30 Jan 2011

The saga of close personal relationships

No matter where I turn, this Reshmi Ramnarine issue is not going away. Indeed, the more we tune in, the more shocking the facts revealed become. This post is based upon today’s articles in the Express, the Guardian and the Newsday. The information presented here is a mixture from all three articles, presented here to clarify issues as I see/understand them.

Let’s start off with the Express, which reveals that the person recommending Ramnarine for the position was Deputy Director of the Strategic Services Agency (SSA) Julie Browne. Why? The Newsday provides an answer.

According to SIA sources she shared a close working relationship with a senior official of the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA) and it was that person who was one of many who had recommended Ramnarine for the job as SSA Director. According to well placed sources that official and another senior SSA official have not been seeing eye to eye within recent times because the two have been secretly vying for the top job as Director of the SSA.

“They have been undermining each other even to the point of leaking information to politicians both in the People’s Partnership and the PNM and the situation has reached the point where the two have stated that they cannot work together.”

Now we have revealed a reason for the monumental jump over 22 senior persons: an internal rift between Trevor Ganpat and Julie Browne. From all accounts though, Ganpat is fully qualified for the position but it seems that his rival and equal (in position) did not want him to rise ‘above’ her. She preferred to see an unqualified junior technician leapfrog over her rival. But is this all? Not according to the Guardian:

Close family members insisted she was the victim of a vicious personal agenda by senior members of the media fraternity attached to a prominent daily newspaper (not the Guardian), who once used to be her very best friends between 2006-2007.  “She has been hounded by the reporters who were once her friends,” a relative claimed.

The media practitioners were known to be close friends and “liming partners” with Ramnarine and the photos of her in a causal manner which were used in the newspaper were taken back then, a family source said. After Ramnarine ended her friendship with one of the media practitioners, she struck up a relationship with a relative of another media practitioner. After Ramnarine ended her friendship with the media workers and their relatives in 2007, she cut off all contact with them, but certain individuals kept trying to maintain contact.

After viewing the sentence which alleges that Reshmi struck up a ‘relationship with a relative of another media practitioner’ I have to ask: Is this woman sleeping her way to her position(s)?? My observation is that this woman seems to have ‘close personal relationships’ with many of the major players in this madness. A funny observation: all of these ‘close personal relationships’ are with females… and no, I eh speculating, just observing.

Is the family source alleging that Reshmi is targeted because of:

  • tabanca
  • spite
  • fair-weather friends?

So Reshmi was set up for the position of SIA Director (and ensuing downfall) by the media???

The Guardian now reports she has been ‘forced to flee’ the country.

Ramnarine, the former week-long SIA director, has been forced to flee the country after reportedly receiving several death threats. Her elevation to national attention has indeed compromised her professional and personal reputation. 

But what may be more stunning is this:

She did not lie on a resume which Government officials claims was the subject of mis-information [sic], sources said.

Not according to Julie Browne the SIA Deputy Director who vetted and recommended her for the position of Director:

"Additionally, she has confirmed that she has completed her degree, at the University of the West Indies, in Information Technology and has additional tertiary level qualifications (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer)".

She has confirmed? What the hell? So no verification took place? Further:

Browne held that: "Previous performance appraisals recommended her for immediate promotion as she is known to face challenges head on and can effectively manage duties at a higher level. Her appraisals also described her as dedicated and focused with an appreciation of both the technical and administrative aspects of her work.

"She also uses her initiative to research and present products and services to enhance the productivity of her department. She has leadership qualities and can be entrusted with greater responsibilities. The latter has been well exhibited on the transformation team. These qualities are the foundation upon which Ms Ramnarine is recommended to serve as the interim director for the specific transitional period. Human resource practice allows for an appropriate combination of training, skills and experience. Indeed the previous director was not a university graduate," said the Browne letter.

A small sidebar:

She said: "Ms Ramnarine's immediate predecessor of the SSA, Nigel Clement, joined the SIA in June 2002 as the Deputy Director, Operations and Intelligence. At this time he held no Bachelor's degree for a post that explicitly required one."

Julie Browne therefore recognises that the position calls for a degree and that she made the recommendation based upon the fact that the predecessor had none. The possibility exists that she was misled by a deliberate lie verbally stated by Reshmi Ramnarine, but was she?

But the cabinet note for her recommendation for the position has Reshmi claiming:

"In my career at the Ministry of National Security, I have had the pleasure of working directly with many of our regional and international counterparts. I have also had the pleasure of working and training with the British DLO's (Drug Liaison Officers), Israeli Mossad, the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC) of Canada and the United States Embassy with regard to examining narcotics trafficking, terrorism and threat assessment, monitoring our borders and key industrial interests and assets."

The CV submitted for NSC and Cabinet consideration stated: "I also have had the opportunity to lend my mind and experience to our colleagues in Curacao and also in the Jamaican Defence Force with regard to training in analysis tactics and report writing. I have received specialized training in propriety hardware and software by international companies. Acquiring and streamlining sensitive high priority data for compilation into executive level reports and debriefs.

"Advanced analytical skills which correlate to making split second judgment calls from data at hand. Concise report writing of acquired information for the sole purpose to be used by other actionable elements of the organisation."

Ramnarine also claimed: "Managerial experience leading and motivating many peer teams of 1-5 personnel simultaneously to accomplish both short and long term projects in accordance with guidance from the director and other executives, project requirements, budgeting per project and overall annual budgets so as to meet target objectives. Effective communication with peers, superiors and subordinates to ensure executive intent, ensuring that all sensitive issues are dealt with both timely and diplomatically."

SIA insiders told the Sunday Express that Ramnarine was a junior employee with no subordinates under her supervision. Insiders also report that the intelligence and field training she talked about referred to the use of the intercept spy equipment from the Israeli manufacturer and not the Israeli intelligence, Mossad.

So she has deliberately padded her CV. How then can the family claim she did not lie on the CV??

Family members have now retained the services of a lawyer who is now looking to see if there was any questionable action on the part of the newspaper.

Poor lawyer. I bet every penny billed will be painfully earned. For example, can this lady take legal action for the ‘misuse’ of her name ?

Meanwhile, senior prosecutor in the Office of the Attorney General, Sharon Sharma, who Ramnarine listed as a reference on her resume, expressed surprise that she had been named as a reference. She said while she knew Ramnarine, she never gave permission for her name to be used as a reference. Nor was she asked, she said.

But I bet allyuh didn’t know this:

"The Minister of National Security recommends and Cabinet is asked to agree that Ms Reshmi Ramnarine, current acting Chief of Telecom Technology, Ministry of National Security, be appointed as the Director, SSA, for an initial period of six months, with effect from the date of her instrument of appointment."

Allyuh see what I see? The junior technician was also Acting Chief of Telecom Security, Ministry of National Security!! Now comes the questions: What were her qualifications for this, how did she obtain this position and when, what is/was the salary and how much did she earn and for what period? Who recommended her? Who appointed her? Who is the close personal friend involved in this one?

Allyuh see where I coming from? This is another clandestine appointment!!

For all that has been revealed so far, I am sure that there is more to come and this issue will not die a natural death. Is this our Kamlagate? More to come, no doubt… but meh head spinning and ah have to stop to recover.