Dr. Gilbertha St. Rose is not giving up in her fight with the island’s Medical and Dental Council, which last November imposed a fine of $10,000 on her and suspended her as well for six months.
St. Rose, on Wednesday January 5th 2022, served the Council with an Application for Judicial Review of its decision which was handed down on November 23rd 2021 and served on St. Rose on November 24th 2021.
The remedies sought in the application are:
a. Certiorari to quash the decision of the Medical & Dental Council communicated to St. Rose on the 24th of November 2021;
b. An interim injunction temporarily staying the decision of the Medical and Dental Council in respect of Complaint No. 3 of 2021 delivered on the 23rd of November 2021 and served on St. Rose on the 24th of November 2021 till the final determination of these proceedings.
c. A declaration declaring that the Respondent’s order that St. Rose pay the sum of $10,000.00 for publicly advocating the use of ivermectin is in contravention of her fundamental constitutional right to freedom of expression contrary to section 9 of the Constitution of Saint Lucia.
d. An order of mandamus mandating the Respondent to reinstate with immediate effect the Practicing Certificate of St. Rose which was suspended on the 23rd of November 2021 by the Respondent which was not done in accord with natural justice and or section 106(6) of the Health Practitioners Act;
e. Declarations that the Medical and Dental Counsel arrived at the decision on the basis of:
iii. Procedural Impropriety.
f. Declaration that the Respondent’s directive to St. Rose on the 23rd of November 2021, to desist from practice whilst her suspension from the practice for six months is in effect as it is ultra vires Section 106(6) of the Health Practitioner’s Act.
h. Any other order this Court deems just and fit so to grant.
“The primary grounds on which this Application is based all deal with the assertion that the entire process of the Council arriving at its decision was tainted with unfairness,” attorney David P Moyston said.
According to him among the grounds asserting unfairness is the fact that the charges against Dr. St. Rose were brought in the words of the Council “…on its own motion.”, yet the committee that advised the Council was appointed by itself and included members of the Medical Council including its Chairperson, Andre Matthew and Executive Director, Shereen Chery, This, is tantamount to the committee being both the complainant and judge in adjudicating the complaint against Dr. St. Rose.
“The proceedings of the committee established by the Council was further tainted by the fact that the letter disclosed on Dr. St. Rose complaining of her prescribing ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID 19, advocating publicly the use of ivermectin to prevent and treat COVID 19 and conducting clinic trials with ivermectin in respect of COVID 19. Moreover, the author of the letter the Chief Medical Officer (C.M.O.), Dr. Sharon Belmar-George was until she recused herself from the committee about two days before the sitting of the committee a member of the committee and admitted at the said hearing on November 27th 2021 a participant in the decision to bring the charges against Dr. St. Rose further tainting the procedure of the committee,” Moyston said.
Moyston told THE VOICE that the intervention of an attorney at law sitting on the committee at its hearing was such that in effect he cross examined Dr. St. Rose while sitting in judgment on her future as a medical practitioner.
“At the same time the decision to find Dr. St. Rose culpable for expressing her opinion on the use of ivermectin in respect of COVID 19 is in breach of her constitutional right to freedom of expression as provided for in section 9 of the Constitution of Saint Lucia. The said right being guaranteed to all residents of Saint Lucia,” Moyston said.
He concluded that in its deliberations, the committee and by extension the Council, contravened section 106(6) of the Health Practitioners Act by acting in a manner that did not accord with procedural fairness.