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Westford silent on Guyanese Cuban Scholars

The Public Service Ministry which overlooks the Cuban Scholarship programme is still not saying what may the reason for Guyanese students studying in Cuba and those who have completed their studies not being allowed by the Guyanese authorities to leave the island even if they want to proceed home on vacation at their own expense.

Capitol News today contacted the Scholarship division of the Public Service Ministry and we were told that although that division handles the scholarship programme, it does not deal with travel arrangements for the students and situations like the ones the student are complaining about.

For a 2nd day running we were unable to reach the Minister of Public Service Dr Jennifer Westford despite repeated calls to her office. We left several messages also.

Today we tried too to reach the Guyana Ambassador to Cuba. She was in Guyana just last week for that Heads of Missions meeting. She has since checked out of her hotel here in Guyana but the protocol division at the foreign affairs ministry does not know whether she is still in the country. We called the Guyana embassy in Cuba repeatedly today and yesterday. The phone lines rang out.

Reports out of Cuba state that many of the Scholarship students have been gathering at the embassy over the past few days to get some information on why they are being blocked from leaving the country.

Students today told Capitol News that their passports have been held onto by the Universities that they are studying at. One student said they were informed by school officials there that the Guyana embassy in CUBA has asked that they not return the passports to them until further notice. That move effectively blocks them from leaving the country. Apparently students would usually have to lodge their passports with the respected faculties so they could be issued visas to return to Cuba.

Relatives of some of the students in Guyana are worried saying that the Ministry responsible for them has not been saying anything to them about the problem. USUALLY students would be allowed to leave the country at their own expense to proceed in vacation during the long august holidays. Students who would have completed studies should have been able to return to Guyana weeks ago after their final examinations.

There is a large number of Guyanese scholarship students studying in Cuba.

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