AS a father, attorney Odai Ramischand is not apologetic for his social media rants critcising those who targeted his daughter Samantha Ramischand, in particular, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Ramischand asked, “What right do you have as minister to berate my daughter in public? And I must stay silent?”
He made it clear his posts on Facebook were his and were the words of a father who saw his daughter being publicly lynched. Ramischand admitted he was still learning to use the platform so his words may not have come across as coherent, but he was adamant that his daughter is being used as a scapegoat.
In the interview, Ramischand also repeatedly said he was speaking as father and not his daughter’s attorney since she has retained her own legal counsel.
His own family is not too happy with his statements on the social media platform, but he said he had his independence.
Ramishchand said his daughter has isolated herself.
Does he regret the statements he made? “No. I don’t regret it. It is commensurate with and proportionate to the seriousness of the misconduct of the minister in depriving her (his daughter) of her right to a fair trial if she is charged with an offence under the public health regulations.”
On Saturday, the police shared a video his daughter allegedly shared on Instagram claiming she was at her "own private beach” and not breaching the law. On Tuesday, police visited her St Augustine home where they interviewed her and seized her phone and laptop computer. The Cyber Crime Unit is now investigating.
A day earlier, at the Health Ministry’s covid19 news briefing, the younger Ramischand received a tongue lashing from Deyalsingh when he referred to her as the “worst of young people in TT.”
The elder Ramischand posted on Facebook on Wednesday morning, telling the minister, “F--k you and your family,” insisting the beach is his family’s private beach.
In the interview with Newsday, Ramischand repeated much of what he posted on Facebook.
He said there were people now berating his children who conducted themselves in a civilised way. He insisted that the beach where his children were was private and no one can access it other than through their property.
“They were not disrespecting the (public health) regulations. There were only three of them there and it was private property.
“It was not a frolic of their own kind of thing or any type of bizarre or uncivilised behaviour. I was monitoring everything,” Ramischand said in his Facebook post, adding he was also cautioning them to observe physical distancing and also said that they were staying in different houses and did not exceed five people being together.
He said one of his daughters is a medical doctor. “If my daughter Dr Ramona Ramischand provides health care services to the people of Trinidad and Tobago, don't you think she would have cautioned her sister about her conduct on the private family beach and beach houses?”
In his interview with Newsday, while taking aim at Deyalsingh – he said he had nothing personal against the minister – Ramishchand wanted to know what evidence he had that his daughter was disregarding or breaching the public health regulations.
“Does he have evidence that is admissible in law that my children were on a private beach or public beach violating regulations? How can he come to these conclusions?” he asked, as he accused the minister of being judge, jury and executioner against his daughter.
“Let’s say my daughter is charged. All those statements he made, how can she be guaranteed a fair trial? He (the minister) has, in fact, deprived her of a fair trial by adverse pre-trial publicity.
“I want the minister, the Prime Minister and the Attorney General to guarantee she will get a fair trial if she is charged,” he said, promising to fight the matter all the way to the Privy Council if he has to.
He said by his actions, the minister can be prosecuted for perverting the course of justice by failing to ensure his daughter will receive, if charged, a fair trial. And, he said, he will personally bring a private charge against Deyalsingh if it comes to that.
“You breached my daughter’s rights by being judge, jury and executioner by making statements prejudicial to her. Don’t you think the prime minister should fire you? I am not going to tolerate it. If they charge her, I will make sure she files private charges against the minister for interfering with justice with no guarantee of a fair trial.”
He said he will also throw in an application to stay any prosecution, and a constitutional motion. In his Facebook post, Ramischand warned the minister to be prepared for a fight he had never before experienced.
“One of us shall be decimated, emaciated and pulverised and I am sure it will not be me … I do not mean any violence whatsoever, but the pursuit of justice by the might and wealth and the power of my family …”
Ramishchand also questioned on what basis the police obtained its search warrant to go to his daughter’s home and seize her property. “Did they have evidence to satisfy the court?”
He also had a problem with the police’s sharing of the Instagram video and its appeal for assistance from the public to find the person in the video.
“She was made a scapegoat. They (the police) used her as an example for the failures and compromised integrity of the minister and the law-enforcement apparatus,” he said, pointing to the criticisms levelled at the police for its handling of the pool party at Bayside Towers.
“And because of the defamatory attack on the minister and the police by the public, they are seeking to make an example out of her,” he said, adding “they may not have realised the damage they have done.”