An end to an investigation into the leaked 2016 Professional Nurses State Final Examination is reportedly being stymied by the absence of a key official. This disclosure was made by Senior Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, when questioned about the status of the investigation at his year-end press briefing.
It has been over a month since health officials turned the misdemeanour over to the Police Force for its attention and relevant action. Thus far no charges or arrests have been made and Minister Norton suspects the outcome of the investigation will be dependent on the return of the official in question.
The Minister said, yesterday, “My last communication with the police, verbally, is that they are still investigating…Actually one person is out of the country at the moment and that might be stymieing the process.”
But despite being virtually stalled, Minister Norton claimed that the investigation has thus far yielded daunting information that may not be too flattering to the Guyana Nursing Council. The Guyana Nursing Council is responsible for setting the State Final Examination which is taken by students of all of the country’s nursing schools – Georgetown School of Nursing, the Charles Roza School of Nursing, the New Amsterdam School of Nursing and the privately-operated St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.
Minister Norton claimed to be privy to information that among those involved in the criminal act, are individuals closely linked to the authority that is responsible for setting the examination.
At a press conference in early November, the Minister had revealed that thousands of dollars might have been earned from the illegality. He had disclosed then that he was hopeful that few persons were found culpable since they could be charged and brought before the court for judgement if the outcome of a police investigation found them guilty of leaking the examination.
The Minister had expressed hope that those found culpable should be treated accordingly and those who legitimately pass the examination should be allowed to maintain their results.
The 2016 State Final Examination was conducted on October 19 and October 20, 2016 and saw the participation of a total of 250 professional nursing students.
There were initial speculations that a re-sit of the examination would be required. Reports of this development had enraged a number of nursing students who had staged picketing exercises to retaliate the possibility of such a move.
But speaking about the matter towards the end of last month, Minister Norton said that although there were earlier talks about a re-sit of the examination, this decision was in fact premature. The decision was taken by a Committee within the Guyana Nursing Council and not by the Council itself, the Minister said.
“(The Committee) went ahead and made that decision without consulting the Nursing Council,” said Minister Norton. The outcome of a statutory meeting was slated to inform of the progress of the situation, he added.
However, the Minister said that even then, based on information that had been forthcoming from the Council there is not likely to be a re-sit of the examination.
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