Pathologist quits after six months at forensic centre

In this October 21, 2019 file photo relatives of homicide victims gather at the Forensic Science Centre, St James. A pathologist has quit six months after being hired to work at the centre. - ROGER JACOB
In this October 21, 2019 file photo relatives of homicide victims gather at the Forensic Science Centre, St James. A pathologist has quit six months after being hired to work at the centre. - ROGER JACOB

After just six months, one of the pathologists employed with the Forensic Science Centre (FSC) has quit leaving a critical vacancy to be filled.

Dr Catherine Morris will likely take up a job at a public hospital.

She had signed a three-year contract at the FSC in August, last year.

Morris joined Dr Sumu Gajula, who was hired last March. Another pathologist, Dr Eslyn McDonald-Burris renewed her one-year contract on the same day Morris resigned, according to an informed source.

The Ministry of National Security intends to bring onboard another pathologist and candidates have already been interviewed, Sunday Newsday was told.

Since it came into operation, the issue of retaining pathologists at the FSC has been a troubling issue as foreign nationals demanded more money for their services.

Forensic pathology is a specialised medical field in determining the cause of death in suspicious cases. The evidence of a forensic pathologist is critical in murder trials and often the testimony of pathologists help seal a conviction.

Pathologists examine the bodies in cases of murder and suspicious deaths. In the past, accident and drowning cases were also referred to the FSC but this has now been transferred to public hospitals – once the circumstances of the victim's death is obvious.

The FSC, a division of the Ministry of National Security, began operations at Barbados Road, Federation Park, St James on December 1, 1983, and there are plans to build a new facility at Mt Hope.

In October 2018, National Security Minister Stuart Young told a Standing Finance Committee in Parliament that China will provide funding for the new state-of-the-art facility.

Police Commissioner Gary Griffith also announced last September that the police service intends to acquire its own forensic science department to analyse firearms because of the inordinate delay in getting reports from the FSC.

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"Pathologist quits after six months at forensic centre"

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