And while the country’s health care system is under serious scrutiny, today, PlusNews got hold of the copy of a speech, delivered by the Deputy Director of Health Services and Chief Nursing Officer, Marjorie E. Parks. Parks who has served in a number of capacities within the health sector of Belize retired today. The speech was delivered in her capacity as one of the most senior public officers in the Ministry last week Friday at the National Nursing Conference in Corozal. Parks outlined a number of concerns she has had during the recent years of her term in office. The first is regarding a makeover in the system made in 2008. Parks states “The position of Principal Nursing Officer, the highest in the Nursing hierarchy in the Government Service, provides policy direction and guidance to the nursing profession. [However], this situation was changed in 2008 when almost all decisions for nursing and nurses were taken over by the political directorate at the Ministry of Health. Even the Nurses and Midwives Council of Belize, a statutory body, which since 1923, has been effectively regulating the practice of nurses was not immune to political intervention.” According to Parks, many nurses have since been deprived of benefits; she says, “For instance, the nurse who has been acting as the Registrar of the Nursing Council for over seven years has not been appointed to the post, neither has the RN who is carrying out the responsibility for Infection control at the Corozal Hospital been promoted to the post. In both instances the posts are vacant, the nurses qualified and recommendation has been made by their supervisors but these have not been forwarded to the Ministry of the Public Service for processing. Even the current succession plan for filling of the Deputy Director of Health Services and Chief Nursing Officer post, which is in line with the Revised Criteria for Appointment and Advancement in the Nursing Profession (Circular 6 of 2012) is being thwarted.” And lastly, she adds that Belize has not been represented at various nursing forum. Why? According to Parks it is because representatives were often times just simply prevented from being at important regional and international meetings, conferences and other forum, even when funding was available. And in a few instances, she claims, the Chief Nurse has had to take vacation leave to attend important official activities. Parks says there has been quite a lot of “unwarranted victimization” of the nurses. In attendance when her speech was delivered were Minister of Health, the Honorable Pablo Marin, CEO Dr. Peter Allen, Ms. Georgia Franklin who is the President of the Nurses Association, Executive Members of the Association, along with other nursing colleagues.