The Forensic Science Centre in St James does not meet Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) requirements and we must be grateful president of the Public Services Association (PSA) Watson Duke has not shut down the facility as yet, Opposition Senator Shamfa Cudjoe has said.
Cudjoe made the statement as she delivered her contribution to the Administration of Justice (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Bill yesterday.
Cudjoe said the Forensic Science Centre plays a critical role in the Administration of Justice (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Bill being effective.
She said pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov has been speaking out on the conditions at the Forensic Science Centre for years.
“The Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre is critical, is central to the execution and the whole administration and the implementation, the effectiveness of this entire piece of legislation,” Cudjoe said.
Cudjoe said the Forensic Science Centre comes “front and centre” and the issues affecting the institution must be addressed. “The Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre does not meet international standards,” Cudjoe said.
Alexandrov slammed the working hours at the Forensic Science Centre, saying the facility does not meet international standards and operates “like a kindergarten”, Cudjoe said. “It opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m., so when he (Alexandrov) goes into work on a Monday, when the pathologists go into work on a Monday, they can meet up to ten/15 bodies from the weekend murders,” she said.
Cudjoe said the centre also does not meet local safety standards.
“We have a situation where the Trinidad and Tobago Forensic Science Centre does not meet international standards... we do not even meet local standards because they receive a failing grade from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Authority),” Cudjoe said.
Cudjoe said among the issues at the facility are inadequate ventilation systems, mould in the cupboards of the DNA department because of humidity and inadequate storage of human remains.