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Mar 12, 2014

Pharmacy Association lashes out at MOH on appointment of the daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras

Political connections and lucrative appointments – that’s always been commonplace in Belize, almost as traditional as rice and beans. But that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow. Today, the Ministry of Health is in hot water after the announcement of a new Director of Drug Inspectorate, who just happens to be the daughter of U.D.P. Minister Erwin Contreras. That in itself isn’t necessarily big news, but the Pharmacists’ Association of Belize is fired up at M.O.H. because they claim the new director is completely under-qualified and proper appointment guidelines were ignored. To add insult to injury, the Association only learned about the appointment last week through the media. Mike Rudon has the story.   


Mike Rudon, Reporting

The Pharmacists Association of Belize has issued a fiery release accusing the Ministry of Health of making a mockery of their profession. The problem is the new Director of Drug Inspectorate, responsible for monitoring pharmacists, suppliers and controlled drugs to ensure that all is in order, and all are in compliance with the laws of Belize. They say the new Director, Danini Contreras, is not qualified for the post.


Hortence Humes

Hortence Humes, President, Pharmacists’ Association of Belize

“To be a drug inspector you have to be a registered pharmacist, have five years working experience, specialized training in drug inspection and an Associate’s or a diploma in pharmacy.”



“So where are those standards from?”


Hortence Humes

“When the post was created those were the qualifications that were required of a drug inspector.”


Danini Contreras


“And Ms. Contreras does not have those qualifications?”


Hortence Humes

“She’s not a registered pharmacist. We know that she has a Bachelor’s in Science and in Chemical Pharmaceuticals…”



“So what should she have? Why are you saying she is not qualified for this post? Just because she is not registered as a pharmacist..?”


Hortence Humes

“The drug inspector also has to be familiar with the pharmacy structure of the country and with no working experience, not knowing what is happening in the industry in the country, we feel that she is not qualified to be that.”


The Association is not upset at the creation of the post, and in fact have advocated for that post and the strengthening of laws to give that department teeth. But they are concerned at the lack of proper process behind the appointment, complicated by the political connections.


Marisol Melhado

Marisol Melhado, Vice President, Pharmacists’ Association of Belize

“This person not being qualified…there’s a way around that. The person can get training…fine. But the fact that the person has no working experience and has no knowledge of the status quo of Belize in terms of what is actually happening…the fact that the person is very politically tied gives us that sense of what are you going to actually be looking at…are you going to be subjected to just looking at what you need to look at, or at everything. And that’s where it hurts us to think that it might just be a person that is groomed to be a rubber stamp. That’s not our intention by any means.”


The Association is angry because there are qualified and registered pharmacists who have been bypassed by what they call the back-door and under the radar appointment of Contreras.


Hortence Humes

“We have our schools of pharmacy and we have been graduating pharmacy students every year, and they have been getting their licenses to be registered pharmacists. At the moment we have pharmacists out there who are qualified and cannot find a job. They are working at Ready Call and these are pharmacists…qualified, registered pharmacists and cannot find a job and we have been advocating for posts to be created within the Ministry because there is the need for a drug inspector and a director of the drug inspectorate…that is a whole new need within the Ministry of Health and we have been advocating for that. So to say that there aren’t qualified persons there…I don’t believe that.”


Marisol Melhado

“We have set our demands to rectify the situation. Even if there is a progress in sessions on how to rectify it we are willing to discuss this. But we want for the Ministry of Health to recognize the profession first of all and know that whenever you do things there are consequences to them and we are prepared to go all the way.”


As we told you, the Association only learned of the creation of the post and the appointment of Contreras through a report in the news last week. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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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11 Responses for “Pharmacy Association lashes out at MOH on appointment of the daughter of Minister Erwin Contreras”

  1. its nuts says:

    Typical more corruption at the hands of contreras. Minister Erwin is the biggest crook since Al Capone ruled Chicago. Erwin rakes in millions of dollars from scamming investors and his own people. Benque Viejo is a ghost town thanks to his economic policies of thieving from the local populace. Barrow you are even stupider for keeping this guy in the UDP, as he is a 1000 times more filthy dirty than Penner could even dream to be.

