First Doctor Manza and now C.E.O. Doctor Deysi Mendez. Today, word spread like wildfire that Doctor Mendez is no longer with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Last week, we had reported that there may have been some head bucking within the leadership of the ministry. Today that seems to have ended with Mendez being out. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Doctor Deysi Mendez is no longer the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Health and Wellness – that was confirmed by Prime Minister John Briceño this morning and continued to be the buzz of the day. Mendez is the second Chief Executive Officer of the Briceño administration to leave; Doctor Lesbia Guerra’s one-year contract with the Ministry of Natural Resources came to an end earlier this month. But was the writing also on the wall for Mendez?

Isani Cayetano

“Sir, the president of the Public Service Union has come out against you for purportedly limiting the C.E.O.’s ability to spend monies above three thousand, five hundred dollars without your express consent.  Can you speak to that in light of what the constitution says that she is in fact the chief accounting officer for the ministry?”

Michel Chebat, Minister of Health & Wellness [File: November 18th, 2021]

“Sure, this is not limiting, I don’t have the authority to limit her.  What is happening is, as you know, things are moving very quickly with COVID and we felt that it was important for us to just step back a little bit and assess what’s going on and to make sure that all of our resources are going in the right direction.  That is all it was.  I don’t have any legal authority to limit her or to constrain her.”

But the P.S.U. president claims otherwise, even going so far as to say the minister has “lost his way.” Dean Flowers told News Five that the C.E.O. is the chief accounting officer for a ministry, as guided by the constitution, and should not be restricted in any way, not even by the Minister.

Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union [File: November 16th, 2021]

 “I am in receipt of instructions from the Minister of Health, and I quote, to the C.E.O., dated November the fifth, in which he stated to the C.E.O., kindly note that as of today, fifth of November, 2021, no purchase orders, no invoices, no contracts, no agreements, no payments in excess of three thousand, five hundred dollars is to be made by you without my express prior consent.  We have a minister who has lost his way and who is not familiar with how the public sector runs and sadly, I would have expected that the C.E.O. would have responded to this and say to him, “Sir, the least you can do, man, da read the constitution man, read the legislation which makes me the accounting officer, and so with all due respect, you need to stick to what you do best.”

While it is not known whether this is what triggered the C.E.O. parting ways with the ministry, we are told that the relationship with the minister has been strained. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed the Ministry of Health and Wellness under the microscope and that may have compounded the issue. Duane Moody for News Five.

News Five reached out to Doctor Mendez today, but she declined an interview. We hope to speak with her soon.

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