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Controversy surrounds body at PG morgue

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Concerns linger over a body at the Punta Gorda Hospital Morgue that needs to be taken to Honduras by family members for burial.  Correspondent Paul Mahung has the story.

Maria Flores, aunt of the lady who died spoke to Love News about her problem in getting the body of her niece as she urgently needs to take the body to Honduras for a funeral.

Maria Flores – Aunt : “I’ve been trying for the past week to get her remains to Honduras to give a proper burial and I’m having a lot of difficulty because the Ministry of Public Health Services are refusing to give me permission to take the body out of the country because they were insisting on some international laws about you know but the paper is asking for transportation but they were telling me importation.

Did they give you a paper with the requirements?

Maria Flores – Aunt: “Well I finally got the paper with the requirements to see as it’s what and you know I had to get involved Mr. Paulino Funeral Home to do and you know they make out all the requirements and the Honduras Embassy is saying that they cannot understand what the request and it’s the first time that they have been asked about this and it’s been investigating in Honduras.

Now, are you familiar if anyone of the requirements is missing or you don’t have?

Maria Flores – Aunt: “Not to my understanding. I have dealt with the customs, I’ve dealt with the immigration and I’ve also dealt with the Port Authority here in Punta Gorda.”

Love News caught up Toledo District Health Inspector Lyle Williams.

Lyle  Williams – Health Inspector: “Immediately after the passing of Elizabeth Bernardez, family members approached the public health bureau here in Toledo for an export permit to transport the body, the human remains to Honduras. The International Health regulations criteria were explained to family members as what is necessary for them to obtain an exportation permit from the country of Belize into Honduras. Several times they have spoken with the Director of Health Services who reiterated what were the requirements for them to export the human remains of Elizabeth Bernardez out of the country of Belize. To date they have not met those criteria, and thus the Ministry of Health is not granting permission until they do so. Ok, we do understand that the family is grieving and we understand that situation but we must understand also that as a responsible organization we are bounded by the International Health Regulations as it relates to the exportation of human remains out of the country.”

In the meantime, the body of thirty-six year old Betty Alvarez Bernardez of Honduras is at the Punta Gorda Hospital Morgue.

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