Businessman and long-standing PNM member and financier Harry Ragoonanan has been expelled from the political party.
The announcement was made by PNM chairman Colm Imbert yesterday at the post-General Council media briefing at Balisier House, Port of Spain.
Imbert explained when a report of complaint was made about Ragoonanan, last year, the matter was referred to the party’s disciplinary committee. Its members conducted an investigation, and yesterday reported their findings to the General Council and recommended that he be expelled from the PNM.
He said the report was discussed and a motion was put to the floor to adopt the findings and recommendations of the report. No one voted against the recommendation but a few people abstained.
Ragoonanan was suspended from the party with immediate effect in October 2017 pending the outcome of a police investigation into possible criminal conduct in relation to alleged bid-rigging in 2016.
At that time it was reported that the party received audio recordings of a voice that was identified as Ragoonanan talking to a Chinese businessman on three separate occasions about the manipulation of tender processes at State-owned Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC).
Imbert said the investigation began in August and concluded yesterday. He also stressed that he and general secretary Foster Cummings were not on the disciplinary committee but his role was to chair the meeting while Cummings read out the report of the committee chaired by Minister of Planning and Development Camille Robinson-Regis.
“It’s very very unfortunate. It’s not a happy day for me. I don’t consider it to be a good day in those terms but there are procedures and there are rules and regulations of the party and the procedures had to be followed with respect to this matter."
Ragoonanan told Sunday Newsday he was informed about the vote by a member of the General Council after the meeting yesterday.
He said he did not want to make any statement until he had the letter officially expelling him in his hands and he saw the wording and the reason for which the party expelled him.
However, he said, “I expected it. We have a matter in court so I suppose they took in front. I will deal with that in due time.”
In September, last year, Ragoonanan sued Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, as well as former public relations officer and National Security Minister Stuart Young, for defamation. The matter is still ongoing in court.