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Jul 13, 2009

Steps forward made in K.H.M.H. mediation; but Fabro must go

Story PictureIt’s almost a month… that is the longstanding dispute between the Belize Medical and Dental Union and the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Board. And tonight they’re back to square one and it involves the same man in the eye of the storm. It started with the firing of Doctor Khalid Ghazi that mobilized the B.M.D.U. to champion his cause and simultaneously make allegations that the K.H.M.H. was buying overpriced medication. Last week there was an accusation that the K.H.M.H. was buying its poultry and fish all the way from Orange Walk. Since then, there have been former K.H.M.H. employees who have made the same allegations that purchases were made at the behest of Doctor Ricardo Fabro, the chairman of the K.H.M.H. board. The disagreement turned to a one day sick out by more than half of the doctors. And despite mediation with Labour Commissioner Ivan Williams, the doctors could not agree with the board on how to proceed. Well there is some turn of events to report tonight. The renewed mediation process began today and took several hours. The B.M.D.U. president, Doctor John Sosa, says that some rewording was done to the Memorandum of Understanding and they have compromised on some points. They’ve given up on getting an apology from the board for accusing them of hustling and they have also given up on disagreements with C.E.O., Doctor Gary Longsworth and Finance Director, Carlos Perera. But there is still one point, actually the same point that they couldn’t agree upon the first time they went to mediation. The doctors want Fabro gone at least for the interim, while the investigations continue. The B.M.D.U. president says that they welcome the additional commission that the prime minister announced on Friday, but it is up to the K.H.M.H. administration and the Prime Minister to decide on what to do about Fabro.

John Sosa, President, B.M.D.U.
“He said he would get somebody from N.T.U.C.B., somebody from the judiciary, somebody from the Ministry of Health. With the N.T.U.C.B. one we can have a little input into because the union is a part of N.T.U.C.B. So we could get some input into dah one deh. And of course, the M.O.U. we di try beat out right now. We have some suggestions for him to act on if he wants to, in terms of reference for this commission, basically.”

Jose Sanchez
“While that is ongoing, we are still going through the mediation process?”

Dr. John Sosa
“Yes we are still going through it.”

Jose Sanchez
“What happened today?”

Dr. John Sosa
“Well, today we had a meeting very long one, basically fruitful I think. We came to agreement on nearly everything. We have one sticking point still that we could meet afterwards and talk about. But basically everything else we’ve kinda agreed on.”

Jose Sanchez
“What is the sticking point?”

Dr. John Sosa
“We have asked Doctor Fabro personally in the meeting and through senator Hulse, to kind of excuse himself from the proceedings. I don’t know, take a holiday from the board, do something. And that is the sticking point because he basically doesn’t want to, right. He has his reasons, I can’t comment on his reasons. So that is the sticking point; the union wants him to at least remove himself from the proceedings, make it seem above board and he doesn’t seem to want to. And the board is backing him up on that.”

Jose Sanchez
“But he is also being investigated.”

Dr. John Sosa
“You have public allegations directly against him but he thinks they’re just allegations. I can’t comment on what he thinks on all the allegations. You would believe if you were involved in a problem directly accused of being a part of that problem, well at least excuse yourself for the time being until the investigation finishes and see where it goes.”

Doctor Sosa says he expects the B.M.D.U. and the K.H.M.H. administration to return to mediation in the next few days.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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