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Just when we thought that things could not get any worse here in our fair State, they have. Seems, a number of our students at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) in Jamaica have been left  . . . er . . .  ‘high and dry,’ by this feckless and irresponsible administration. According to a story by our very own Elesha George in this past Friday’s DAILY OBSERVER, citing the students, “I feel abandoned by the Port and the government. We have been trying to get answers from the school, the port, the government, and nothing. They are just saying that we need to wait, but we understand that that debt has been ongoing for years and the school has rescinded our registration. I am feeling listless and just want to finish my degree, but I feel like no one is concerned for us.” Say what?  Who would’ve thunked it? Who could have imagined that an administration so full of itself, so pretentious and ‘poor boast,’ cannot pay its bills? Especially important bills like the tuition fees for our overseas students?

The exact amount that is owed is murky. According to Monday’s DAILY OBSERVER, the school is suggesting that it is something in the region of US$500,000, whilst our Prime Minister (PM) is saying that the figure is about US$60,000. Says the good PM, “Prior to that, I believe that we paid US$200,000. It’s improbable that we that we now owe US$500,000; perhaps a hyperbole.” Clearly, our government is quoting a significantly smaller figure, and it does not appear as though there is any sort of meeting to settle the differences and make some sort of arrangement so that our poor students do not have to languish abroad. Never mind that the PM has said that he is instructing his finance folks to pay US$60,000.

Of course, it’s abandonment of a particularly egregious sort, because it is our young people, far away from home in a strange land, unable to attend classes, unable to graduate, unable to complete that for which they went to Jamaica. They are desperate and scared, not knowing what the future holds, and unable to get even the common courtesy and decency of an explanation or answer from this prideful administration. What a shame! Even supporters of the administration are embarrassed by this new low. As are the students. It is so sad that it had to come down to this. No feedback from the Port Authority. No acknowledgement of their letter by the PM, he who can find copious amounts of time to engage in and respond to utter foolishness on social media. Sigh!

A correspondent by the name of Cynthia Brathwaite, possibly of Jamaican extraction, appeared on yesterday morning’s Observer AM (OBAM) to further air the plight of the students, and to appeal to the authorities to do right by them. She spoke rather ruefully of the lack of a positive response, so far, from those in high places. Which is rather surprising, what with this vain-glorious and loquacious administration, so utterly full of ‘mouthy-mouthy’ people.

Interestingly, the aforementioned correspondent said something that perhaps speaks to the nature of this administration. She said that notwithstanding their straightened circumstances, the students are AFRAID to go public and speak out against those in high places who are responsible for the predicament in which they now find themselves. Hmmmm! Talk about a climate of fear. It is something that we have come across rather frequently in this blessed land of ours – men and women of goodwill; good citizens who love this country dearly, afraid to say what’s on their minds. They are afraid of the bullying. And the harassment. And the vindictiveness.

What a thing! We have come to a fine pass when the people are afraid of their government. It is the most fundamental responsibility of a government – to respond to the needs of the citizenry, who ought not to be prevented from “Petitioning their government for redress of grievances.” According to Wikipedia, The right to petition government for redress of grievances is the right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one’s government, without fear of punishment or reprisals. The right can be traced back to the Bill of Rights 1689, the Petition of Right (1628), and the Magna Carta (1215).”

Help us, Lord! Help our students at CMU.

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