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Minister: Compound in compliance

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
OSH probes death of NFM employee
Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus

Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste- Primus, in responding to queries about the June 11 death of National Flour Mills plant superintendent McAllister Charles and NFM’s safety compliance, said the compound has been inspected. She did so in the Senate yesterday.

Baptiste-Primus said the area was inspected by Occupational Health and Safety inspectors and found to be fully compliant with safety standards.

OSH’s inspection on Monday pertained to the entire NFM compound. An OSH report is being done following information on the cause of death, she said.

Also in the Senate yesterday, Opposition Senator Khadijah Ameen said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh acted irresponsibly by “tossing aside” public views about pensioner Christopher Philip’s recent death outside the Port-of- Spain General Hospital.

Philip’s body was found on the hospital grounds last week after he sought attention.

Deyalsingh said Philip was attended to twice and told the remain on site, but “disappeared twice.” He said no protocols were broken. Eyewitnesses claimed Philip was put out of the hospital.

Ameen told the Senate, “The jury’s out on the matter. This pensioner died on the hospital grounds yet there are conflicting reports from the public and minister—the public must judge who’s telling the truth.”

Ameen also rejected Senator Franklin Khan’s call for a Joint Select Committee comprising Government, Opposition and independent senators to consider the Winston Welch committee’s reports on Health Care Delivery, regional health authorities and to rationalise the system of public sector doctors in private practice.

Khan said there’d been a clamour for JSCs and this was an opportunity to participate.

Ameen said Parliament’s job was to formulate legislation and hold the Government to account on spending, while the Cabinet is the entity to formulate policy.

She said the Government was abdicating its responsibility of doing the latter by seeking JSC deliberation on the reports.

Ameen added: “You’re in charge, but you’re yet to take charge. The Cabinet should do its work on these reports. If Government wants us to be part of policy-making, resign and call a general election!”

She said Government was trying to have the controversial issue of public sector doctors working in the private sector, handled by a JSC. But she said Government was the one which must decide on that.


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