Not in Buckingham Palace, not in Kensington Palace, but in Parliament.
In a nation where the press are routinely muzzled when royal scandals erupt, a hero has finally emerged-- Keith Vaz, Britain’s leading Asian member of Parliament. Vaz is now taking down names and demanding a fact-finding mission: “What is needed, clearly,” Vaz told BBC Radio today, “is an inquiry by the hospital into what has happened.”
The other heros are the ones Jacintha left behind. Today Jacintha’s bereaved husband, Benedict Barboza, a bespectacled hospital accountant, attended a meeting in the House of Commons in London with Vaz. Barboza carried a photograph of his late wife in the crook of his right arm, and his left was around his and Jacintha’s 14 year-old lovely, doe-eyed daughter. Their son, who appears to be a few years old, stood at Barboza’s left side. Although looking shocked, he stared unblinkingly into the cameras, his dark eyes full of questions and full of intelligence.
The family wants answers. They would also like some help.
M.P. Vaz had earlier criticized the hospital for not providing Mr Barboza and his children enough support.
“The hospital has sent them a letter, which I have seen, but I'm surprised that nobody has made the journey to Bristol [where they live] to sit with them and offer them the counseling that I think they need.”
Vaz opined: “More support in my view needs to be given.”
After meeting the family, he later spoke briefly outside the Commons on their behalf
Vaz further averred: “They just want me to say that they are extremely grateful to the public here in the United Kingdom and throughout the world who have sent them messages of condolences and support following the death of Jacintha - a loving mother and a loving wife.
“This is a close family. They are devastated by what has happened. They miss her every moment of every day but they are really grateful to the support of the British public and to the public overseas for the messages of support and kindness.”
Indeed, a poll released just today indicates that most Britons do not blame the Australian DJs for the prank call, but do regard Jacintha’s death as a tragedy.
After Mr. Barboza and his children met directly with the House of Commons, Vaz issued a further statement, saying that the Barbozas “are extremely grateful to the public here in the UK and throughout the world who have sent them messages of condolences and support following the death of Jacintha - a loving mother and a loving wife. This is a close family - they are devastated by what has happened. They miss her every moment of every day.”
The Royal Family, slow to respond except for the usual “deeply saddened” kind of remarks, is now giving a more detailed statement. A St James’s Palace spokesman is now insisting that the Royals had not complained to the hospital about the hoax call: “On the contrary,” insists the “source,” “we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.”
What exactly that means remains unclear.
It is also unclear whether the King Edward VII Hospital, which earlier prided itself upon being the choice hospital for the Royal Family recently, had taken any steps to investigate or discipline any of the nurses duped by the hoax call. Recent inquiries by the London Metropolitan Police seem designed to divert attention away from events in England to the DJs who originated the call in Australia.
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