Home Letters What criteria was used to grant scholarship to the Minister’s child?
After news broke of aggregate payments of over $20 million to a sitting Minister’s child’s bank account, the Government, through Mr Joe Harmon, disclosed these payments to be for “scholarships” and no details were made available. Minister Broomes’ daughter is now a student of Howard University where she is reading for an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry and for all indications seems to be an educated young lady on the right path.
I make no hesitation to say as Guyanese citizens, Ministers’ children are entitled to scholarships just like any other citizen but there must be a clear policy on how these scholarships are awarded. This particular awardee is no stranger to the media and controversy. If I am allowed to make a conclusion, this particular awardee is already a millionaire in US$ term. According to Minister Broomes in her May 2016 Joint Press Conference with Raphel Trotman, she has relinquished all her mining concessions since she became a Minister and her daughter, who shares the same name with her, is wholly the owner SD # 1967 on Mining Permit H43/MP/000. Minister Broomes, when questioned by the media, also acknowledged that she had long-term mining interest with Australian-owned mining company, Pharsalus Gold Inc (Troy Resources Limited) but she turned it over to her daughter.
Government, in the interest of clarity and transparency, should come forward and tell the nation if there was a change in policy for granting of scholarships. Recent revelations in the absence of a clear policy in the awarding of scholarships to students seem to be very contentious, least of which are Ministers’ children.
What makes this more bizarre is the firing of an entire department at the Ministry of the Presidency because it is alleged that these persons leaked information to the Leader of the Opposition and the wider press. Having failed to gain the public sympathy and the plot backfiring, the Government then used journalist Gordon Moseley to cast doubt over the awarding of a scholarship to Jessica Anthony, daughter of Frank Anthony. We wait to see who will get fired for releasing information to Gordon Moseley; we wait to see whom David Hinds will label as moles of News Source.
Editor, in 2012 President Ramotar laid out a clear policy in which he said that the two top performers at CSEC and the two top performers at CAPE would be beneficiaries of Government scholarships to pursue studies at universities of their choice.
Editor, the fact that $20 million was transferred to the personal bank account of the daughter of a Minister is strange. I myself being a student that studied medicine in Cuba under a GoG scholarship know this is very unusual. In fact, one would have to ask Mr Harmon on what basis was a scholarship awarded to the younger Broomes. Was she a top student? Was the Government offering scholarship to Howard University in Biology and Chemistry and after reviewing the application and interviewing Ms Broomes she came out as the top candidate? If either of the cases is true then kudos to her but to use Ms Anthony as a foil is unscholarly. For the media to treat Miss Anthony’s award as news or some corrupt activity is quite shocking. As recent as December 16 during the consideration of the estimates, Mr Harmon after being questioned by Gail Teixeira released a list of students that were being funded by the GoG and Ms Anthony’s name never raised eyebrows. In fact, on that occasion, what raised eyebrows was the fact that the then Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine’s daughter was benefiting from a $2.58 million scholarship in the UK. What was also shocking was the fact that Minister Nicolette Henry and Minister Annette Ferguson were receiving $3.36 and $3.38 million each to pursue their studies in the United States and the UK respectively. In fact, the current Minister of Public Service, Tabitha Sarabo-Halley, had also received $3.4 million for studies in the UK.
Editor, the hustlers are not only hustling from the Government. It is now common knowledge in the medical community that just a mere three months after taking office a former Junior Minister of Health, Dr Karen Cummings, instead of securing a scholarship for our cadre of healthcare workers wrote PAHO/WHO requesting for them to pay for her PhD. Thank God Dr Adu-Krow rejected this offer.
It would be very interesting also for Minister Harmon to answer what criteria was used to grant those and whether they are now contractually bonded to serve the GoG. It would also be foolish to call on SARA and SOCU to investigate these transgressions since one of their own, Godfrey Bess, son of PNC executive Gary Bess, was the recipient of a scholarship for $3.5 million under the same circumstances. He happened to study Forensic Auditing and is now the head of investigation of the Public Procurement Commission.