By Benjamin Flowers Staff Reporter
The Ministry of Health maintains that Danini Contreras, daughter of the Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras, will remain the Director of the Drug Inspectorate despite the Belize Pharmacy Association’s plea for her removal.
“What I want to do is for me to better control the drugs coming into the country, and that’s what I’m gonna do. I cannot change my plans for the benefit of a group,” Minister of Health, Hon. Pablo Marin, said on Monday.
With respect to Contreras’ qualification, Marin said that as the technical team in the Ministry of Health is concerned she is the only person qualified to fill the post.
Chief Executive Officer in the MOH, Dr. Peter Allen, said that with all due respect to the BPA, they should not be allowed to dictate to the Ministry who should or should not be the director.
Allen also said that it is common practice for the ministry to expedite the hiring process of health professionals if they possess skills that are highly in demand.
He added that Contreras’ six-month contract is to encourage her to remain in Belize and utilize her skills for the benefit of the country, while the ministry officially creates and allocates a budget for the Drug Inspectorate.
Last month the BPA raised the issue of Contreras’ appointment as Director of the Drug Inspectorate, saying that she not only lacked managerial experience, but also lacked basic work experience in general.
They also took issue with the fact that she is not a registered pharmacist, and that her appointment was done contrary to the procedures for hiring public officers as prescribed by the Public Service Commission.
The BPA issued a release on April 9 with a list of demands, including a call for the removal of Contreras from, and for a more qualified person to be given the position.
The Association has stated that since the ministry refused to respect the demands, the BPA will proceed with action under terms for the Settlement of Disputes in the Essential Services Act, Chapter 298 of the Laws of Belize.
The Association has not disclosed when it plans to take action.