(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – Television personality Ian Alleyne has withdrawn his emergency lawsuit over being detained after allegedly receiving an official discharge from the Caura Hospital, earlier this week.
The decision was communicated during a hearing of the case via video conference before Justice Ricky Rahim, yesterday afternoon.
When the case was called, Alleyne’s lawyer Gerald Ramdeen indicated that the decision was taken after reading affidavits filed by officials from the Ministry of Health including Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram.
However, Ramdeen noted that the State’s evidence raised issues with COVID-19 testing process that his client was subjected to while in quarantine over the past three weeks.
Senior Counsel Reginald Armour, who is leading the State’s legal team, objected to Ramdeen’s claim which he described as “fundamentally false”.
Armour claimed that the evidence did not disclose any errors in the taking of samples by health care professionals or the subsequent testing performed and reports generated by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
Armour did admit that there was a clerical error in the transmission of Alleyne’s test result.
In his affidavit, which was obtained by Guardian Media, Parasram suggested that the error possibly emanated from the Trinidad Public Health Laboratory (TPHL).
“CARPHA generates the test results for T&T and sends it to the TPHL, which is an entity under the Ministry of Health. TPHL then sends the results to the Lab managers and sometimes the Chief of Staff via an electronic platform. The Lab managers then relay the results to the attending doctors who then discuss it with patients,” Parasram said.
Stating that he had requested reports from the TPHL, Caura Hospital Director Michelle Trotman and the Principal Medical Officer of Epidemiology, Parasram noted that the TPHL has since suspended its electronic platform.
The habeas corpus writ calling on Trotman to justify Alleyne’s continued detention at the facility was filed by Ramdeen after Alleyne’s alleged discharge was suddenly revoked on Tuesday night.
In an urgent letter dispatched hours after Ramdeen issued a pre-action protocol Tuesday afternoon, the AG’s Office strongly disputed “factual inaccuracies” in Alleyne’s claims, which were reiterated in a series of videos posted by Alleyne on social media.
The AG’s Office claimed Parasram had provided an alternative chronological account of the COVID-19 tests that were performed on Alleyne.
In his letter, Ramdeen had claimed that Alleyne requested a test at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope on March 23 after suffering from “mild flu-like” symptoms upon returning from a short family vacation in Miami, Florida, one week earlier.
He claimed that after his client’s initial diagnosis on March 24, he was tested again but was informed that the test was compromised.
He claimed another test was administered in early April and returned positive.
Ramdeen also claimed that he (Alleyne) received his discharge documents after he received two successive negative results when he was tested again over the Easter weekend.
In response, the AG’s Office did not mention the alleged compromised test but noted that he received his second positive on April 8. While it admitted that Alleyne had a negative test on April 12, but stated that he tested positive when sampled, on Monday night.
“It is, therefore, axiomatic that your client does NOT meet the conditions for discharge from quarantine at the present time and that the Executive has at all acted and continues to act lawfully and constitutionally,” the letter said.
The AG’s Office also accused Alleyne and Ramdeen of improperly by allegedly politicising the issue of his quarantine, as the letter noted that they were both active politicians associated with the United National Congress (UNC).
“The combination of your client’s own dissemination of dramatic videos to the public on the night of March 24, after he expressed fear of public embarrassment and the need for confidentiality, coupled with the dispatch of your own letter to the media tonight before delivery to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), can easily lead one to be quite regrettably, that the theatre of public and political spectacle seems paramount to your client,” it said.
Alleyne is also being represented by Dayadai Harripaul and Umesh Maharaj. The State was also represented by Rishi Dass and Vanessa Gopaul.