BY GAIL ALEXANDER
Acting Senate President Rawle Titus will rule today whether
he will refer to Parliaments Privileges Committee, a
complaint by Independent senator Dr Ramesh Deosaran that San
Fernando doctor Philip Ayoung-Chee physically threatened him
in a letter.
At yesterdays Senate session, Deosaran called on the
Upper House to draw the line at members of the
public threatening members of Parliament for statements they
He said he viewed Ayoung-Chees letter not only as a
threat on his personal safety, but as an assault on the entire
In February, Deosaran alluded to the situation in a brief
statement, saying he had been threatened by a doctor, whom
he did not identify.
Yesterday, he named Ayoung-Chee, a member of the Medical Professionals
Deosaran said the matter concerned correspondence dated January
5, 2005, and received on January 12 from Ayoung-Chee.
He said the threats were related to his contribution in the
Senate on November 20, 2004, when he spoke on a bill to annul
the division of one of the regional health authorities into
Deosaran said he had commented on the need for better care
for the sick and poor, especially those who visited public
He said he noted that some doctors should show more compassion
for such patients and make money less of a consideration.
that Senate contribution, I called no names, neither did I
single out any particular medical association for criticism,
He said that Ayoung-Chees letter, which he received
in January, contained several insults, and his physical safety
was directly threatened.
with his warning that should I visit the San Fernando General
Hospital while he is on the premises I will suffer, to use
his exact words, his wrath, Deosaran said.
warned that if ever I decided to visit the SFGH, I should
do so only when he is not present, otherwise I will meet up
with his full wrath and rot and he will embarrass
me in public.
language was also used by this doctor, whose name and address
were stated in the correspondence, Deosaran said.
He said Ayoung-Chee sent his correspondence, containing very
disturbing threats, via his (Deosarans) fax machine.
Deosaran said that on several occasions, Ayoung-Chee had sent
him faxes, some of which were also published in the newspaper
under his name.
He said under parliamentary law, it was a breach of privilege
and contempt of either House to obstruct, insult or molest
a member while in the execution of his duties.
is expected to be robust in public affairs, Deosaran
a physical threat against a senator in carrying out his duties
cannot be seen as a simple matter.
is one thing, a physical threat is another. And the House
should draw the line.
freedom of movement, my constitutional right to security of
the person and more particularly, my duties as a senator,
have all been put at risk by this doctors letter.
Deosaran said parliamentary privileges were certain rights
and immunities enjoyed by both Houses, committees, collectively
and by members of the Houses individually.
is so that we as members can perform our duties freely and
without hindrance, he said.
such privilege or right is the freedom from intimidation and
molestation as we speak here or go about our parliamentary
such threats be let alone, who knows how many other members
may be less willing to speak freely and fearlessly on important
subjects before them?
should this threat be passed over easily, who knows how many
others may be tempted to dispatch similar threats unto other
Titus said when he decided to permit Deosaran to raise the
matter in the House he viewed it is as a very serious issue.
He said he would reserve his judgment for today,when the Senate
Senate President Linda Baboolal is overseas attending a conference.
Members of the public should stand up and demand that Parliament
must not be used to maliciously assassinate the character
of people, or groups of people, under the aegis of parliamentary
privilege, Dr Philip Ayoung-Chee said yesterday.
Contacted for comment on Dr Ramesh Deosarans statement
against him in the Senate, Ayoung-Chee was brief, only saying,
I want to get a full text of his speech in the Senate
on the matter on February 1 and a full text of his speech
today (yesterday)in the Senate and I would like him to show
me a copy of the letter which he said he received from me,
before I say anything further.