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Apr 22, 2020

Johnny Briceño Remains Co-chair of National Oversight Committee

John Briceño

On April eighth, Holy Saturday, Opposition Leader John Briceño appeared in a recorded statement during which he chided government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.  Briceño is co-chair of the National Oversight Committee, a special working group established by the Barrow administration to respond to the socioeconomic and public health issues arising from the pandemic.  While the leader of the People’s United Party has been critical of the Ministry of Health’s inadequacies in respect of an explosion of COVID-19 cases over the Easter weekend, he maintains his seat on the committee.  In speaking with News Five, Briceño says that there have been marked improvements, despite government not finding itself in an ideal situation to confront the challenges stemming from the coronavirus disease.


John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“My number one issue was that we have to look at the issues in the Ministry of Health.  We felt that there was not coordination, proper coordination between the Ministry of Health, the regional hospitals, the Minister of Health and private doctors and because of that we saw two major problems, you know.  The issue with our first victim and then the issue with Belize Healthcare Partners.  Fortunately, at that time, we asked Dr. Ramon Figueroa to come in and do an assessment and he found some of the very same things that we’re talking about that need to be addressed and most of it is being addressed, even with the [Belize Medical and Dental Association].  Even they are starting to have more dialogue, mind you, I believe that Dr. Manzanero has been doing a pretty good job.  He has been working day and night and what we’ve been saying to Dr. Manzanero is, you need help, you can’t do it all alone.  So with persons like Dr. Figueroa coming in and the Speaker of the House Laura Longsworth and Daisy Garcia and others, Lesbia Guerra and nurse Bulwer, all of them have been working closer with Dr. Manzanero advising him on areas that need to be addressed and it is getting there.  We’re not where we want to be but at the very least, I think we have improved a lot of what we’re doing.  I believe now that this crisis is one that is affecting everybody and I feel that I have a responsibility as the Leader of the Opposition to do my best to be able to work in the oversight committee and as long as I feel like I can be helpful, I will continue to work in the oversight committee.”

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