The woman wept non-stop as she spoke with Newsday outside her Coal Mine Road, Sangre Grande home, yesterday.
As any mother would, she defended her 31-year-old daughter who had been appointed director of the Strategic Security Agency (SSA) just over a week ago but resigned last Saturday amid outrage and accusations that she was not suited for the position.
Conflicting reports about Reshmi’s qualifications, compounded by varying statements from Government ministers leading Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to declare plans to file a matter of privilege against National Security Minister Brigadier John Sandy continue to fuel the controversy. There has even been confusion over whether Reshmi was appointed as SSA director, or director of the Security Intelligence Agency (SIA), the latter which Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar exposed last November for spying on her, politicians, journalists and even the Head of State, President George Maxwell Richards, under the previous PNM regime.
The furore over Reshmi deeply upsets her mother, Mrs Ramnarine (she did not want to give her first name) who simply wants her daughter to be left alone.
“I didn’t go to work for the past two days because I can’t handle it. I am very upset because everybody just lambasting my daughter. My child is a dedicated, hard-working child and she did nothing wrong. She was offered a position in which she was working in long before now. Nobody said anything about it.”
Mrs Ramnarine lashed out at the Opposition PNM saying the previous SSA and SIA director Nigel Clement, who was fired by Government, had never been so highly publicised as her daughter.
“Nobody ever published (Nigel) Clement’s picture in the papers. Nobody ever knew who was Clement, but Rowley was only waiting to see the child being in a position to let out everything. He jumping up and bawling all kinds of stupidness,” said Mrs Ramnarine, who also felt hurt that her daughter was being maligned and pressured from all quarters.
Mrs Ramnarine said her daughter was suitably qualified since she had her degree in information technology (IT) and was now in her third year of pursuing a degree in criminology.
However, Mrs Ramnarine denied reports that her daughter attended the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine, saying Reshmi earned her IT degree at a private institute, which she declined to name.
In Parliament last Friday, Sandy told the House of Representatives Reshmi was a UWI graduate, and Foreign Affairs Minister Suruj Rambachan said she had a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in information technology (IT) and is presently studying for a BSc degree in psychology.
Mrs Ramnarine says the scrutiny of her daughter “is very unfair”.
“The child is fully qualified. She is a good honest, diligent, hard-working person and what they are doing to her is very, very unfair. We grew up in this place. My father was a good honest person. We never thief money from anybody, we never did anything to anybody. I have been working in the Public Service for 38 years as a Clerk I. I took loans to send my children to school and for them to be doing this to my child, I can’t handle it and I want it stopped.”
Mrs Ramnarine says Persad-Bissessar is “a good, honest person”.
“Madame Prime Minister was kind enough to offer the child the position because she thought she was suited for the position. These people are out of place.”
She claimed the Opposition feared her daughter would reveal all their secrets of alleged corruption.
Mrs Ramnarine said she was one of 12 siblings, all of whom held top positions in their fields.
“My entire family – I have nine sisters and three brothers – they are principals, public servants, specialised nurses, doctors, accountants, engineers and designers and nobody ever heard anything about us.”
The family has been staunch UNC supporters going far back as 1988.
“We have worked on the ground with the UNC not now, but since Club 88. I came out of the line-up because of this same politics and the unfairness. I was very involved in politics, but I cannot handle the dishonesty about politics because I am an honest person,” she insisted.
Mrs Ramnarine said she has been the treasurer of the Women’s Federation, Sangre Grande/St Andrews District since 1998, a position she still holds today. She is also the assistant secretary of the head office branch and the treasurer of the Network of Rural Women.
“I run depots for where I work. Cheques used to come on my name, 50, 60, 100,000 dollars which I used to have to change to make purchases and I never thief a cent of their money, so for them to come and treat my child like this, I cannot stand for it.”
She says Reshmi has tried to get her to not speak out on the issue.
“All the time she is telling me ‘Mummy, don’t say anything,’ mummy don’t say anything, but mummy belly turning all how and mummy belly can’t take it any more,” she wept piteously.
Mrs Ramnarine also said she was upset by Sandy’s statement that he did not approve the appointment.
“How come he didn’t approve the appointment and he is the minister under whom she is working? You don’t see people want to make things look real bad for the child?” the upset woman asked.
Mrs Ramnarine said her daughter still feared for her safety because her photograph, her address and signature were now being bandied about in newspapers.
“She was getting death threats over the phone and she had to cancel her Facebook because they were sending all sorts of things on it. Why are they doing honest people these things and the people who are thiefing, they’re doing them nothing? Why is it that they are hounding down an honest person who got a job to work?”
Mrs Ramnarine said her daughter was afraid for herself and her family and begged that it be known that she had her family’s support.
“The family is upset and distraught. I want my child to see that somebody is there defending her. Nobody is standing up for the child and I want her to know that somebody is standing up for her,” she said as she continued to weep.