Last update: 10-Dec-2013 10:54 am
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Coudray warns Muradali against kitchen visits
Local Government Minister Marlene Coudray says San Fernando Mayor Dr Navi Muradali could face legal action for visiting restaurants and other food outlets with health inspectors. During a recent campaign Muradali accompanied by health inspectors visited restaurants in Gulf City, San Fernando and inspected their kitchens and other areas. At least one outlet was ordered closed and later re-opened after meeting conditions stipulated by the health inspectors.
Point Fortin Mayor Clyde Paul commented on the issue during yesterday’s meeting of a joint select committee of Parliament, Tower D, Waterfront Centre, Port-of- Spain. The committee is chaired by Independent Senator Subhas Ramkhelawan at Parliament. Responding to a question, Paul said Muradali was “out of place” to visit restaurants with inspectors and did not have such authority.
Later in an interview, Coudray was asked to comment and agreed with Paul. “It is a very serious issue and it is only the Medical Officer of Health authorised to do what has been done,” the former San Fernando Mayor said. Coudray said: “It is an area of concern that I will have to address with all corporations, in terms of potential liability to the State.”
She said the law provides for certain officers to carry out such functions. “They should be allowed to carry out their duties without having anyone with them, because there is no locus standi,” Coudray stressed. Contacted for comment, Muradali said during a telephone interview his visits were made in a public space and in the public interest.
He said he was permitted by the managers or owners of the restaurants to see first-hand some of the complaints expressed by citizens. He also said his visits were made in his private capacity and in the best interest of the public. “This is the silly season and silly people will say silly things,” he said.
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