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NEWS BRIEFS

Published:Friday | May 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Germain's actions were just - Ferguson

Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson is dismissing longstanding reports that government pharmacist Valerie Germain was interdicted as a result of comments she made about unsupervised pharmacy technicians being used to dispense medication in the public-health sector.

While announcing yesterday that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has ruled that Germain be reinstated in her post next Monday, Ferguson said she had in fact been sanctioned because of her failure to respond to her supervisor having asked for certain information.

"We do believe that her pointing out the breach was just so she wasn't on trial for that, it was in relation to a specific (thing) that was asked and the PSC is of the view that that could not have the gravity which would warrant separation from the ministry," the minister told The Gleaner.

Ferguson said the PSC recommended that she be placed on secondment during her tenure as president of the society.

The minister said Germain, who was interdicted in November 2011, would be paid all outstanding salaries owed to her.

PSOJ warns police

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) is cautioning the police against the apparently heavy-handed approach taken while accompanying the Tax Authority of Jamaica (TAJ) for the execution of the search warrant at telecommunications firm Digicel's offices.

In a release yesterday, PSOJ President Joseph M. Matalon said his organisation believed the use of high-powered weapons by Jamaica Constabulary Force personnel during the raid on Digicel's offices (or in any similar case) was neither necessary nor warranted in the circumstances.

"The choice to serve the warrant at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon when the company was unlikely to have access to any due process redress in the matter is also a cause of disquiet," Matalon said.

Noting that the PSOJ would not speak on the merits of the Digicel case, the organisation encouraged the TAJ to pursue its enforcement mandates "firmly, fearlessly and energetically but, at all times and irrespective of the target of their investigations, to do so in a manner that is consistent with the principles of fairness, professionalism and due process".