BELIZE CITY, Sun. Nov. 21, 2021 — Last week, the Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Michel Chebat responded to calls for his removal from his post at the head of that Ministry that were made by a former member of the board of governors of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, Dr. Fernando Cuellar, and the president of the Public Service Union,
Dean Flowers, as well as the leader of the Opposition, Hon. Patrick Faber.
The demands that he resign or be removed were made after Minister Chebat made public remarks that seemed to shift responsibility for the shortage of key medical supplies at the hospital from the Ministry of Health and Wellness to the KHMH board, which he told to “step up”.
When interviewed by the host of the WUB Morning Vibes show, Evan “Mose” Hyde, Cuellar said that Chebat’s effectiveness has been limited because it has been difficult for him to learn the intricacies of the operations at the ministry, and he said this is due to Chebat’s lack of experience in the medical profession. Dr. Cuellar said that someone with some medical background should be made head of the Health Ministry instead.
This call was echoed by the PSU president, and the leader of the UDP, who criticized Chebat’s leadership of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing third wave.
For his part, Minister Chebat said, “I am satisfied that I am doing everything that I can. I am satisfied that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is doing the best that it can.”
He admitted that he probably holds the most difficult post within the government at this time as Minister of Health and said that, in light of the global pandemic and its impact on the healthcare systems over the world, “it is not an easy job.”
While he attributes the hardships faced largely to the global pandemic, and the new deadlier variants that are now being transmitted within the country, he also attributed some blame to abandonment of the healthcare system for the entirety of 13 years of UDP rule.
“These I think I have perhaps the most difficult job to do. And I think all ministers of health across the world have sat in a similar position as I do. You know, I wish that when I took over the Ministry of Health, I wish that we did not find hospitals that had been abandoned for eleven, for 13 years. I wish that we did not find a healthcare system where our nurses and doctors, their morale are so low. I wish we did not find a system where they were owing so much in overtime. But that is the plate that we have been served, and that is what we have to work with. It is 13 years of neglect.” Chebat said.
In reference to the calls for his removal, he said that persons have a right to their opinions.
“You know, we all have different points of view and different opinions, and I respect this. I do respect this,” Minister Chebat said.