Tonight the People’s United Party (PUP) is saying that the health monitoring system in Belize has collapsed and that the Government has mis-spent resources over the last five months. It is quite an accusation against the Barrow administration and those at the forefront and behind the scenes at the Ministry of Health. The 2-page release reads, in part, quote, “Every week we heard about the many millions that would be available for health and programs to alleviate the many hardships present long before the pandemic, but now drastically worsened. So where are we, five months after we prepared for a first wave? The reality is this. We are faced with a disastrous second wave. Every day of testing has yielded numbers which are staggering for our small nation. With the first week of the spike in cases, our health monitoring system has for all intents and purposes collapsed. We are unable to muster the resources to continue adequate contact tracing – we must now ask persons who feel that they have been infected to call in.” End of quote.
The PUP goes on to say that in the country there are only six ventilators and that medical personnel are only now being trained to operate the machines amid this second wave. The release continues, in part, stating, quote, “ The Ministry of Health is scrambling to provide PPEs to front-line health personnel, and there are never enough. We have seen letters from these front-line persons describing how woefully inadequate their facilities are to deal with the pandemic. While there is little doubt that the government misspent the last five months instead of preparing for a second wave that we all knew was imminent, this is not the time for judgment. But it is time that we as a nation call for the government to get serious. While we hear the cries of our health care personnel and note the lack of resources, the brother of the Ministry of Works has gotten a nearly $2 million contract to build a tourism facility. That is irresponsible and ludicrous. If we do not get this situation under control, there will be no tourism industry in the foreseeable future. The greed and corruption of this government has nearly destroyed us. It cannot continue. The Government must bolster the human resources of the Ministry of Health, utilizing properly trained public officers to assist with effective mapping, contact tracing and monitoring. Health facilities countrywide must be properly equipped, and our personnel must be properly resourced. Every primary health facility across the country must operate an effective COVID-19 unit, and there must be strict rules, guidelines and protocols written in stone. Money must be prioritized where it can do the most national good, and not where it can be siphoned into the pockets of politicians. All this should have been done months ago but wasn’t. The government has not listened to sound advice and has refused to listen to those on the ground who know what is happening. Because of that, our health care system is falling apart even before the real battle starts. Imagine that at this critical stage, we are only testing symptomatic patients, while asymptomatic individuals can walk around and infect others, simply because our systems are overworked almost before the work starts.” End of quote. It is to be noted that the Leader of the Opposition, John Briceno was once a part of the National Oversight Committee which is responsible for making decisions of the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic. He exited the committee some months ago to give full attention to his political party and business.