“I am not afraid as Minister of Health to talk the truth.”
That’s how Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh responded to criticism from the public and the father of the young woman he scolded on national television on Monday for breaching the Public Health Regulations.
Responding to a question from Guardian Media, Deyalsingh acknowledged that he received mixed reviews on his scolding.
“I have received some condemnation but I have also received messages from many parents saying at last somebody had the strength to talk to young people,” he said.
“I took an oath in office recently to conduct myself without fear, favour, malice or ill will. I am not afraid as Minister of Health to talk the truth.”
Deyalsingh said he expected to receive backlash from his comments when he made them and added: “As a matter of fact, I thought it would have been worse.”
He said he is “comforted” by the numerous calls he has since received from parents commending him for his actions.
Over the weekend, Samantha Ramischand posted a video of herself and family members on what she said was their “private beach.” Members of the public took to social media to condemn her actions and on Monday the Minister spent a significant portion of his contribution during a virtual press conference to scold Ramischand among other young people who he called “irresponsible” for breaching the regulations.
But on Tuesday evening, Ramischand’s father, a Guyanese-born attorney Odai Ramishchand took to Facebook to defend the actions of his daughter and family. He said his family and friends had gathered to celebrate his last son’s 15th birthday “so it was not a frolic of their own kind of thing or any type of bizarre or uncivilised behaviour.”
Ramischand said the event was on 600 acres of privately owned land but they were adhering to the social gathering regulations.
But he also directed an expletive-filled comment to Minister Deyalsingh saying: “(Obscene word used) you. And your family and be prepared for a fight you have never experienced before.”