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Apr 26, 2001

Commission of Inquiry appointed in blood scandal

In the wake of yesterday’s protest by AIDS activists and pressure from the media in the case of three hospital patients transfused with HIV infected blood, the Prime Minister has announced the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry. The task of the commission will be to investigate, report and recommend courses of action with regard to the tragic incident. The three-member panel will be chaired by former chief justice George Brown and includes Ombudsman Paul Rodriguez and Dr. Leroy Taegar. According to a government press release, Minister of Health Jose Coye requested the action following the completion of the ministry’s own internal investigation. The results of that probe have not been made public, but it is understood that there was less than full co-operation and candour on the part of a number of persons involved. According to the release, a number of organisations from the fields of health and public administration, including the Public Service Commission, Belize Blood Donor Service and Alliance Against AIDS will be formally invited to observe the proceedings. It is not clear if the sessions will also be open to the public or news media. Minister of Health Jose Coye may be able to clear up some of the confusion when he appears tonight on One on One with Dickie Bradley.

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