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Sep 1, 2016

Ministry of Health Agrees to Take On Salaries, But Will Not Fund BERT Directly

Marvin Manzanero

This afternoon, Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero, told us the Government has reached an accommodation with the much-needed emergency service to take on the management as well as the personnel. In effect BERT has folded.

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services

“We have reached an agreement; BERT was basically interested in us increasing their subvention, that’s one, and the other option was that they would be able to bill us for services beyond the subvention; or they could stop the subvention and they would be billing us for every service – on average, that worked out to forty-three thousand dollars. The proposal that is on the table is basically the same thing but it’s not a payment to BERT; we’d be picking up salaries and those kinds of situations.”

 

Duane Moody

“So is the ministry able to take on this capacity, given the fact that BERT was doing it on a private basis, now it becomes public?”

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“Well the E.M.T.s will remain, so I don’t know if there is any change; the services will be the same, it’s just who is managing it from now, onwards. It won’t be B.E.R.T. perhaps, it’s gonna be the Ministry of Health, so it’s just who’s managing it, but in terms of the services, those remain.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir, so if it was at the same cost, why not give that to BERT and lessen the burden on the Ministry of Health?”

 

Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“I don’t know if it’s going to be the same cost, I don’t know that. I mean, we couldn’t possibly go from paying you eighteen thousand dollars subvention to forty-three thousand dollars on a monthly basis without it being adequately justified; not that I am saying that it wasn’t. But you would understand that it’s not being factored into our budget so I mean you are asking me – not overnight, because they are saying that have been signalling this for years, but we started negotiations this year; what negotiations happened last year, I don’t know. But it was difficult for me to table something twice what they were getting when I already had an approved budget for this year. So that is the gist of the matter.”

 

The eleven persons will be treated as contract officers and join the Government pay scale which will be slightly higher than their current salaries. The Ministry already owns the ambulances by agreement with B.E.R.T. The final agreement will be made on Monday.

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