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Nursing Council to get lawful quorum

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Nursing Council to get lawful quorum

The operations of the Nursing Council of T&T are set to resume, later this week.

During a hearing of a lawsuit brought by ousted council president David Murphy at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain, yesterday morning, a representative of the Ministry of Health informed High Court Judge Frank Seepersad that six members of the council are expected to be appointed by Wednesday.

The official stated that Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh had received Cabinet approval for the appointments and was in the process of sending letters to the appointees.

The move, which was encouraged by Seepersad during a previous hearing, last month, will mean that the council will have a lawful quorum, to perform its duties in registering nurses and administering nursing examinations, until the issues with the elected members are resolved in the lawsuit.

During the hearing, attorney Martin George, who is representing three nursing associations, raised concerns over whether Murphy would be reappointed to the board by Deyalsingh.

Seepersad did not dismiss the concerns but said that they were speculative considering that the appointments are yet to be officially announced.

Seepersad then adjourned the case to October 29.

Murphy filed the lawsuit, early last month, after his fellow council members called an 807th ordinary meeting on August 26, during which he was ousted and Chris Craigwell was appointed as interim president.

Murphy claimed that the Nursing Personnel Act, which established the council and dictates functions, does not allow the council to take major decisions after its term ended.

He also alleged that the legislation does provide for an interim president of the organisation.

Murphy also claimed that his fellow council members’ decision to pass a no-confidence motion in him was based on the fact that he wrote to Deyalsingh to complain over their inability to complete the outstanding elections of the elected members of the council.

Murphy, the principal of the School of Nursing at the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital and a Seventh-Day Adventist pastor, claimed that elections were held after the council’s term expired but the results have never been released.

During a preliminary hearing, Seepersad ruled that contrary to what was claimed by lawyers for the Ministry of Health, there is no statutory provision barring Deyalsingh from appointing six members of the council before the other members are selected.

The council consists of 16 members. Six are selected by the Minister of Health, nine are elected by the over 10,000 members of the profession and the Chief Nursing Officer serves as an ex-officio member. The council then votes for a president, vice-president, and treasurer from among its ranks.

Murphy is being represented by Gerald Ramdeen, Dayadai Harripaul, and Umesh Maharaj, while Elaine Green is representing the council.



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