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The fate of Dr. Manza in the Ministry of Health

Dr. Marvin Manzanero’s role in the Department of Health Services remains in limbo as an official move or transfer is yet to be made. Dr. Manzanero was on the forefront of Belize’s health sector for many months, fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic. Now having tested positive himself, many are left wondering what the future holds for the doctor. Meanwhile, Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa has been named the new acting Director of Health Services. Today, Prime Minister John Briceno spoke warmly about Dr. Musa and how he gives his full support for the appointment.

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We have to look at what our options and I think the Minister of Health will probably inform us more sooner than later what will be the plans but what I can tell you that Dr.Melissa Diaz is one of the best doctors, she has been out in the front lines in the testing and doing everything possible to try to curb the spread of the virus. So should the minister decide that he wants to appoint Dr.Melissa Diaz he would have my full support I have great respects for her, I admire the work that she has done, the determination and the love for her work and this is what we need right now people that are determined, people that are fearless, people that love what they do and love the work that they’re doing and that is how we’re going to get through.”

Minister of Infrastructure, Development, and Housing, Honourable Julius Espat also gave a comment on the situation.

Hon. Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure, Development and Housing: ” I’ve learned one thing with the experience in politics, I don’t interfere in the decisions of other people’s ministry if I have no information and I know as much as you do. That he’s sick that’s a fact so that’s why he’s being replaced temporarily that he will not be renewed his contract that’s a decision by the minister and I will have to respect that.”

It is interesting to note that Dr. Musa is the sister-in-law of Minister Kareem Musa. The PUP administration has seen accusations of nepotism within its appointments, Minister Espat however, had a different view.

Hon. Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure, Development and Housing: “Everything is based on that concept of nepotism. If you study nepotism it has different layers of relatives that are allowed or not allowed to participate in government. I think there are three or four layers and the furthest it goes is first cousin I believe and it has to do with a minister not being able to give any contract to a close relative I think it’s up to first cousin but it doesn’t make any specific reference to another minister giving somebody else’s relative a position. You have to understand in Belize to a certain extent our talent pool is limited our population is small, so I’m not justifying whatever you’re asking me to justify but if you look at the definition of nepotism then you would have your parameters in which you are allowed to work and I believe up to this point we’re working along those parameters as far as I can understand. Now, hiring your brother, or hiring your wife or son is a direct conflict of interest that yes.”

Reporter: So the appointment of Anthony Malh er’s wife, the appointment of Eamon Courtenay’s wife on the BTL board, the appointment of Dr.Musa as acting DHS which is the sister-in-law to Kareem Musa you’re saying that there’s nothing —

Hon. Julius Espat, Minister of Infrastructure, Development and Housing: “I’m saying they’re not falling under their specific ministries. If those boards would fall under their ministries then I would raise my voice and say  we have a major problem but they’re not falling under the ministries and these people are not the family of the Prime Minister they are family members of a minister from another ministry.”