Says Scholarship Recipients In a Bind.
LEADER of the Opposition, Dr. Gale Rigobert has accused the government of unleashing more enemy action against the people of Saint Lucia.
Echoing a refrain from her presentation in the House of Assembly during the 2015 /2016 debate on the Appropriaton Bill, Dr.Rigobert yesterday lamented that the government was failing the youth of this country in their educational pursuits. She said the SLP administration had failed to put a facility in place to support young Saint Lucian academics who have received partial scholarships, facilitated through the British Chambers of Commerce.
The Opposition Leader revealed that the students in question cannot secure loans for their room and board to attend university because of the stringent requirements of lending institutions, and the inability of many of them to provide the necessary collateral as security.
She asked: “What is the purpose of the government, when it serves as a deterrent to, and even frustrates the educational and human resource development of our people, which is a fundamental pillar on which any society is built?”
Dr.Rigobert also revealed that Dr. Anthony’s administration was providing no support to the students other than a letter endorsing the scholarship, which had no value in securing student loans. She continued: “Again, the SLP government is demonstrating categorically that it is anti-education, anti-youth, and anti-development, which can only be taken to be further enemy action against the country’s main resource — its people.”
She accused Minister for Youth Development and Sports Shawn Edward of complicity in the matter “as he has offered no solution to the young people”.
Dr.Rigobert called on the Prime Minister to invest in the education of our youth by implementing policies that would promote the development of our young, bright minds through university education so we can secure a better Saint Lucia for all of our citizens. She said this can happen if the Prime Minister, who is also Minister for Finance, “can create policies to facilitate students who have encountered hurdles in accessing finance to supplement partial scholarships”.
She proposed the creation of a financial facility by the government accompanied by the requisite “bonds” so students are obligated to give back to Saint Lucia and to repay the investment accordingly. “Naturally”, she said, “failure to honour the bond should also meet with the necessary penalties”.
Dr.Rigoibert said the government should not allow these students to languish here when they had already qualified for the partial scholarships. She implored the government to step in and lend assistance to the students who needed it most.