Statement by Minister of Health on appointment of members of the Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago

It has come to my attention that certain members of the Nursing Profession have invited members of the profession to attend a protest outside of the Parliament Chamber today to express their views on the ministerial appointments made to the Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago. I respect the constitutional right of freedom of expression that is guaranteed to every citizen, but with rights comes responsibilities.

The legality of actions of the Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago is now the subject matter of an ongoing application for judicial review before the Honourable Mr. Justice Seepersad, in the High Court. His Lordship has invited submissions from the Ministry of Health as well as every other member of the Nursing Profession, including those who are now agitating their views in the public domain, in seeking to guarantee to everyone affected by the ongoing litigation the fundamentals of procedural fairness.

While I respect the right of each member of the Nursing Profession to express their views, I am duty bound by my oath to uphold the Constitution and the law. I respect the rule of law and the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to determine the matter presently before it. It would not be proper for me or anyone else to take steps while this matter is sub judice to make any comment or take any action that may be viewed as seeking to influence the decision of His Lordship.

The matter before the Justice Seepersad will determine the rights and obligations of those charged with duties and responsibilities under the Nursing Personnel Act. In the discharge of my statutory duty as Minister I made the appointments to the Nursing Council of Trinidad and Tobago in circumstances where their existed no effective Council to supervise the affairs of the profession.

I await the decision of the Court and I trust that all persons who are affected by the outcome will act in a manner that respects the jurisdiction of the Court, the rule of law, the interest of all involved and most importantly the best interest of the Nursing Profession.

Terrence Deyalsingh

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