Thursday, February 25, 2010

Allowances problem for SI students in Cuba

Hello again,

I wish to comment briefly on the above item which was highlighted in the media recently.

I understand and do acknowledge that sending money to Cuba, a communist country isolated and economically barred by some of the capitalist giants of the world, is difficult and hence the delay. But what took the authorities so long to react?

 I am really surprised to hear that after almost a year without allowances responsible authorities have only recently started to take the matter seriously. As reported, the students have not received any form of allowances from the government since June 2009. My question is; why does it have to take the responsible authorities seven solid months before they can be serious about addressing the issue?

According to media reports, it was only recently that serious formal high level arrangements were initiated between the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to identify the best possible ways to send the money to our students in Cuba. Why have you taken the issue so lightly? I am sure that the authorities will say that they are taking the matter seriously. But it was only after the students threatened to boycott their exams that they were shaken.

Regardless, for such an important issue which involves the lives of Solomon Islanders, seven months is just too long a time for it to be properly addressed and resolved. I see this as grossly unacceptable and a total ignorance of duty by relevant authorities.

I would have thought that such arrangements, such as the means of paying the students allowances, would have been high in the agenda when the deal was sought and made between SIG and the Cuban government to initiate such a programme. However, it is now clear that these vital issues may have never been part of the discussion, or if they do, have been greatly understated and underestimated.

I only hope that the issue does not prevail over the years and is sorted once and for all so that in the future our students will not have to worry about such issues that are outside of their academic responsibilities.

And as sad and frustrating the issue can be, the lessons learnt from it must not be taken lightly. The government must tread carefully in the future when making deals with foreign countries, especially those known to be hostile to the Western world. And when entering into bilateral contracts with other countries, especially when dealing with training such as the case of our students in Cuba, all dimensions of the case at hand must be taken into consideration. For a good deal is not only measured by its economic merits but also its moral and social values.


  1. Deh,

    You have raised an important issue concerning the fate of our medical students studying in Cuba. As you stated and i do agree it is difficult to send money to our students in Cuba because of the sanctions being impose by the Western countries.The Under Secretary for the Ministry of Health and Medical Service,Dr Cedric Alipendava, in an interview with Onenews ( see Tuesday 23rd February 2010)acknowledge the difficulty of getting the allowances to the students and at one point took money with him ( travellers cheque). Also we must not forget the deal that we had with Iran to meet the allowance of our students which cause an uproar with Australia and even backlash in the Solomon Islands.
    In my view, the main question is how. That is how can the government through the relavant authorities ( MEHRD, MFA and MHMS)work out ways in which they could facilitate the arrangement of getting the student allowances on time so as not to affect their academic studies. We have seen the difficulty that the government is facing to send the allowance to the students and as you stated and question, why took them seven months to deal seriously with the issue. I think the authorities are still working on 'how' to address the problem.
    However, if it is not for the students
    'boycott' or intended boycott of their classes, i think the responsible authorities would not react like they did now.By the way, i hope the government through the MEHRD, MHMS and MFA address the issue so that our students can continue with their studies and feel that they have not being ignored by the government.

  2. It was the question of how that took them almost an year to address. What tumas...and its ironic that after the students have threatened to boycott their classes it seems that a solution has been sought by MHMS and MFA...and by next weeks the students will now be able to receive their allowances. SO a problem which took them 7 months to resolve only took them a few days to find a solution for, that is after some pushing and pressure. So hem meanim full time ia ota no mekem any serious effort for doim noma ia...tumas na

    But no wari bro...ota new Scholarships for go school lo Iran kolsap come up na ia mekem iumi tufala apply for go school lo there....hehehhe..

    cheers bro