KINGSTON, Jamaica, February 24, 2022 - Opposition Spokesperson on Youth and Sports, Senator Gabriela Morris, is expressing great disappointment with the Government's lacklustre response to the plight of the Jamaican students in Ukraine.
The Senator is urging the Government to utilize its diplomatic ties to ensure that the students are evacuated and brought to safety, even belatedly. She said, “this practice of leaving our citizens stranded when they face crises overseas has become a routine for this Government.
We recall the fishermen left stranded in a US immigration facility in 2020, as well as the Jamaican cruise ship workers left to languish at sea, also in 2020, while other countries went to the aid of their citizens. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs must try to redeem themselves by ensuring our students are brought to safety.”
Senator Morris added that the Jamaican Government could have done more to get the students to safety. “The safety of our students should be our highest priority at this time. Other countries are doing right by their citizens while the Jamaican Government chooses to pinch pennies in this life and death situation”, said the Senator. She continued, “these brave young people have chosen to leave their homeland and families in the hopes of attaining higher education.
Many of these students could not otherwise afford a tertiary education if not for the scholarships that they’ve been granted. Should they be punished by their country for being ambitious? Young people across Jamaica are taking note of the callous treatment the Government is meting out to our youth.”
The Opposition Spokesperson is hoping that the escalation of the situation in Ukraine will now prompt the Ministry to consider the students’ predicament and move swiftly to provide the aid needed to get them to safety by any means necessary. The Senator chided, “We cannot have any more blunders, now is not the time for a laissez-faire approach. We must explore all possible avenues to extract our students.”
Senator Morris also wishes to express sentiments of support to the students and their families. “We stand in solidarity with you and will continue to impress upon the Government to uphold its duty to protect its citizens at home and abroad.”
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness says every effort is being made to get the students out of Ukraine:
The Government is pursuing all avenues to safely evacuate Jamaican students residing in Ukraine, says Prime Minister, Andrew Holness.https://t.co/v4mkEmpQGK— Jamaica Observer (@JamaicaObserver) February 25, 2022