Unfair treatment of Germain
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The president of the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica, Valerie Germain, seems set to return to work by month end, as reported by the online version of The Gleaner on March 15, after spending several months on suspension as a pharmacist employed by the State, initiated by the former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration.
It is a matter of public record that Germain dared to mention that the State (her employer) was in breach of Section 18 of the Pharmacy Act 1975. In essence, Section 18 (1) of the act prohibits the dispensing or sale of drugs or poisons from places which are not pharmacies and, importantly, there shall be no dispensing or sale of such items where there does not exist a registered pharmacist or a pharmaceutical student.
There are exceptions to this general rule, which can be found at Section 19 of the Pharmacy Act, but, for merely speaking out about what is in fact a growing trend, Germain should not have been treated in such a fashion.
Further, this issue raises the matter of the position of sections of the relevant Staff Orders in view of the provisions of the Charter of Rights.
Section 13(3) (b) confers the right to freedom of expression and Subsection (3)(e) does give the right to associate freely with persons or a group of one's choice, so the former government was totally out of order and malicious in victimising someone who was defending the interests of public health by speaking out about the dangers of the Government breaching its own regulations by having non-qualified person dispensing drugs to the public, as Mrs Germain did.
I, therefore, want to express sincere gratitude to the Portia Simpson Miller administration for following through on its commitment to reinstate Mrs Germain.
I hope that the government will continue in this vein to stand up for people who have been unjustly persecuted or removed from offices or positions of authority.
Southfield PO, St Elizabeth