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Feb 18, 2021

Doctor Manza Without an Office at the Ministry of Health

Marvin Manzanero

Belize’s COVID numbers seem to be declining, but we are still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. Viewers are naturally concerned about widespread reports that the substantive Director of Health Services, Doctor Marvin Manzanero is being forced out of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.  Doctor Manza has been the face in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic for the better part of 2020, under the Barrow Administration. But just after the elections, he himself contracted COVID-19 and had been hospitalized.  Within days, an acting DHS was appointed in the person of Doctor Melissa Diaz-Musa. But since Monday of this week, Doctor Manzanero has been back at work, but has found himself without a desk, without a vehicle and, we are told, he is actually sitting in the secretarial area at the office. So was he demoted? The Association of Public Service Senior Managers, for which Doctor Manzanero is a member, says that as far as they are concerned, there is only one DHS and that position is presently held by Doctor Manza, who has not indicated that he is resigning.  Today, President Sharon Frazer says that the career epidemiologist, and senior public officer, is being disrespected.


Sharon Frazer

Sharon Frazer, President, A.P.S.S.M.

“I was informed by him that on returning to work, he returned to no office. Nobody spoke to him; nobody had any discussion with him as to what would have happened to him. The position is if it is that he was not able or they did not want him or whatever reason, there is still a process that needed to have been followed as it relates to him as the substantive holder of the position of Director of Health Services. That’s one thing. The second thing is that you cannot have an acting Director of Health Services when there is a substantive holder of the position. For audit purposes, how would they be able to explain paying two people to be functioning as Director of Health Services? So I am looking at it from all perspectives here. In addition to that, the only way you can remove an upholder of a permanent post would be if he has conducted some misconduct, two if he had been promoted—and the only promotion that exists from H.O.D would be maybe C.E.O. because you are at the top of the department. So putting him anywhere else unless it is an equivalent H.O.D. position is a demotion. So it doesn’t matter if he is getting the same pay, based on the structure of the public service, it would mean that he would be demoted anywhere else he goes.”

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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