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Apr 21, 2021

Minister Chebat Responds to Nurses and P.S.U.

Public sector nurses are currently operating on a work to rule basis as a sign of solidarity with the joint union’s position on G.O.B.’s proposed wage cuts. The Nurses Association of Belize has also gone on record to say that they are prepared to take industrial action alongside the Unions if it ever comes to that. Their boss, Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat must now ensure that public health facilities remain up a running if nurses do not take on overtime. And, while the nurses have not expressed any personal griping with their minister, the P.S.U. has gone on record to voice their discontent with the minister’s leadership.  Minister Chebat responded saying he tried to keep healthcare workers from getting salary cuts.  He also addressed the recent controversy about the tender process for new Ministry of Health vehicles.

 

Michel Chebat

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health and Wellness

“It gives me no joy as the Minister of Health and Wellness to say to our nurses and doctors and all our health care workers that they must take a cut after all the sacrifices they have made. It is not lost upon us that the people have sacrificed themselves and their families to keep the rest of the population safe. We are in a very difficult economic situation in our country, and I understand very well that nobody wants to take a cut in their salary. I understand that they have financial obligations that they must be met. But I want to say this very clearly, that although I am not one of the negotiating members of the government teams with the Unions, from the onset the government negotiations tried their best to exclude the health care workers form the salary cuts and that was not accepted. We cannot lay off staff, that is a matter for the Ministry of the public service. And I do realize that I have been targeted to a large extent by the public service union. And I will tell you this, in terms of the vehicles that tendering process was handled by the procurement unit of the Ministry. They in fact had gotten seven different offers, seven different bids on the vehicle. The ones we chose as a ministry to purchase, we choose that one because it was a pickup, an intermediate pickup they were offering us. And that was about two thousand dollars more expensive than the next closest one, which was a basic model. And so we felt we would get more monies worth with the intermediate one. I can tell you that sale has not gone through, that purchase by the Ministry of Health has not materialized. So, there are no issues there.”


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