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Home Headline PSU condemns new directorships replacing DHS

PSU condemns new directorships replacing DHS

SourceDayne Guy

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Oct. 21, 2021– Following the release of a cabinet brief on Wednesday that informed the public that two new director positions — a Director of Public Health and Wellness post and a Director of Hospital Services position — had been created at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the president of the Public Service Union (PSU), Dean Flowers, expressed his view that the move — which is being seen as a roundabout way of nullifying the position of Director of Health Services (DHS) — is a disgrace. He went on to say that the decision is also an indication that the Ministry of Health and Wellness lacks an adequate Human Resources Department.

One of the objections made by the PSU is that there appeared to be no communication with the putative Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero prior to such a decision — although there has been no public confirmation so far by Dr. Manzanero that he was not consulted prior to the decision. Flowers stated, “It would appear there has been absolutely no communication by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, inclusive of the minister, CEO or any other individual within the Ministry of Health and Wellness with the current Director of Health Services.”

Flowers further criticized the Prime Minister, Hon. John Briceño, for allegedly suggesting that there was communication between the Health Ministry and Dr. Manzanero — an assertion he classifies as misleading. He went on to assert that Dr. Manzanero has not been contacted by any government official since March 2021.

Flowers’ jabs at the Prime Minister continued. He stated, “I see no talent, because when it is that you have to go and change the law to address a singular public officer instead of addressing the issues within the ministry that need fixing to ensure the office of a [Director of Health Services] functions the way it should, then it shows that these people have no ideas.” Such actions set a dangerous precedent for public service, he said, and the Government of Belize should not “play politics” when directorship roles are at stake.

According to Flowers, there already is a Director of Health Services (Dr. Manzanero), who is on Payscale 25 and is unable to provide the Belizean public with the service for which he is being paid, since he has not been offered a desk or office to work from. Further, there will be the introduction of two new director positions at Payscale 25. The PSU is thus questioning the integrity of the current administration which is making such costly human resource decisions at a time when public sector wages have been cut for cost-saving purposes — a reference to the 10% reduction of public workers’ salaries implemented earlier this year. The PSU further expressed its belief that the new positions will not increase efficiency within the ministry or bolster the administration.

Flowers also took aim at the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Deysi Mendez, whom he described as “defunct” and completely unresponsive to the queries and requests of the union. Flowers went on to mention that under the current administration, junior medical officers have been offered upper-level technical roles, and he noted that the most senior advisor in the ministry, the head of procurement at the ministry, is a junior medical officer. He claimed that something similar is taking place in the Northern and Western Health regions in which individuals not authorized by the Ministry of Public Service are acting in an administrative capacity.

“How can you be infringing on the space of professionals who have been appointed to these critical positions? We cannot continue to play politics with our public health system. They are frustrating public officers,” Flowers remarked. He then questioned Prime Minister Briceño’s decision to support the Ministry of Health, as well as its entire advisory team. He further stated that he believes that it is time for the Minister of Health, Hon. Michel Chebat, as well as the entire advisory team, to tender their resignations.

This evening, Minister Chebat told KREM news that Dr Manzanero he has been offered one of the directorates but has not responded as yet. According to the hospital administrators, he shared that he would need to get in contact with CEO Dr. Mendez to confirmed before commenting.

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