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PSU President Condemns Employment of Panamanian Communications Director at the MOHW; Says a Belizean Should be Hired

And with Flowers’ statement on the lack of communication within the Ministry of Health, it was just this week that our newsroom received evidence that the Communications Director for the ministry is a Panamanian. Love News understands that 44-year-old, Raul Hernando Ibanez Sandoval has been employed in the public service using a temporary employment permit issued to him on December 18, 2020. According to the permit, Ibanez-Sandoval is employed as a Public Relations Coordinator within the Ministry of Health. PSU’s Dean Flowers told our newsroom that this is a disturbing fact as there are many Belizeans who are qualified to fill the position.

Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union: “This is not only a problem specific to the Ministry of Health it shows that even the ministry of public service is accommodating to creating the kind of mess that exists. We’ve been saying that even before the communications director was given a contract, even before he was given a work permit he was in that ministry causing problems for public officers. He was in that ministry participating in senior management meetings. He was in that ministry making decisions without a contract, without a work permit. We pointed these things out as far back as when this government took over and this transition team was appointed and nobody seemed to have paid attention to it and no one year after this is exactly what we’re reaping, chaos. So I personally as the president of the public service union do not take responsibility for not having highlighted that look over a year ago we pointed out to you guys that there was a lot of irregularities happening within the Ministry of Health administratively but again I guess it was not sensational enough for the general public or sensational enough for the media or for the government or for the opposition that nobody paid any attention to it and lo and behold a year after now we’re in this mess whereby administratively there is a whole lot to be desired and like I said we nonetheless as the representatives of the public officers will be doing our best to assist to try to get the problem where the administrative and senior management structure is concerned with in the Ministry of Health addressed and addressed as soon as possible because that ultimately like I said we’ll have a domino effect on the improvement of health services to the Belizean public.”

Interestingly, Ibanez-Sandoval was part of a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland in November 2021 where he was listed at the World Health Organization (WHO) special Assembly as a Senior Advisor. Love News understands that Ibanez-Sandoval was on a contract and upon the start of his employment as an Advisor to the Minister of Health, and had later shifted to the Communications Director. Ibanez’ permit expired on December 17, 2021; it is yet to be confirmed if his permit was extended for continued employment.