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Jul 30, 2009

PM inducts K.H.M.H. Commission of Inquiry

Story PictureWhile the dust has settled in the dispute between the members of the Belize Medical Doctors Union and the Board of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, a Commission of Inquiry will now begin its work. A date has not yet been set for the inception of its investigations, but its scope will cover a two year and a half period. Jose Sanchez has a report.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
This morning at the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Dean Barrow appointed three commissioners to investigate the procurement procedures of medical and pharmaceutical supplies of the K.H.M.H. during the period of January first 2007 to June thirtieth 2009.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“People would no doubt know the court holiday starts just about now. It might well be that the work of the commission will cut into the holiday that Mr. justice Lucas would normally be entitled to enjoy at this time so that I am particularly grateful to him for agreeing to chair the commission. So I want to put that on the record. As well Miss Julia Castillo, who is the nominee of the Ministry of Health. Miss Castillo ought to be known to anybody who is familiar with the nursing profession in this country having served with distinction at a very, very senior level in that profession. We are certainly grateful to her. And last but of course not least; the ex auditor general Mr. Orvin Nicholas nominated by the National Trade Union Congress of Belize. His experience and his particular skills, I am sure, will be of great benefit to the commission. I again place on record place the indebtedness of the government and the people of Belize to the commissioners for agreeing to undertake this very, very important public work.”

The three commissioners took their oaths before Magistrate Dorothy Flowers.

Julia Castillo, Commissioner
“I, Julia Castillo, do solemnly swear and declare that I will faithfully and impartially and to the best of my ability and discharge the trust.”

Adolph Lucas, Commissioner
“And perform the duties devolving upon me by virtue of the commission issued by the prime minister on the twenty-seventh of July 2009 concerning the investigation at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.”

Orvin Nicholas, Commissioner
“And gazetted on the same date as statutory instrument number ninety-two of 2009 so help me God.”

Julia Castillo
“So help me God.”

Adolph Lucas
“So help me God.”

The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Adolph Lucas, said that he was satisfied with the choice of commissioners, but all three must decide together when to being the investigations.

Adolph Lucas
“I am happy to say that Mr. Nicolas and Miss Castillo are members of this commission. They are commissioners along with myself and I will rely on the expertise of Mr. Nicholas, who was an auditor general and Miss Castillo, who has been a high ranking nurse in the nursing profession. Mr. Prime Minister I just want to tell you too t hat we are happy, I am happy and I strongly believe that the other commissioners are happy to accept this commission.”

The commission is not only on a fact finding mission. It is empowered to identify individuals responsible for corruption and waste with regard to the procurement of supplies of the K.H.M.H. and recommend action to be taken against these individuals.

Adolph Lucas
“We’re going to start as quick as possible, but we need to gather some reports first so that we can look at certain information before we embark on the commission.”

If relevant documents are missing, there are still other areas to find a smoking gun. The former auditor general summed it up in a few words.

Orvin Nicholas
“It’s basic; look at the payments, you got to look at the payments and that will be in several places.”

Jose Sanchez, reporting for News Five.

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