Derek Ramsamooj

Derek Ramsamooj

The police detention of pollster Derek Ramsamooj is akin to a "kidnapping" as his basic human rights are being violated and he remains without any access to an attorney or his family for two weeks.

This according to his wife Camille Pagee who is fearful that Ramsamooj could be used as a scapegoat in the ongoing investigations into Surinamese Post Savings Bank (SPSB) as he worked for the former Surinamese Government led by the National Democratic Party (NDP) which was voted out of office this year.

Ramsamooj is currently in police custody in Suriname lending assistance to a fraud and corruption matter involving Suriname's State bank.

On October 8, a report in a Surinamese media publication headlined "consultant held on SPSB fraud" stated Ramsamooj was "arrested and detained by the Public Prosecution Service" in the police investigation that is being conducted into the fraud affair at the bank.

Pagee, speaking to the Express and TV6 from her office in Maraval noted that the investigation started after the new Suriname Government entered office this year.

She expressed concern that Ramsamooj is a political target.

"I believe he was just easy to pick up, they should have detained people who are actually closer to the heart of Government action and evidently they are unable to do that but they found him sitting in a hotel room with a well known name, well known as a pollster and therefore associated with the win in 2016 (NDP), there is nothing criminal about that but he was easy to target," she said.

Pagee said Ramsamooj is paying the price for successful record of political services which are all above board.

She expressed fear that false claims could be made agaisnt Ramsamooj in the absence of legal counsel.

"It is an incredibly anxious time when the only proof of life that I really have is the emails received from an investigator asking for more copies of documents, it's like a kidnapping, honestly it's not much different than if somebody has been kidnapped," she said.

Pagee said his health is of key concern as he is suffers from diabetes and needs careful management.

She said it is a "form of torture" to keep a person detained where he will have no understanding of the language spoken around him and also no communication with his family.

Pagee said she retained an attorney but the Surinamese police have "special powers" that do not allow an attorney to speak to his client when he is detained.

"The lawyer is ready and just waiting to demand medical attention for him, demand a proper basis and a reasoning for the kind of questioning going on for so long and why he should be placed on a no fly list," she said.

Pagee emphasised that the work Ramsamooj did was consistent with his business and there is proof and data to substantiate which she has been emailing to the investigators.

She said she reached out to T&T's Foreign Affairs Ministry who assured they are working and doing the best they can.

Pagee said the next step is to demand a consular visit, which is the right of a citizen in another country regardless of any other laws the diplomatic mission have a right to see their citizens and get assurance of the condition they are in.

She said she has a constant battle going on with the misinformation emanating from the Surinamese media.

"I'm asking for the right to legal representation, I'm asking for confirmation that humane conditions are provided for Derek, that proper medical attention is provided to Derek and that he has a chance to defend himself agaisnt charges," she said.

She said there are media reports of charges but nothing official from the police.

Pagee said that from day one Ramsamooj has been cooperative with the police but his continued detention without legal representation and without any access to speak to his family is worrisome and inhumane.


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