Well-known internist Dr. Fernando Cuellar has resigned from the KHMH Board, after having served only 47 days in the position.
Dr. Cuellar announced his resignation on Friday to the Board via their group chat. While he did not cite any reason for his decision, The Reporter received reports that the doctor was not satisfied with the recent changes made to the Board, including the recent appointees.
It is also noteworthy that Cuellar’s abrupt resignation follows recent comments made by Minister of Health and Wellness Hon. Michel Chebat. On Wednesday, while responding to questions regarding the reported shortages of medication and equipment at the national referral hospital, Chebat, who appears to have been placing the blame on the KHMH’s Board, said: “Listen, when you have a board, and a managing authority, they need to step up and take responsibility for the management of the hospital. And, that is where the responsibility lies. As far as we are concerned, the Ministry of Health and Wellness is doing all that it can to support them, and we will continue to do that.”
On Thursday, Cuellar, in an interview with 7News, took umbrage with the Minister’s words. “He said that the board and the management of KHMH should step up which implies that we have not been working or stepping up enough which is quite insulting, saddening, and down right not true,” Cuellar said.
Cuellar, continuing in the interview, likewise express his refusal to let the Minister’s comments slide. “So, I am disappointed that some of the board members are suggesting that we take it easy, but I am not like that. And I don’t mind resign today, tomorrow if that is what my actions and talking will lead to. But I am not tolerant of these nonsense.”
The Ministry, however, also stated via its official Facebook Page that it met on Friday with the KHMH “to improve healthcare for all Belizeans.” The MOHW’s statement added, “Hon. Michel Chebat and Dr. Julio Sabido met with Chairman Dr. Andre Sosa and Deputy Chair Arun Hotchandani of KHMH to discuss the way forward to better serve the healthcare needs of the Public. At the meeting MOHW put forth a proposal for the KHMH board’s review. We look forward to implementing these new measures with a view to streamline the SOP’s in MOHW and KHMH alike.“
It is not yet clear as to the exact reason for Cuellar’s sudden departure; however, it is noteworthy that this is yet another short-lived appointment under the Briceño Administration. Earlier this year, the administration also saw the sudden separation of Central Bank Governor Gustavo Manuel Vasquez, who only served for five months.
Cuellar’s appointment to the KHMH Board was announced via press release on Monday, September 27. The release, which also reported on the appointment of KHMH’s new Chief Executive Officer Mrs. Chandra Nisbet Cansino, read:
“We also take this opportunity to announce changes to the Board of Management. … two members have tendered their resignations. We thank Dr. David Hoy and Mr. Francois Chebat for their time, dedication and service while serving on the board. They have been replaced by Dr. Fernando Cuellar and Mrs. Daisy Codd.”