SORDID TRIANGLE OF NEPOTISM: ERWIN, PABLO, DANINI

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In the Belize Times of January 10, 2020, in the Belly of the Beast column, funny business the “exploits of electrician Minister Pablo Marin and his wife Danini, the daughter of Pablo’s cabinet colleague Erwin” was dubbed as “one hell of a triangle…”

On March 4, 2014, Danini Contreras was appointed to a high-level post within the Ministry of Health as Director of Drug Inspectorate. Seemingly, this position was created for the soon to be the wife of Minister Pablo Marin sending a shockwave throughout the healthcare system.

In our 2020 Pandemic age, a letter has now surfaced awarding Danini Marin nee Contreras a huge jump on the salary pay scale. This has met the ire of many including public servants who were ridiculed by the outgoing Prime Minister Dean Barrow for not wanting to agree to pay cut unless waste in other areas was considered by the Barrow administration. The PSU was cognizant and empathise with the unfolding of the pandemic crisis and refused to be taken for a ride. Interestingly, the UDP Government was ready to give an increase to Danini to the tune of $42,259 per annum from pay scale 18-23. This was a slap in the face to the dedicated officers of GOB forced to a salary deduction in these dire times whilst the Barrow and vying to be Leader Elect Patrick Faber continued to sip on the powerful cocktail of corruption.

This hellish affair is rank with nepotism/corruption. In his book, The Pathology of Politics, Carl J Friedric defines corruption as “a kind of behaviour which deviates from the norm actually prevalent or believed to prevail in a given context, such as the political. It is deviant behaviour associated with a particular motivation, namely that of private gain at public expense.

But whether this was the motivation or not, it is the fact that private gain was secured at public expense that matters. “Importantly, he proffered that notwithstanding such private gain may be monetary, it also translates to other forms.” It may be a rapid promotion, an order, decorations, and the like, and the gain may not be personal, but benefitting a family or other group. The pattern of corruption may therefore be said to exist whenever a power holder who is charged with doing certain things, that is a responsible functionary or officeholder, is by monetary or other rewards, such as the expectation of a job in the future, induced to take actions which favour whoever provides the reward and thereby damage the group or organisation to which the functionary belongs more specifically the government.”

So in 2014, she held a Bachelor of Science degree she did not meet the requirements for the lofty office. At the time Ms. Contreras lacked the supervisory qualification to lead the Drug Inspectorate. Additionally, this post creation and the appointment violated the appropriate public service procedure. Danini was handsomely paid on a higher scale than the Chief Pharmacist a career worker for most of fifteen years. To many, this was a prime example of fragrant nepotism. Rumours floated in a flurry that with daughter/wife at the helm of the Drug Inspectorate a partnership between the trio to control the pharmaceutical market could be realised. However, a merger of the Drug Inspectorate and the pharmacy unit was needed. Danini would not solely be responsible for inspecting and monitoring the pharmaceuticals but would be empowered to source and engage procurement. CEO Dr. Peter Allen was called upon to seal the deal. A deadly conflict of interest erupting.

The time of UDP departure is nigh. This red regime will feel the rod of correction from an angry and frustrated electorate on November 11, 2020. Dehn got to go!! Hasta la Victoria!!