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GUYANA | Concern over Govt's withdrawal of student from Cuban Med Program

  • Written by Wiredja.com- Calvin G. Brown
  • Published in Health
Featured Cuba's Institute of Endocrinilogy Cuba's Institute of Endocrinilogy
MONTEGO BAY,  October 30, 2020 - An aspiring 36 year old endocrinologist  from Essequibo Island, West Demerara, Guyana, is not certain he will be able to graduate in the next three months from the Cuban Institute where he is completing  post-graduate studies in endocrinology. Guyana’s new PPP governmnent has cancelled his full scholarship to Havana's world famous National Institute of Endocrinology and ordered that he be sent home.

Having graduated with honours from a Cuban medical programme in 2014, the young Afro-Guyanese doctor having done his internship in Georgetown, decided to pursue a Masters in endocrinology.  He is pursuing a rare specialty in medicine where they study the hormones that control our temperature, sleep, mood, stress, growth and more. An endocrinologist treats diseases related to problems with hormones which is the chemical messenger that travels from one cell to another.

There are no endocrinologists in Guyana, and in 2018, the proud, aspiring specialist who lost both his parents while doing his undergraduate work during his first stint in Cuba, was given a scholarship by the David Granger administration to go back to Cuba to undertake the Masters programme in endocrinology. He is scheduled to graduate in February 2021 when he will be Guyana’s only doctor with a specialty in that discipline.

Halim Majeed
Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba Halim Majeed

However, the young Guyanese, who while pursuing his passion in Cuba, experienced the tragedy of losing his grandmother in addition to other destabilizing personal upheavals, was again in for another debilitating shocker:  He was advised by Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba Halim Majeed,  that he had twenty six days to leave Cuba, as Public Service Minister Sonia Parag, had instructed that he be “prohibited from graduating in his field of study.”

She also asked that the ambassador engage the relevant authorities, to cancel his student visa and expel him from Cuba.

Staff of Institute of Endocrinology 460
Members of the faculty of Cuba’s distinguished Institute of Endicronology

When contacted the Guyanese national confirmed that he had been given a limited time to remain in Cuba, as he was informed by that country’s foreign affairs ministry, MinRex, that they have been instructed by Guyana’s ambassador that he must not be allowed to complete the programme.

Questioned as to the reason why the Guyana Government has taken such a stance, the doctor whose name is being withheld at this time, said the Irfaan Ali administration has alleged that in a Facebook Live video last week, he expressed frustration about the hundreds of black public servants who were being unjustifiably fired for no reason. Among them was a relative.

He expressed the view that as a young, black professional there was very little hope for him, and others like him, in Guyana.

The young doctor however vehemently denied a claim by Guyana's Ambassador Majeed that in a Facebook post, he had urged Guyanese to 'burn the country down'. This claim he said was patently false, erroneous and unsubstantiated, as he would never promote any such violence or divisive action in his country.

He pointed out that at no time did the government of Guyana grant him due process. "No one has ever checked with me to state if any accusation made against me is true or false. I was not granted a hearing. What is being played out here is a violation of my constitutional and democratic rights. It validates my concerns about how  this government treats certain people. It appears that they believe people like me have no rights and that we must control our speech in or outside of Guyana. This is a grave injustice and I want it corrected," he said.

In the meantime, the young doctor says he continues to use 'moral suasion' to woo the Guyanese government in the hope that they will review their decision, as he is a superior student whose skill would be beneficial to the Guyanese medical system.

His case is being watched by a number of human rights organizations, including the  New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy, which has condemned the move by the “government of Guyana to take away the education of an African Guyanese medical doctor who is on a post-graduate scholarship in Cuba.”

The doctor’s case is also being observed by the Opposition APNU/AFC coalition under whose aegis he was sent to Cuba to pursue a post-graduate degree in endocrinology.

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Last modified onMonday, 02 November 2020 08:49
  • Countries: Guyana