The special guest was controversially-appointed Inspector of the Drug Inspectorate Danini Contreras, who remains at her post despite repeated efforts by the Pharmacy Association and others to have the Ministry respect protocol and the work of other deserving persons.
PAHO officials appeared annoyed that the press assembled at the Wittfield Tower compound which also hosts the Chamber of Commerce and the Prime Minister’s Office because apparently, as they confirmed via telephone, the event was not open to the press corps.
Additionally, because of a separate policy by the owners of the premises, except without prior permission, no interviews can be conducted on the compound, thus ensuring that the press in this instance could not get close to Ms. Contreras.
Nevertheless, our camera lenses caught her going in. It is another example of the special treatment afforded to the daughter of the Minister of Trade Erwin Contreras, who has been shielded at every turn from press scrutiny, not to mention others.
The training workshop held today, as we were told, was on quality of pharmaceuticals, which according to the president of the Public Service Union Marvin Blades, is the Chief Pharmacist’s area of expertise, and yet, she was not allowed to participate in this workshop.
“We know that the Chief Pharmacist is to deal with such matter or to deal with such training because she is the head of that section and she is the person that would deal with it”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “Yes Sir, and as I understand that Miss Danini Contreras was a part of that training workshop also”.
Marvin Blades: “Exactly. In fact, the reason why she is a part of it because those were the two names that the CEO gave the facilitators. They did not give the Chief Pharmacist the opportunity, even though the DHS (Director of Health Services gave the approval that the Chief Pharmacist should have headed it”.
Documentation in Plusnews’ possession reveals that in the early weeks of May, Chief Pharmacist Sharon Anderson was a part of the initial process and was the technical person in direct communication with PAHO. However a directive reportedly came from the CEO telling PAHO to directly bypass the technical person. It is not normal protocol for PAHO, but somehow they apparently complied.
Marvin Blades: “We believe that just another malicious attack on the Chief Pharmacist from the very CEO who keeps coming on the media and talks all nice, and tend to, in most cases, victimize our member and the Union is and cannot stand for it anymore”.
In a news article published on Friday, May 30th, PSU president Marvin Blades told the Amandala that they had written a letter to the Minister of Labour Godwin Hulse on the matter concerning the controversial appointment of Danini Contreras as the Director of the Drug Inspectorate.
According to the mentioned newspaper, PSU was told that no dispute exists between workers and employers, within the ambit of the law, which could be settled under the Settlement of Disputes in Essential Service Act, Chapter 298 of the Laws of Belize.
Marvin Blades: “We had clarified that clearly over correspondence to him, because the Act clearly states that the dispute can be between employers and employees or employers and trade Union in regards to any dispute that deals with the term and condition of any person or worker. So, the person I am referring to is Miss Danini’s term or employment into the self which disrupts the entire service in regards to the Pharmacy and the hierarchy or upward mobility”.
Marvin Blades: “For the minister must deal in dispute with 21 days, as he has addressed it in some shape or form, amicably, within 21 days before we take it to a tribunal for it to be resolved. So, it is part of that and we are sticking to that that it has to be done, that he has to address it within 21 days, it is also in the regulations.. If he does no address it within those 21 days, then we reserve the right as the right of Unions and our members to take it to the next level which will be engage in industrial action”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “Sir, are you now, members ready to take this step”.
What I can tell you from the onset when we had spoken to our membership from when we met with them in the initial phase of when Miss Delano was hired, they have given their commitment that they are willing to take it all the way. It is just to get back to them, and to see what is the final word because as part of a Union, we have to consult with our membership”>
The Public Service Union meets with their council on Friday to discuss the way forward.