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Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley

Patrick Ramdial, the man who first made the statement which prompted a report of “race” being behind the Government’s decision not to bring 33 nationals stranded in Barbados back to T&T, now says he deeply regrets the claim and intends to apologise to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and the country at some stage.

Ramdial’s plan was revealed in a release issued by attorney Prakash Ramadhar on the man’s behalf yesterday.

Ramadhar said he issued the release after a conversation with the man, whom he said, “regrets having made that statement and that at some point in time he wishes to apologise to the Prime Minister and the Government and to the people of Trinidad and Tobago for his unfortunate and unthought-of words.”

According to Ramadhar, Ramdial was “the elderly man who, in moments of great frustration, anguish, desperation and confusion and who could not have appreciated the enormity of the decisions that had to be made and therefore, resorted to his simple understanding of what was happening, has created an unnecessary conflagration.”

The statements, which were reported in another newspaper, has sparked some controversy with even the Prime Minister weighing in. But Ramadhar yesterday said he did not believe the decisions made by Government in relation to the 33 nationals in Barbados were based on race.

Guardian Media has been able to confirm that 31 of the 33 stranded nationals in Barbados are of East Indian descent.

Ramadhar said, “It is the easiest fallback position when other considerations are not properly ventilated, to assume the worst in others. I find it more than disturbing in our society that in a moment of stress, in a moment of crisis, it will divide itself by the actions or words of a few. Putting the most corrosive interpretation and the most damaging result to very serious and important questions.”

Ramadhar, who is also the St Augustine MP and one of the attorneys who have championed the cause for citizens stranded abroad to be returned home, added, “It was based on my interpretation of balancing what is necessary and what is doable.”

On the COVID-19 pandemic, Ramadhar said there are challenges that can be met in conducting the proper testing and quarantine procedures being done now with citizens who have been infected and tested positive.