Alex Parmelee fails to deliver ambulances to EMS program

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

On December of 2015 it was announced that San Pedro Town would soon be equipped with two ambulances that had been donated to the local medical facility. The initiative was part of an attempt to establish an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system spearheaded by EMS expert Alex Parmelee. He was tasked with bringing back the equipment and ambulances, but to date, Parmelee has not made it back to San Pedro.

Parmalee receiving ambulance

Parmalee receiving ambulance

In Issue 48, Volume 25 of The San Pedro Sun, a story titled ‘Ambulances donated to San Pedro Town,’ stated that one ambulance had already been acquired in Houston, Texas, USA and the other one was being donated by the New York Volunteer Fire Company. The ambulances were expected to be in San Pedro by early 2016. According to one of the EMS organizers, Parmelee was given $2,000US to facilitate the transport of the vehicles and equipment to Belize, and was to drive down or ship a 1994 Ford E-350, type III ambulance filled with medical equipment. But six months later, the EMS program is yet to start and Parmelee has cut communication with the project’s donors.48 San Pedro Emergency Medical Services aquire ambulance -3
In January 2016, The San Pedro Sun contacted Parmelee about the delay of the deliveries, and he responded that despite the tardiness all plans were as scheduled. “Currently collecting equipment in USA, lots of equipment will be heading to Belize soon,” he said.
A few months later, when The San Pedro Sun contacted him again about the project, he informed us that nothing was happening and that there were no funds available for the transfer of the ambulances and medical equipment to Belize. “A lot more work needs to be done if a sustainable program is to be in place. These are matters beyond my control,” said Parmelee. He had been asked by Belize Ministry of Health to start the EMS program on the island and with such recommendation it was not difficult to find potential donors who would assist him in getting the project on wheels.48 San Pedro Emergency Medical Services aquire ambulance -1
Dominick Walenczak, one of the donors of the program was the main person who made the effort to obtain the ambulances. Walenczak, a procurement officer began putting San Pedro in touch with medical organizations in the USA. However, his interest to help Ambergris Caye’s EMS’s program growth was thwarted after knowing the situation with Parmelee. “I am as disappointed as anyone else about the ambulance situation,” Walenczak told The San Pedro Sun. “I worked hard to secure some quality equipment for the people of Ambergris Caye.” He said that a local volunteer fire company in the USA generously donated their retired ambulance.
“We also got five state-of-the- art cardiac monitors/defibrillators, 12-lead machines, 20 plastic backboards, Stryker MX –Pro stretcher and Iron Duck Equipment bags. Up until early this year, they were the same kind used by my professional EMS service and are still in use by American Medical Response. Those cardiac monitors will reduce the death and disability of people suffering cardiac events, so it pains me to not see them in use yet,” he said. Walenczak stated that all equipment and medical donations were given to Parmelee, and he does not understand why he fell short.

Another donor playing a big part in the program was Four Diamonds Security Company. Four Diamonds provided Parmelee with the necessary funds to transport the ambulances and equipment to Belize. A representative from the company explained that once the ambulances were in the country no other expenses would be necessary. The barge company supplying the island with freight to and from Belize City, was willing to transport the medical vehicle and equipment at no cost. They are also very disappointed by Parmelee’s failure to do his part.
In the meantime, legal action will be sought in order to solve the situation and keep the program on its path. Four Diamonds have teamed up with other donors on the island who are determined to see the program become a reality. They believe it is vital for the island in times of emergencies, and by all means it should not fade away. In the upcoming weeks, the new management team taking over the project will be introduced and The San Pedro Sun will update the general public on its development.


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