home and in her words, killed her mother”.
“I have had messages saying at last somebody is willing to talk truth to power, to the minority. It’s a minority of people. And I took an oath of office recently to conduct myself without fear, favour, malice or ill-will. I am not afraid, as Minister of Health, to talk the truth because it is the continuous sweeping under the carpet of the responsibility of every person,” he added.
Deyalsingh emphasised that his discussion about the woman’s behaviour was not a personal attack.
“It is because somebody chose to put themselves out there and I had to respond. But not everybody is reckless but that reckless minority will endanger you,” he pointed out.
He stressed the unfortunate actions of one person can result in businesses being shut down and jobs being lost.