The Ministry of Health has been left to try to clear up a mess created by an NGO, which by all appearance, is trying to run a hustle with two ambulances which were presumably donated to Belize to be specifically be deployed to Dangriga.
According to the information received by the Guardian Newspaper, an organization, operating out of the city of Chicago, Illinois in the United States, secured and handed over two ambulances to the Ministry of Health. When it was time to get the ambulances into the county, the organization reportedly explained that it would cost $16,800 to have them shipped to Belize.
The Ministry of Health enlisted the assistance of the Government of Belize and BNE Trust fund which, through its own channels, found a shipping company to get the ambulances into the country at a price tag of $10,600. That's a difference of $6,200 and any NGO with sincere intentions would have immediately jumped at the offer; however, the Ministry is now faced with a situation where the NGO is simply refusing to release the ambulances unless it is shipped through their agent. The Ministry is holding strong, however, and will not pay the $6,200 in excess of what the vehicles can be brought in for and a standoff has developed.
Listening to the People's United Party at the House of Representatives, they are trying to lead the county into believing that something had gone wrong with the acquisition of the ambulances and that the Government is not interested. The truth of the matter is that this Government will simply not overpay for services which can be gotten at cheaper prices.
That is the way that the PUP operates not the UDP!
AMBULANCE DONORS SAY NO RACKET GOING ON
In response to the ongoing discussion/debate about the transfer of two donated ambulances to Belize, the following letter was sent to me by the advisers of the All People Foundation which donated the two ambulances for use in the southern part of Belize. I post the letter verbatim.
Dear Mr. Jones,
This letter is in response to the Health Minister insinuating on the floor of parliament that mischief was going on on the part of All People Foundation in Chicago with regards to the donation of the ambulances for Southern Belize.
My name is Joseph Guerrero, I am the Director of Health Affairs and Director of Arts and Entertainment for United Garifuna Association, UGA. We act in the capacity of advisors to All People Foundation in Chicago. We are two separate organizations which want to see progress in Southern Belize and so we cooperate on an extraordinary level to see progress happen in Southern Belize.
The issue was raised by the Representative from Dangriga that the ambulances kindly donated by All People Foundation, have not yet arrived in Belize. The Minister of Health in response insinuated that there was some kind of mischief amist by All People Foundation. It is my understanding that the Guardian also hinted at such.
Here are the facts. All People Foundation have generously donated two much needed ambulances to Belize for use in the South. More specifically, to be used in Dangriga and PG. Written agreements were entered into between All People Foundation and the donor from the state of Illinois. The agreement states specifically that these ambulances will serve in the south of Belize. Then we can see it is the responsibility of All People Foundation to see this through to fruition.
It can be clearly recalled that recently to great fanfare the Ministry of Health boasted they had acquired an ambulance from the US for $60,000. Whether this is in USD or BZD is not certain at this point. All People Foundation want to contribute to Belize two(2) Ambulances to Belize and are asking for assistance to the tune of $16,000 approximately. This includes medical supplies and stretchers supplied in each ambulance paid for by All People Foundation members. For Belize to purchase two ambulances based on the Ministry of Health standard, it would cost $120,000 Dollars plus the cost of all the medical supplies there in. The value of which approaches another $20.000. When anyone looks at this they can immediately see Belize is saving approximately $124,000 Dollars. Is it to be understood the Ministry of Health is opposed to saving $124,000 Dollars for two ambulances which they will have to purchase in any event? Did the Minister of Health of Belize really think he was making sense on the floor of Parliament? Basically his point is they hesitate to bring the ambulances to Belize because they think they are being hustled. Everyone will see the ludicrousness in this line of non reasoning and nonsense.
All People Foundation is correct to ensure that when these ambulances arrive in Belize, that they serve the communities they are contractually bounded to serve. All People Foundation and all of Belize are well aware of the potential for misuse by political cronies of donated items to Belize. That is not stated to accuse anyone of anything. So, in ensuring proper shipping, delivery and use of the donated ambulances, yes All People Foundation have a right to plan and execute delivery which will ensure this based on their values. If ensuring proper shipping, delivery and use of these ambulances in their plan will cost $16,000 then lets give them that leeway and stop all the accusations and insinuations and get busy with progressing our nation one and all.
Lastly, All People Foundation and United Garifuna Association and other organizations in the Belizean Diaspora represent a new kind of thinking. One, we are holding our representatives accountable. Two we say to the entire nation of Belize lets progress by using the strength of the Belizeans living in Diaspora. Lets harness their incredible abilities and training and use it for the better of Belize and let the day of the Hustling and Embezzling politicians go the way of the dinosaur, extinct!
Director of Health Affairs
Director of Arts & Entertainment
United Garifuna Association