Headline — 14 April 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
KHMH administration fires 2 doctors, but refuses to say why

The hospital’s Ad Hoc committee says action is “distasteful and very troubling”

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Apr. 12, 2018– Apart from the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital (KHMH)’s structural problem with its roof, which has placed limitations on the functions of the hospital, Belize’s primary health care facility is now embroiled in a controversy over the termination of two doctors, which no one in authority at the hospital wants to talk about.

In a press release issued late yesterday by the KHMH Ad Hoc Committee, the terminations have been described as “distasteful and very troubling.”

The two doctors who were terminated, Dr. Alain Gonzalez and Dr. Salvador Pagagua, are well known to the community. Gonzalez, a former United Democratic Party Belize City Councilor received his walking papers early on the morning of Saturday, April 7, and Pagagua was terminated and then rehired, only to be terminated again one day later, yesterday.

Both doctors were reportedly escorted off the KHMH compound by the hospital’s security officers.

Writing on behalf of the terminated doctors, the KHMHA (Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority) Adhoc Committee, which represents KHMH employees, commented on the termination in their press release yesterday.

The release stated, “Very recently, several staff of the KHMHA has been terminated in contravention of Labor Laws of Belize and the KHMHA Procedures Manual.

“In the event of these terminations, it has raised great concerns to the staff of KHMHA and the Adhoc Committee, in reference to the Employees’ Job Security.”

The release went on to say: “We find these actions on the part of administration to be distasteful and very troubling in the way these dismissals were carried out. We believe that it is a travesty and an injustice on the part of the KHMHA to act in this manner.

“All workers should be afforded their right to appropriate due process and justice as provided by the Constitution of Belize. We believe that the person responsible for violation of the rights of these workers should be held accountable.”

The release ends on this combative note: “The Adhoc Committee, along with the staff of KHMHA, is asking for the immediate removal of Director of Human Resources, Ms. Ixchell Murillo, and Director of Medical Services, Dr. Lisa Johnson, from their respective posts.”

The KHMH staff has held three emergency labor meetings over a two-day period. Yesterday afternoon, another meeting was held at the Lion’s Lester H. Young Building, because the hospital administration would not let its staff hold their meeting in the hospital’s cafeteria.

Dr. Gonzalez has been employed at the KHMHA for over a decade. Reportedly, Dr. Gonzalez is appealing his termination to the KHMHA board of directors, because he was not given any reason for the termination.

Amandala also understands that a third doctor and an attendant have also been terminated.

All of our newspaper’s efforts to speak to the KHMH management were futile. We were told by the KHMH Public Relations Officer, Tylon Tillett, that the management will not be making any comment to the media on the matter of the terminations.

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Deshawn Swasey

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