Belize City, December 8, 2015
The Belize Medical Council led by Chairman George Gough is under heavy pressure to come clear after the board easily granted a license to practice to an American dentist who was criminally prosecuted for the highly unethical practice of injecting semen into his patients’ mouths.
Dr. John Hall has been residing in Belize for an indefinite period under the alias Dr. John Roberts Hall. He was issued a Work Permit and Social Security Card under that name. It appears that no one conducted checks on his background, but an easy and quick internet search reveals Dr. John Hall’s truly twisted medical history in the United States. In June 2005, Dr. Hall pleaded guilty to the criminal charges that he injected semen into his patients' mouths while operating a dental clinic in Cornelius, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
Dr. Hall had been under investigation since late 2004 after his employees became suspicious of his activities in the clinic and discovered five syringes containing semen in his room. They reported the matter to the Police. Court testimonies from seven patients confirmed that he misled them to believe that he was injecting cleansing liquid into their mouths, when it was actually his semen.
Dr. Hall eventually pleaded guilty to the charges and chose a four-month imprisonment sentence rather than five years of intensive supervised probation. One of his victims, Lisa Carpenter, was appalled at the result of the case at the time, and expressed disappointment that four months of jail time would put a dangerous sexual predator right back on the street. She was right.
Ten years later, Dr. Hall has been found not only residing in Belize, but on the verge of opening a clinic in tourist mecca, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye.
Oceanside Dental Clinic is the name of Dr. Hall’s new dental clinic. It was about to open its doors to new clients on Monday, December 7th
, but the island’s Police interrupted the ribbon cutting after the Editor of the local newspaper, the San Pedro Sun, reported the findings of her investigations which was triggered by concerns raised by residents.
Dr. Hall’s Oceanside Dental Clinic is a legit business on paper. Using a false name, Robert Bob Hall, he obtained all the required documents including a dentist’s license from the Belize Medical Council and official registration under the Dentist Act on June 23rd
2015, exactly fifteen years after he was criminally convicted in the United States.
Just two weeks ago, on November 18, Dr. Hall was granted a San Pedro Town Council’s Trade Licensing Board Business Certificate for his newest business “Belize Health Connection Limited”. A few days later, an Oceanside Dental Clinic business sign was erected outside one of the lofty apartments at the Four Sisters Plaza on Pescador Drive owned by former UDP Mayor Elsa Paz and her family, ready for business. He shared apartment space with the UDP headquarters and the Elections and Boundaries office.
The San Pedro Police Department has launched an investigation into the issues behind Dr. Hall’s issuance of a Social Security Card and Work Permit under the fake name, John Roberts Hall, while his temporary registration was granted under the name Robert Bob Hall.
HIGH LEVEL COVER UP
This latest scandal is not just about the serial incompetence of Government authorities who failed to conduct due diligence. It is also about the authorities’ attempt to cover up the wrongdoing.
According to the Editor of San Pedro Sun newspaper, Tamara Sniffin, on November 30th
they had alerted the Director of Licensing and Accreditation, Englebert Emmanuel, of the reports. Emmanuel confirmed that “Dr. Hall” had indeed received a license from the Belize Medical Council, and promised to investigate the controversial allegations.
The Sun contacted Emmanuel once more on Friday, December 4th
, and he told them that investigations were still ongoing and that, so far, they had found nothing wrong with Dr. Hall. The dentist had apparently supplied what appeared to be authentic documents and glowing recommendations for his license.
Emmanuel promised that they were conducting a thorough investigation. He also committed to directly contacting the USA Dental Board to cross-check if the dentist in question was the same dentist who had been stripped of his license in their jurisdiction.
Emmanuel, it has been reported by the Sun, urged them not to go public with the issue until they completed their investigation, warning that it could be potentially damaging to the integrity of reputation of the dentist, the Ministry of Health and Belize Dental Council. All indications are that the Sun demonstrated good faith in the interest of the official investigation and did not go public with the issue.
On Monday, however, upon learning that the dental clinic was preparing to open despite her reports to authorities, the Sun’s Editor Tamara Sniffin, went to the Police Station to file a report. The senior officer at the station, Assistant Superintended, Henry Jemmott, reported that he was totally unaware of the situation. ASP Jemmott mobilised his officers who detained Dr. Hall for questioning, discovering that he had provided falsified information to obtain his license. The Police have launched a full investigation since.
Important questions must now be answered by Emmanuel of the Ministry of Health, and Gough of the Belize Medical Council.