The demands from the joint unions is not the only one being made on behalf of the public officers. The Public Service Union (PSU) has come out lashing at the Briceno administration for what they have termed as a lack of leadership within the Ministry of Health. PSU President, Dean Flowers spoke with Love News saying that a press conference is well overdue over the issues occurring within the Ministry of Health.
Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union: “I think the Prime Minister of this country and the Minister of Public Service needs to convene a press conference with the media to address the Belizean people on what are the plans for the Ministry of Health and to give us clear cut timelines in terms of how we fix it, if we need expertise from our regional partners such as PAHO who I don’t know but clearly Doctor Manzanero alluded to last year there is a master plan for the Ministry of Health why is it that this government is not familiarizing itself with that master plan in terms of their organizational restructuring that was recommended by this foreign agency for the Ministry of Health? I don’t even know if it has been read by this cabinet and by this administration because if it had been read as I had read it I’m pretty quite sure there would have been meaningful steps over the last year to effect that plan but clearly within the Ministry of Health this administration is governing based on emotion. They talk about following the science but that’s only when it’s convenient to satisfy certain mandates within the health protocols that surround COVID. But clearly there is great need for help by our regional partners to ensure that Ministry of Health is restructured and that quality health services and administration is delivered through public officers and to the general public but I don’t know how we come together to forge or force that happened within the first quarter of 2022.”
As it stands, the Ministry of Health is currently operating without a Chief Executive Officer (CEO); a Director of Health Services; a National Epidemiologist; a National Surveillance Officer; a Director of Laboratory; a Southern Regional Manager; a Northern Regional Manager; a Hospital Administrator in the west, among several other key postings. Dean Flowers of the PUC says they have been sounding the alarm of the mess within the Ministry of Health, but their calls have fallen on deaf ears.
Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union: “I think no other entity other than the PSU has been saying since November 2020 that the Ministry of Health is heading down a dangerous path; that good leadership is lacking, that the professionals and legally appointed public officers in that ministry are being prohibited from doing and carrying out their functions as administrated by law. For over a year we’ve been saying that there is an urgent need for the government to address the Ministry of Health. The situation that the ministry finds itself in today no CEO, no DHS, no national epidemiologist, no national surveillance officer, no director of lab services, the regional managers a lot of them are holding positions which the Commission did not appoint them to hold but politically they were moved and so performing and sitting in regions that they have no business in in most cases if not all cases. The landscape of the health sector leaves a whole lot to be desired. I think we have been trying to say to the government and point out to the people of Belize that these things will cost us. We are in a pandemic. How can you be in a pandemic and how can you effectively address the pandemic without having these key positions filled especially where the epidemiologist is concerned and surveillance officer and the director of health services? It goes to show that while there was a plan Belize there was no plan to address the Ministry of Health within plan Belize and if there was one there was no plan to effect that plan. I don’t know where we go from here from the PSU perspective the best that we can do on the best that we will do is that we will have to aggressively initiate conversations with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Public Service to get these anomalies corrected and to get these posts filled with competent people rather than politically appointed individuals who might not have the competence as it relates to the communications director who I am yet to see give or address or improve communications within the Ministry of Health.“