Andrew Rahaman has been removed as Pharmacy Board president after nearly two decades at the helm.
The council yesterday appointed new members, with pharmacist Clinton Sahadeo selected as the new president.
Vice-president is Adesh Lutchman and secretary/treasurer is Junia Walcott.
Rahaman remains on the board of the ten-member council.
A meeting was held at the Pharmacy Board’s Port of Spain office yesterday where there was a quorum of five members.
In February 2022, the Pharmacy Board held elections and Rahaman and five other members of his slate took control.
The Express understands that following those elections, no council meeting was ever held to formally appoint people to executive positions.
Speaking with reporters at a news conference later yesterday, Sahadeo said the meeting was in keeping with the Pharmacy Board’s constitution and there was the required quorum.
“By law, it is constitutional because we followed all procedures in the constitution, so as far as we are concerned, it is a legal and legitimate meeting,” he said.
Sahadeo said the new council is ready for any challenges Rahaman may bring, legal or otherwise.
The first order of business, he said, will be to rebuild the membership’s confidence in the Pharmacy Council.
They also intend to regularise all pharmacists and pharmacies for the year 2022.
Sahadeo recalled the issue with respect to the renewal of licences which caused the Health Ministry to intervene and extend licenses to December 31, 2023.
He said the first action of the secretary will be to send an official letter to Rahaman, asking him to return everything that has to be kept in the board’s office.
He said a council meeting will also be called for all ten members, including Rahaman.
Asked about the council’s finances, Sahadeo said they will have to examine this and visit the bank to determine the state of the accounts.
Former secretary/treasurer Su Ann Joseph was never a council member but served because the former secretary had an emergency.
She said yesterday that she was supposed to receive the payments from pharmacists for their licences, but this never happened.
New secretary Walcott said she had been complaining about the operations of the Pharmacy Board for years.
“I have been writing ministers since 2012 complaining…all the various health ministers, we have been writing, I’ve gone to permanent secretaries, I’ve gone to ministers’ advisers complaining since 2012,” she said.
“If the Pharmacy Board is run properly, the ministry has no business in it. The minister has nominees, persons he would have put on council, and we had been reporting to him every quarter. That will continue,” she said.
Pharmacist Glen Suchit said Rahaman has not acted in accordance with the constitution, and now he hopes there will be more transparency and order.
Suchit, who is not a council member but acted as an observer, explained that the Pharmacy Board council comprises ten people—six council members who are elected, two Health Ministry nominees and two members from the Medical Board.
He said yesterday’s meeting was the first council meeting after 14 months since the election which took place in February 2022.
He said the next constitutionally due election is in February 2024, and any of the 1,800 pharmacists can seek office.
Rahaman responds ► sub-head ◄
Rahaman told the Express yesterday that by law, he is the person who is supposed to convene a meeting.
He said there are ten council members, but he was unsure who attended.
Rahaman said Joseph could not be part of the council meeting as she was not a member.
He said it may well be for the courts to decide what happens next.
Rahaman, who is also an attorney, said he will not recognise the meeting that occurred yesterday as he claimed it was illegal.
He said he tried to advise them they were making an error, but this was not heeded.
In January this year, Rahaman said he charges a “consultancy fee”, which ranges between $5,000 and $10,000, for his advisory services to pharmacies in their application process for licences.
He was criticised for the move to charge pharmacists fees outside of what they are required to pay for their certificates and licences.
The new Pharmacy Board council members are:
• president—Clinton Sahadeo (Health Ministry nominee)
• vice-president—Adesh Lutchman
• secretary/treasurer Junia Walcott (Health Ministry nominee)
• Dr Aruna Singh (medical board)
• Dr Neil Singh (medical board)
• Kharisee Ramdeen
• Jonathan Forrestine
• Horace Ramjattan
• Dane Charran
• Andrew Rahaman.