Dr Marvin Manzanero, he is the senior public officer who had become the face of Covid-19 when the arrival of SARS-Cov2 was novel to Belize. As the Director of Health Services, he appeared on several media platforms to provide guidance and to present the developing regulations. Tonight, however, his days as the legal DHS are numbered as the government is looking to split the post in two which would then see Manzanero’s official exit. For Tuesday’s House Meeting the government has prepared ten amendment to several Bills that will push for Dr Manza’s dismissal. For the past eleven months the government has been trying to remove him from the post, but that proved somewhat impossible. We asked Prime Minister John Briceno about the many amendments. He says that it is impossible for one man to effectively carry out the post of DHS. This is why, Briceno says, that his party before elections had decided to split the post. He says it’s not about Dr. Manzanero. In fact, Briceno says Dr. Manzanero is not that important.
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “It has nothing to do with Dr.Manza. If you were to look at the discussions that we had before the election we had already decided that we have to break up the office of the Director of Public Health because that post has grown so much that it is impossible for one man to do. You’re looking at hospitals, you’re looking at the drugs that are coming in, you’re looking at the nurses and the doctors and the opening of all the hospitals both private and local, you’re looking at public health it’s way too much for one person so the idea is to be able to have to break it up into two areas so that then we can provide a better service for the Belizean people. I’m sorry Dr.Manza is not that important.”
Reporter: So what was he doing during this time ?
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “I think you need to ask him I can’t answer that question.”
Reporter: So he will be removed effectively and post somewhere under the Ministry ?
Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Well the ministry what is going to happen that that post is going to be abolished and two new posts are going to be appointed and who is going to be taking up that post I think you need to check with the Minister of Health and not myself.”
Last week Cabinet announced its approval to abolish the post of Director of Health Services and replace it with two separate posts: a Director of Public Health and Wellness and a Director of Hospital Services. It’s a checkmate move on GOB’s part which is seeking to crush the “medical knight” with ten amendment bills related to the Ministry of Health and Wellness. A vigorous debate is anticipated for tomorrow, especially since the government is seeking to pass the amendments in one session.