Ex-Pharmacy Board president threatens lawsuit over election

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Andrew Rahaman – File photo

Despite winning a place on the Trinidad and Tobago Pharmacy Board (TTPB) in an election on February 29, former TTPB president Andrew Rahaman is threatening to file a lawsuit if certain issues around the election are not resolved.

Speaking at a press conference held at his attorney’s office on Richmond Street, Port of Spain, on March 1, Rahaman alleged several irregularities surrounding the elections.

Although he received the most number of votes of any individual elected to the board, three of the people on Rahaman’s slate were not elected.

Six people are voted onto the board via an election while two are appointed by the Minister of Health and two are appointed by the Medical Association of TT.

Rahaman said the results of the election could affect the voting results when the ten council members meet to elect a president from among themselves.

The alleged irregularities he cited ranged from issues with voters’ ballots to issues over the timing of the election.

He claimed some eligible voters never received their ballots in the mail while others received ballots addressed to someone else.

Rahaman also claimed there were changes in the layout of the ballots compared to previous elections which might have caused some people to inadvertently spoil their ballot.

He alleged there was also a change in the voting directions on the ballot which he said had not been approved by the council as was required.

He said the ballot paper also included the wrong location for the election.

Rahaman said the elections had always been held on a Sunday at 1 pm in the past but that was changed this year.

“For fifty-something years that meeting has been on a Sunday at 1.30 pm when pharmacies are generally closed and pharmacists in the public sector don’t work.

“This year, they put the meeting on a Thursday evening at 6 pm when public-sector pharmacies are working in the extended health facilities, working in hospital dispensaries and when all pharmacies are open.”

He asked why the board also chose to close its office at noon on the day of the election which he said would have denied members the opportunity to ensure they were in good financial standing before the election.

He claimed those actions could have denied some members the opportunity to vote.

“So they deprive people of getting their ballots to vote by post and then they deprive them of the ability to come to the meeting.”

Rahaman is threatening to sue those who would have overseen the election process including the council’s secretary Junia Forde-Walcott, council president Clinton Sahadeo and any other members who would have played a role in the election process.

Contacted by Newsday, Forde-Walcott said she could not comment because of a gag order in an ongoing court matter brought by Rahaman against the board last year.

Rahaman took the board to court after he claimed that a board vote, which saw him ousted from the presidency he held for nearly two decades, was not legally conducted.

Calls to TTPB president Clinton Sahadeo went unanswered.