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Additional $100,000 fine if Akim Andrew is found guilty of prescribing medication 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Andrew can possibly face hefty fines and prison term under Health Practitioners Act
  • Denied bail and remanded to Richmond Hill Prison until 28 January.
  • Public to request a medical practitioner’s credentials before undergoing treatment

19-year-old Akim Andrew will face a hefty fine of $100,000 and a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years for impersonating a doctor, and “Practicing Medicine without being Registered.”

If proven guilty of prescribing medication Andrew can possibly face an additional maximum fine of $100,000 and a prison term of 3 years in accordance with Section 113 of the Health Practitioners Act 2010.

Section 113 of the act states that “A person shall not prescribe any drug in relation to a medical condition or complaint unless he or she is registered as a health practitioner pursuant to the provisions of this act and is authorised by virtue of the regulations made pursuant to section 119. It goes on further to say that “A person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $100,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years or to both.”

Former Chairman of the Allied Health Professional Council, Derick Sylvester, called attention to these two penal sections when interviewed on the matter on Thursday, 24 January 2020. Sylvester said the incident is quite unfortunate but indicated that this is an opportunity for the public to be more vigilant and to request to see a medical practitioner’s credentials before undergoing treatment. “The law requires that every medical practitioner must have their certificate posted in a prominent place so that is something that every person should look for when they go to visit a doctor or any health professional, and this is what the law says in Section 45, which states that the holder of a practicing certificate shall display the practicing certificate in a prominent place in an area where he or she conducts his or her practice.”

Andrew was denied bail when he appeared before Chief Magistrate, Teddy St Louis, at the St George’s Magistrate’s No. 1 Court on Tuesday and was remanded to Richmond Hill Prison until 28 January.

The Allied Health Professionals Council is responsible for vetting applicants before issuing licences to practice in the state of Grenada. In 2018, a call was made by the council’s chairman Dr Nicole Forte, for all Allied Health Professionals in Grenada to become registered as required under the Health Practitioners Act 2010. It is also standard practice for the names of licenced medical professional to be listed in the Gazette.

Sylvester stated the law cannot prevent someone from impersonating a medical professional or to establish an office to offer medical services, however, it is up to the Allied Health Professionals Council to ensure that all health professionals are certified and registered to practice and that the public ensures that they are provided with proof of that certification.

“I wouldn’t say there are loopholes within the system because you cannot stop anyone from just opening an office and say I am a doctor. So there are some things that you cannot do, so you cannot stop someone from doing that but the prospective patient has a duty to ensure that the doctor you are going before, is he someone that someone referred you to, or is it a case where you just walk in and see a sign and you decide to walk into the office? Then if that is the case you should look and ensure that person is qualified and by examining the certificate of that person,” Sylvester said.

A number of health professionals fall under the category of Allied Health including: Acupuncturist, Audiologist, Chiropodist, Chiropractor, Dental Hygienist, Dental Technician, Dental Therapist, Dietitian, Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Dispatcher, Herbalist, Homeopath, Imaging Technologist, Masseur, Medical Technologist, Naturopathist, Optician, Occupational Therapist, Podiatrist, Psychotherapist and Psychologist, among others.

Jerry Edwin, legal representative of Akim Andrew, stated that he is prepared to mount a vigorous defence on the behalf of his client whose ambition did not match his educational credentials. He indicated that the incident that led to his client’s arrest is violating the public trust by misleading innocent people at worst, and is no more egregious than other similar situations being perpetuated in Grenadian society where a public official was found to be holding a fake doctorate or a practitioner of naturopathic medicine having a televised programme without having the necessary qualifications.

Edwin refutes the claim that his client prescribed controlled substances or prescriptions, but admitted that his client’s situation is quite sad and one which requires him to be rehabilitated.

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Caribbean & World

CIBC FirstCaribbean donates US$250,000 to regional Covid-19 fight

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Regional bank CIBC FirstCaribbean is moving to assist countries across the region to purchase much-needed Covid-19 testing kits.

The bank, through its charitable arm the FirstCaribbean International ComTrust Foundation, will donate a total of US$250,000 toward the purchase of the kits in the countries across its regional footprint. The bank will make the donation through its various operating companies across the Caribbean.

Chief Executive Officer of the bank and Chair of the foundation, Colette Delaney, made the announcement noting, “testing was one of the main weapons in the arsenal against the spread of the disease.” She added, “community spread is one of the main ways the virus is transmitted and testing is key to identify, isolate and treat those affected and limit its spread.”

Delaney thanked the region’s “public health leadership, medical professionals and frontline workers and others involved in the essential work of keeping our communities safe and functioning during this very difficult time.”

The donation follows the bank’s recent announcements of a suite of relief assistance to eligible clients including:

  • 6-month payment moratoria on existing loans and mortgages.
  • Temporary revolving or working capital financing options for our Corporate Banking and Business Banking clients.
  • A special waiver of late payment fees and default interest to all eligible Retail, Business, Banking, Corporate Investment Banking and Wealth Management Clients effective for the 6 month moratorium period for existing loans and mortgages.
  • Credit cardholders automatically benefitting from a payment waiver for 3 months based on their current account standing.

Delaney noted, “Our response has been in the spirit of partnership that has always existed between the bank and the people of the region. This two-pronged approach has allowed us to not only contribute to the national response in each of the countries in which we operate, but to directly assist our clients who are affected.”

Delaney also noted that many of the bank’s staff are choosing to make personal donations to the various relief programmes in their islands across the Caribbean and thanked them for their generosity.

“Our employees are known for their calm and professional response, particularly in a crisis. We thank them for their generosity and commitment to continuing to provide service to our clients in these most unusual of circumstances.”

CIBC FirstCaribbean has a staff of approximately 3,000 across 16 Caribbean countries.

CIBC FirstCaribbean

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Caribbean & World

Prime Minister’s National Address: 30 Mar 2020

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Press Conference – Prime Minister Dr. Rt. Hon Keith Mitchell

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Caribbean & World

Head of State requested to prepare Leader of Opposition instrument of appointment

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by Linda Straker

  • Clement is MP for constituency of St George North East
  • Resigned as a member of New National Party in 2019
  • Has spoken with Governor-General regarding instrument of appointment 

Tobias Clement, Member of Parliament for the constituency of St George North East, has confirmed that he has had a conversation with Governor-General Dame Cecile La Grenade requesting her to prepare the instrument of appointment that will make him the elected Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House of Parliament.

“I requested the instrument be prepared and right now I am awaiting further instructions from her office,” Clement said on Monday. He is not certain if he will be able to take his oath of office before the mandatory 7-day curfew which officially starts at 7 pm today. “I am really hoping it can be done today.”

Clement, in December 2019, implied he would be taking up the post of Leader of Opposition after he resigned as a member of the ruling New National Party (NNP).

In both the 2013 and 2018 General Elections, the NNP won all 15 seats in the Lower House of Parliament and on both occasions, Clement opted to be a government backbencher. However, as of mid-2019, he began indicating during parliamentary sessions, that he would cross the floor.

As Leader of the Opposition, he will have the right to appoint 3 opposition senators in the Upper House of Parliament, have a functioning office at the Parliament Building and operate his constituency parliamentary office.

He said that his goal is to first receive his instrument of appointment and then focus on appointing his senators. “We will deal with the appointment of senators in the future, the focus now is receiving the instrument of appointment,” he said without explaining his decision to take up the post amid a Limited State of Emergency.

Grenada is presently under a 21-day Limited State of Emergency as part of its social distancing measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

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