Sir Roy: Barbados must clear its name in Nigeria students saga

BRIDGETOWN – Government may have to do some damage control to clear Barbados’ name in light of the controversy surrounding the Nigeria Delta Youth Empowerment Programme.Senator Sir Roy Trotman made the suggestion yesterday as he urged Government to look to see how it could capitalise on heightened interest in education by foreign students and, at the same time, be wary of those with less than honourableintentions. “We have to be careful of any vultures that there might be in the surrounding landscapes,” he warned.

“There will be people who will try to take shortcuts and try to zero in on the wallets and would not have too much of a care regarding the level of bad effect that all of this might have on our publics. I therefore would like to urge that the rumourswhich there were surrounding the Nigerian experience, that those records, as much as can be done, are put clear and that we ensure that those persons when they come to Barbados are able to see Barbados as an example of business always being done in a transparent manner.”

Close to 90 Nigerian students arrived in Barbados last December under the programme to pursue a nine-month study course in tourism and agriculture studies at the Barbados Community College. The programme hit a snag almost immediately when a group of the students went public with complaints about poor accommodation, bad food and a lack of water at the Casa Grande Hotel in St Philip where they were staying. Another group of the students subsequently went to the media saying that the complaints were fabricated. Thirteen of the students were ordered back home but only five have so far left. There were also allegations that the funds for the programme were mismanaged.

Despite those troubles, Sir Roy contended that Barbados could capitalise on the interest of foreign students in this country’s education system. Although not going into details, he said he had been made aware a few weeks ago about interest in using Barbados as a centre for students from Nigeria to be educated.”That is but one of those areas where work of that sort can be done . . . Other countries are willing to capitalise on our educational infrastructure. The question really for us, is whether we are prepared to do so for ourselves,” Sir Roy probed. The veteran trade union leader said the BWU had also been approached by persons interested in using its facilities for training hundreds of people in the areas of aeronautics and avionics. (Adapted from Barbados Today).

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