Maritime students say they feel abandoned by the government

Manager of the Antigua Port Authority, Darwin Telemaque (file photo)
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By Elesha George

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A group of Antiguan students who are enrolled at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) in Kingston, Jamaica, say they feel abandoned by the government.

The students were pursuing various degrees in logistics and maritime studies, as part of a scholarship programme funded by the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda.

However, Observer understands that because of outstanding debt over several years, some students have been unable to complete their studies and receive their degrees.

Correspondent, Cynthia Braithwaite told our newsroom that past students have been ‘blacklisted’, as they were not able to graduate from CMU or receive their degrees and that the present students have been barred from attending virtual classes and completing their courses since February, 8, 2021.

“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are just saying that we need to wait, but we understand that the debt has been ongoing for years and the school has rescinded our registration.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”, they said in a statement.

Port Manager Darwin Telemaque declined to comment on the matter, however Observer understands that the government is working to rectify the issues.

We also understand that some of these students may have been unable to complete their degrees because seafaring, which forms part of their course, has been stalled because of Covid-19.

Chairman of the Port Authority, Senator Mary Claire Hurst told Observer that some of the students are still in Jamaica while others have returned to the twin island.

Hurst says the government is supporting the students in Jamaica and have already paid half of the money owed.

“We recognise that there was an issue with us making the payment and we made recommendations to the government and in terms of paying we sent off 50 percent and we are in the process of sending the other 50,” she said. She also said that, to her knowledge, none of students had been prevented from attending classes.

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