    And by the way, Contreras isnt qualified for the position of Economics Minister either, but we knew that already.

  2. Esther says:

    and the other daughter is in the Foreign Service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, many of our children are out of a job and when they apply, even with the qualifications they are turned down, then again, political manipulation of the posts. Politicians are the ones that support the words ¨promises were made to be broken”. Usual thing but the people of Benque still suck up under him to see what they can get, money to start with. Anyways, lately he doesn`t show his face in the area.

  3. CEO says:

    This is the kind of crap why our little country lags behind!

    If she is really not qualified for the post why give her the job?

    Politics will never get us as a country any where but good leadership does! The medical in Belize is already lacking and instead of getting someone to lead that will leapfrog the system and get it close to where it should be, we put someone in charge who has no clue which end is up!

  4. alley cat says:

    Bachelors in Chemical Pharmaceuticals. Not sure what all the fuss is about, nepotism ( practiced by just about everyone with some sort of authority in the country) got her the job but at the same time she may be qualified. I think the pharmacy association is probably more upset about not be consulted.

  5. Elgin Martinez says:

    @CEO i am going to use one word to answer your question.”NEPOTISM”

  6. Hatari says:

    Just another corrupt move by another corrupt politician. The “Honorable”?? Contreras is up to his @$$ in shady deals, smuggling, nepotism, and who knows what else. It’s common knowledge.

  7. Mayagial says:

    this is a prime example of set back to Belize. As long as you related to the minista you are golden. Seems like it does not matter if you educated or not as long as you in with the minista you are good to go for any job. Such a shame because it is the people that have to suffer the consequences. We need more people to bring to light all this corruption and favoritism because BZ actually have people that work hard to find a descent job and not expect it to be handed to them.

  8. rudy says:

    talk about nepotism..Barrow started that with his brother.. well in belize to succeed you betta know somebody who has a little connection or else its the bottom of the barrel for you.. well this nepotism won’t stop it’s part of the culture in Belize .. remember in Belize it’s who you know to climb the ladder in Belize…you could have wah PHD…wah Masters Degree …if you don’t know those big WiGs u won’t get shit…so remember that my Belizean people …so we need to come together and vote these thieves out of office…..power the people….

  9. rudy says:

    this dah borrow and those minister theory on being a success in Belize…this dah Borrow. i wah become prime minister i wah hire me bredda and mi nephew….then mi nephew wah hire his sons and daughters,,,hire wah few cousins and couple of best friends….best friends wah hire more friends and so on…welcome to the work force of have the Borrows,,,the contreras…the esquivels…..the hydes…the fonsecas.the Bricenos ..and we the regular folk can’t even find wah job ..well betta get use to it until you the people decide to make change..power to the people …NEPOTISM AT IT”s BEST

  10. Timber says:

    You’re all right. A BSc in Pharmaceuticals Chemistry., depending upon where she got her degree from, entails a lot of benchwork lab work and research. It involves the make up, synthesis and effectiveness of the drugs and if it passes certain standards. We don’t even have to equipment in Belize to test these drugs and she’s definitely not a pharmacist! What can she do, tell us how we’re getting expired drugs from India and China that we don’t know the side effects of nor the chemical makeup? I knew that already because I know who has the monopoly and making the hustle from importing these inferior drugs into the country.

  11. Me says:

    I Agree with you Ester, so many people without a Job, due to ministers hiring family, and friends. Even terminating contracts for hardworking people, just to employ friends and family members. Some of the friends and family members are not even qualified for the positions they are in.

    Erwin Contreras think he has the power of the world, just because he is a minister. Ministers take advantage due to lack of education, and economy in our country.

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