All of Guyana should speak out about the plight of the medical students
Stabroek News
September 21, 2001

Dear Editor,

I am deeply disheartened to learn of the plight of the University of Guyana School of Medicine and more so that of the innocent students, whose only crime is their inability to afford a proper education overseas.

It has always been appalling enough that the nation's brightest and most promising students have had to be subjected to merely basic medical training, but now the further marring of the school's standards by inappropriate `affairs' is absolutely unspeakable! All decent-minded Guyanese should strongly condemn the behaviour of those involved. Are these the role models we want for our upcoming doctors? Does the term `ethics' not mean anything in this land of ours? Will the Guyanese public just sit down and allow this abuse of power to continue? Where are the

intellectuals of our society now? Instead of engaging in political rhetoric why not speak up against this lawlessness?

These young people are the ones who will care for us in another couple of years and we, as a nation, have failed them. For years these students have been fighting for improved standards (facilities and lecturers) at the medical school. We are guilty of sitting by silently and tolerating the injustices thrown at them, and ultimately at us. "Why us?" you ask, and you should be ashamed for asking. These students are not fighting for themselves alone; they are fighting for a first-class education so that they can offer us, the Guyanese public, the best possible medical care.

The average Guyanese family cannot afford to go to a private hospital; the bulk of the society frequents the Public Hospital in Georgetown for medical care and are treated by our graduates. Why then does the average Guyanese man not care about what is transpiring in that school? The government and the University of Guyana have an obligation to the Guyanese public to deliver properly trained doctors and they cannot honour that responsibility when technical and human resources are seriously lacking in the medical school. It is up to us to put the pressure on.

Our scholars have decided to stay here and study so that they can serve their people. However, with the current state of affairs I fear the loss of our great minds. Our scholars are frustrated; their talents are being wasted. Can we afford to frustrate scholars the likes of Shailendra Sugrim, Anita Florendo, Michael Chin, Surendra Sugrim, Rita Gobin, Rotmid Ross, Mohalani Chatterdeo, Kamla Sanasi, Davina Jagdeo who are but a few in the medical school who have proven themselves as students par excellence in the past. I pray for a prompt resolution to the current impasse, but most of all I pray that our students can survive this and rise above it all in the end. I am a businessman with three children, the eldest being nine years old. In another few years she perhaps may be subjected to these injustices so I am begging all Guyana to speak out. The next move is yours, Guyana!

Yours faithfully

B Singh