The Prime Minister yesterday suggested to us that Health Minister Chebat should have worked some extra hours finessing the Dr. Manzanero affair.

Removing him from the apex position in the Ministry of Health hierarchy has unfolded as a public mess, haemorrhaging goodwill for the government with a public officer who became a well liked public figure during the first 9 months of the pandemic.

Yesterday the PM conceded it could and should have been handled differently:

Jules Vasquez, reporter
"The issue of Dr. Manzanero, maybe you haven't seen it - NTUCB issued a statement today. It's an issue that won't go away and I see you shaking your head in exhaustion and right that you should. Don't you marvel at how badly this has been mishandled? If DHS' has been disposed quietly in the past or transferred given the same salary - that sort of thing, isn't it saying something about the management style of your government or the minister of health and wellness that this one has been so badly mismanaged."

Hon. John Briceno - Prime Minister
"There is nothing to marvel about that and I wish that it would have been done differently. I wish we could have done it better. I don't think there was no need to a have a public fight. I believe that if we could have sat down from early on explain to Dr. Manzanero that we want to take a different approach to things. I think reasonable minds could have prevailed. But it did not happen and we have to learn from these. We are still a young government and we have to learn from this and to make sure it does not happen to us again."

Health Minister Disagrees With PM

So what does the health minister think of the prime minister's acknowledgment that the Dr Manza mater was indeed mishandled? He told us today that he respectfully disagrees. He also added that the NTUCB's recent show of support for Dr Manzanero is 13 years too late.

Hon Michel Chebat, Minister of Health
"I respect the view of our Prime Minister however I just want to clarify that everything I have done has been in accordance with the advice we've been receiving from the Ministry of the Public Service as well as the Attorney General's ministry."

"Today is day 10 for Dr Manza to respond to those accusations, has he responded?"

Hon Michel Chebat, Minister of Health
"I have not been to the Ministry so I'm not aware."

"And what do you think about the NTUCB's support for Dr Manza in this case?"

Hon Michel Chebat, Minister of Health
"I think they should have stepped up for the past 13 years for the mass amount of corruption that we saw, all of a sudden they're now stepping up but that's fine."

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