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Oct 27, 2022

Prime Minister Briceño Addressed K.H.M.H. Crisis

Last night, we brought you full coverage of the crisis at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. As we reported, the K.H.M.H. Workers Union called a press conference to air their concerns over the shortage of necessary medical supplies at the hospital, and income tax issues related to severance and pension. We also heard from Chandra Cansino, the Chief Executive Officer at the K.H.M.H., and Minister of Health and Wellness Kevin Bernard, who is being accused of repeatedly postponing meetings with the union. Well, tonight Prime Minister John Briceño gave his input on the crisis at the nation’s primary public healthcare facility.


Prime Minister John Briceño

Prime Minister John Briceño

“We wish we could have addressed it from day one, let’s start with that, but we’ve had so many other pressing issues that we had to address in trying to stabilize the Belize dollar, stabilize the Belizean economy, stabilize government expenditure and get the economy growing and going and creating opportunities for Belize. I am not in any way saying that the pensions for K.H.M.H. workers is not important; it is very important, it is high on our agenda. I met with them briefly for their anniversary – was it last month, I think – and they were asking for a meeting and I said yes, we are going to meet with you, but I was recommending and suggesting, let them meet with the Minister of Health and once they have that meeting, then I will come in to see how we can settle it. It is unfortunate that in two instances that they called the meeting, something came up and the minister could not meet with them. This last time, he was telling me that he offered to meet with them via zoom, but they preferred to meet in person. So it is not that Minister Bernard is trying to avoid them, he is not. I guess you all know Minister Bernard; he is a very open, friendly person, very approachable. So it is just sometimes unfortunate of different issues coming up that the meetings that they’ve set have been unable for them to meet. For instance, I had a meeting set with the N.T.U.C.B. yesterday. We had a whole list of issues that they want us to address.  I had already set the meeting for yesterday at two o’clock. But it so happened that the foreign minister was also asking for a meeting with the social partners which included the N.T.U.C.B. to discuss the issue with the Sarstoon, the Pact of Bogota and the unjustifiable claim that Honduras has over the Sapodilla Cayes. I thought that was more pressing because we have to quickly push to be able to get Honduras to the I.C.J. then to be able to address, holistically, all of Belize. So I said okay, I will step back, let them meet. I am hoping to set a meeting early next week or as soon as I get back from Costa Rica, I will be meeting with them.”

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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