“My son was not a drug dealer.”
These were the words of Safiya Williams yesterday as she spoke out about the death of her nine-year-old son, Cyon Paul.
Health Minister Fuad Khan has denounced rumours that Canadian-born doctor Conrad Murray has been employed by his ministry, noting he will not be practising in T&T. In an interview yesterday at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, Khan said he was unaware that Murray had been employed as a doctor or consultant in this country.
Murray spent nearly two years in jail in the United States on an involuntary manslaughter charge stemming from the death of pop icon Michael Jackson in 2009. His medical licence was revoked in Texas and suspended in both California and Nevada. Yesterday, the entertainment news Web site TMZ reported that Murray would be treating children with heart problems in T&T and was employed by this country’s Ministry of Health but Khan denied the report. “I didn’t employ him,” he said.
Khan said he would certainly know if Murray had been employed by his ministry. “I would have been informed,” he added. Asked if there was any truth to the online article, which had as of yesterday afternoon been reported and quoted by several other Web sites, including reputable international news agency CNN and several US radio stations.
“What I would say is that 98 per cent of what you read on the internet is garbage. If people believe everything that is written, what would you do?” Khan asked. Last year, in an interview with a daily newspaper, Khan said Murray could make a case legally to practise in T&T, as Section 40 of the Constitution guarantees citizens equal rights. He said then that Murray had already paid his dues and there was the possibility he could make a case to the Medical Board.
Khan talks with Murray
Last week Khan met with Murray to discuss a proposal to use Murray’s “connections” with doctors at hospitals in the United States, via a foundation, to provide medical attention “at a low or no cost to the Government of T&T.” Khan said he had no problem with such a qualified doctor trying to assist children in getting specialised health care for heart problems at significantly reduced costs. He said the average cost of such a service was more than US$200,000.
Khan dismissed concerns over Murray’s reputation, noting he will not be practising locally.