BELIZE CITY, Sun. Nov. 21, 2021 — When interviewed on Thursday, Health Minister Hon. Michel Chebat told local media that the role of the Director of Health Services (DHS) is now effectively redundant. This has occurred after the creation of two new roles within the Ministry of Health and Wellness to replace this post. This means Dr. Marvin Manzanero, who held the post of DHS, has also become redundant in the Ministry.
Ministry Chebat claimed during the interview that one of the two positions which were created was offered to Dr. Manzanero, but “he never accepted any.” Local reports are indicating, however, that Dr. Manzanero has said that he has not had a conversation with Minister Chebat since March of this year — which would appear to contradict the claims of Chebat. (Dr. Manzanero allegedly told local media that none of the two new positions was offered to him verbally, electronically, or in writing.)
The Government of Belize replaced the office of the DHS with the Director of Public Health and Wellness and Director of Hospital Services posts.
These changes were effected through the passing of 12 health bills by the Government of Belize at a recent sitting of the House of Representatives. Those bills have since been ratified by the Senate and are now law since Friday, November 12. This means Dr. Manzanero officially has no office within the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
Chebat said that the matter is being handled by the Ministry of the Public Service. “That matter is now with the Ministry of the Public Service. You know the laws came into effect on Friday, the 12th of November, and so, that is now with the Ministry of the Public Service, and that matter will be dealt with there,” he said.
He added that he believes that Dr. Manzanero will be “offered the benefits of the years of service to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.”
He refuses, however, to view this move within the ministry as a coordinated ouster of Dr. Manzanero by the Government, despite the drafting of new bills to effectively rid the Ministry of the DHS role and ultimately Dr. Manzanero.
It must be noted that Manzanero has not acted in the role of DHS for almost a year now, since falling sick with COVID-19 and finding his office closed to him when he returned to the Ministry after his recovery. The public perception was and is largely still that Dr. Manzanero, who led the initial COVID-19 response in Belize, was betrayed by the government.
“I suspect that he – the position has now become redundant,” remarked Minister Chebat, who commented that redundancy is something common in the law.