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Nov 16, 2021

P.S.U. Joins Chorus, “Minister of Health Must Go!”

Michel Chebat

The Public Service Union is joining the chorus calling for the removal of Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat, amid what appears to be turmoil within his ministry.  We reported on Friday that former board member Doctor Fernando Cuellar resigned from his post on the executive of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Authority, following remarks that Chebat made earlier in the week regarding the management of the national referral facility.  But that appears to be the tip of the iceberg where leadership of the public health system is concerned.  This afternoon, P.S.U. President Dean Flowers took a swing at the minister, echoing sentiments made by Doctor Cuellar during an appearance in the media on Monday.  Flowers went a step further and divulged details of an internal memorandum that was circulated on November fifth in which Chief Executive Officer Doctor Deysi Mendez was informed by the minister that any financial transaction that exceeds three thousand, five hundred dollars must be approved by him.  This, according to Flowers, contravenes the constitution which empowers the C.E.O. as the accounting officer for the ministry.


Dean Flowers

Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union

“I want to support the call of Dr. Cuellar and many others because even representatives from the private sector have come to the realization that the Ministry of Health needs help, it needs a lot of help where leadership is concerned.  We have a minister who is administrating with a lot of arrogance and ignorance and we have a C.E.O. who has a medical background but who has been sidelined and, in my view, the only thing that I can tell you about the C.E.O. is that I’ve received many termination letters with her signature on it.  Outside of that, I’ve not seen a single response or concerns within the Ministry of Health coming from her, so perhaps it’s not only the minister that they need to reconsider.  But the Ministry of Health is in crisis and so we must call on the prime minister to look at a possible way of addressing that.  Our members and public officers within the Ministry of Health are suffering and especially our essential services workers, they are not getting the attention, the Belizean people are hurting and the focus seems to be procurement, deciding who gets these contracts, who will do the procuring.  The priority there seems to be, I just received some information that there is abuse where government fuel is concerned.  There’s an allegation that none other than the minister’s son is driving around with the government’s fuel card.  I am in receipt of instructions from the Minister of Health, and I quote, to the C.E.O., dated November fifth, in which he stated to the C.E.O., kindly note that as of today November 5th, 2021, no purchase orders, no invoices, no contracts, no agreements, no payments in excess of three thousand, five hundred dollars is to be made by you without my express prior consent.  We have a minister who has lost his wayand who is not familiar with how the public sector runs and sadly, I would have expected that the C.E.O. would have responded to this and say to him, “Sir, the least you can do, man, da read the constitution man, read the legislation which makes me the accounting officer, and so with all due respect, you need to stick to what you do best.”

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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