Last year, around this time, I had no idea who Dr. Manza was! And if you’re wondering who I am referring to, it’s our very own Director of Health Services, Dr. Marvin Manzanero. I like to think of myself as an informed and learned individual, but truth be told, some things slip me. And one such thing was who our current Director of Health Services was. But then came March of 2020, the introduction of COVID-19 to our country.
We were caught off-guard, although we were anticipating it. We are a tiny nation and haven’t had to deal with anything like this in our young modern history. But then came along a doctor. A very good doctor, I might add. Dr. Marvin Manzanero was officially introduced to the nation as the Director of Health Services and the person who would be leading the charge against COVID-19.
Now, COVID-19 can be categorized as a very big monster. It’s like a raging storm, a wild fire. And one would expect a monster of a man to lead such a charge. But there was this very small and perceivably reticent doctor who was introduced to us. No doubt, aspersions were casted upon him, and his aptitude and abilities were put under a microscope and questioned. But as time progressed, Dr. Manza showed us that he was the full package, undoubtedly!
He has been a constant face and voice of calm and reassurance for us during this entire pandemic. He has showed up every day, seemingly indefatigable, with an indomitable spirit, and he forged on incessantly against this tyrant of a virus. He has faced many pressures and been brought under endless scrutiny, but just like a tree that’s been planted by the water, he prevailed time and time again and he saw us through with calmness, consistency and much valor and integrity.
Needless to say, as we as a nation grapple with this pandemic, we have been addressed time and time again by many persons and stakeholders involved. But when it came down to the wire, nobody else would do! We wanted to hear from Dr. Manza. He built a rapport with the nation in months. He suddenly became our confidante. He was an adviser to us, yet a subtle counselor. He kept us abreast and informed and guided us with the facts.
But that aside, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for him. Yes, admittedly, such an onerous task comes with many trials. And as a nation we were shocked when, like wild brushfire, news broke on Wednesday, September 23, about the purported resignation of the very good and reliable force in the face of this pandemic: Dr. Marvin Manzanero.
We simply froze in our tracks at the news. We even panicked a bit. After all, he is the person who has been at the forefront for the past six or so months in the face of this pandemic. He is like a local celebrity whom we all laud and view with respect and admiration. Like, if there was an award for the person of the year, it would definitely go to Dr. Manza. He is our very own Dr. Fauci and arguably a very steady voice of reassurance that oftentimes seeks to tell the truth, while being humble and continuing to be guided by principles of morality and integrity.
While we didn’t know at the time and couldn’t validate the authenticity of the report, we knew one thing for sure: Dr. Manza is a man of integrity, and if his integrity is threatened, he’s prepared to stand up for what he believes in. Throughout this entire pandemic, in addition to his stellar workmanship and indefatigable spirit, Dr. Manza held firm to one main principle: doctor-patient confidentiality.
I mean, is that too much to ask for? After all, it’s morally based and bound by virtues and integrity — and he stood by it. In a time when many people waver with the wind, it was reassuring to know that our lead doctor was a man of grit and integrity.
In these trying times of uncertainty, where as a country we can seldom agree on anything, I am proud to say that as a country we all respect and appreciate the work of Dr. Manzanero. As you walk the streets, or ride a bus or are standing in an aisle at a supermarket, the people of Belize can oftentimes be heard singing Dr. Manza’s praises.
And you could only understand why the people are singing his praises; after all, by and large (arguably), the country trusts him, more than anyone else, to lead them through this pandemic.
While we would all want this pandemic to come to an end and be put behind us altogether, the science is telling us that we yet have more time to deal with it. And while dealing with this pandemic is taking a toll on us, we find comfort in knowing who’s leading the charge. It’s like we’re on a ship, being tossed in the tempest, battered by the angry waves of the raging storm. And while we would want the storm to subside, we find comfort knowing that the captain will use his skills and maneuver us through.
Thank yuh, Dr. Manza for steering this ship and for seeing us through. Thank you for your stellar workmanship that has been propelled by your indefatigable nature. Thank you for your consistency and your integrity and sticking up for what you believe in with subtle reassurance and care. Thank you for serving with love and compassion, and it is our esteemed hope that you will continue to lead this charge in a way that only you can.
Thank yuh, Dr. Manza!
God Bless You and …
God Bless Belize!