Trinidadians Warned Against Fake Dental Practitioners From Jamaica And Venezuela

CMC – The President of the Trinidad and Tobago Dental Board Dr Shevone Marchand Tuesday warned citizens against falling victim to being treated by fraudulent and unregistered persons posing as dentists in the country.

Marchand, speaking on a local radio programme, said that while the issue of fraudulent dental practitioners is not new to Trinidad and Tobago, in recent times there has been an upsurge in the number of reports, particularly involving migrants from Venezuela and Jamaica.

“You might have had some professionals coming from Venezuela and they are now setting up shop. So the issue has exploded exponentially.

“You even have some practitioners from Jamaica and they are unregistered and working in Trinidad and Tobago. We want people to understand that going to these practitioners is not a good thing because if there is a complaint to be made about these practitioners they have no recourse because they are not registered with any regulatory body,” Marchand said.

“We are pressing to change the legislation, but at the moment the Dental Council has no remit over these persons and what they are doing to the population, there is no recourse,” she added.

She told radio listeners that there are some precautions that they could take when visiting dentists.

“Once you are registered with the Dental Council you should have registration certificates and you should also see an annual practising certificate for that dental practitioner,” she said, adding that red flags should include the reluctance of the practitioner to sign insurance forms “or cannot prescribe an antibiotic for an infection.

“Those are red flags that you are dealing with an unregistered, unlicensed practitioner.”

In recent times, several groups including the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago, the Diabetes Association and the Cancer Society have complained about people purporting to be medical practitioners and even experts, with some even making claims that they have cures for several diseases including cancer.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Health said “the implication that the Minister of Health and/or the Ministry of Health plans to take action against unqualified specialist doctors is erroneous.

“Doctors are regulated by the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago pursuant to the Medical Board Act, Chapter 29:50,” it said in a statement, adding that there is a package of draft legislative amendments to amend the Medical Board Act and these include amendments to the requirements for being registered as a medical specialist.

“The package of draft legislative amendments was based on recommendations from the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago and is still under review,” the statement added.