Indarsingh: Is there a conflict of interest in Abdool-Richards’ appointment?

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards, principal medical officer and now Angostura director. –

COUVA South MP Rudranath Indarsingh is asking if Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards’ appointment to the board of Angostura compromises her position as Principal Medical Officer (PMO) in the Ministry of Health.

Indarsingh was speaking at the UNC’s weekly press conference on Sunday.

He questioned why Abdool-Richards was allowed on the board, having already been appointed to the board of the National Insurance Property Development Company Ltd (NIPDEC) in 2020 and serving as a director of the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA).

He said according to the Civil Service Regulations 137, Abdool-Richards is a public servant and is bound by these regulations.

“We must remember that Angostura is involved in the production and sale of alcohol,” said Indarsingh.

“She needs to answer to that in terms of her role as PMO and her overall responsibility…based on the responsibility she now holds as director, is she fulfilling her role to minors and her overall medical responsibilities?

“She has a duty to respond,” Indarsingh said.

Abdool-Richards and director of Lifetime Roofing Franka Costelloe were both appointed to the Angostura board on November 16.

The company said it did not see a conflict of interest in Abdool-Richards’ appointment to the company’s board of directors.

The company is publicly listed on the TT Stock Exchange but privately owned, with government having a shareholding interest by virtue of the CL Financial bailout.

Abdool-Richards is known for her appearances on the televised Ministry of Health covid19 virtual press conferences.

On Sunday, she told Newsday she had been advised not to respond to the UNC’s statements at this time.