The St. Lucian government held a fact-finding mission at Grambling State University September 27-28. The government is reviewing its relationship with this university.
The Government of St. Lucia and GSU’s Center for International Affairs Program, CIAP, has a five year agreement with the university that comes to an end this year.
The minister of social transformation, public service, human resource development youth, sports and parliamentary representative for Gros Islet constituency, Honorable Lenard Montoute; Permanent Secretary, Public Service and Human Resource representative Phillip Dalson composed a team.
The delegation was included Beverly Francis, training director and Baldwin Taylor, manager of Water Front Branch of Bank of St. Lucia.
The delegation met with St. Lucian students Monday in an effort to get their views on the university.
They also imparted information regarding bank loans and the procedures that should be taken.
The meeting was held without the presence of any officials from the CIAP office, a request the Gramblinite understands came from the visiting delegation.
Minister Lenard Montoute said there have been many reports from the students, some positive and some negative.
“It was important that we paid a visit to the school to meet with officials from CIAP, garner the views of the students and at the same time, tour the facility,” Montoute said.
He said that the decision to enter into another agreement with the university will be based on several factors, including all involved holding up their part of the agreement, students and administrators.
Montoute said while they are grateful for the alliance with the university, his administration is ensuring that the students are not taken advantage of “and at the end of the day they are receiving value for the money.”
Meantime, St. Lucian students who are sent to GSU to pursue higher education received the out of state waiver as well as financial support from the Government, through a revolving loan from the Bank of St. Lucia.
However, it was said that students who have pass through the program are putting the future of the program in jeopardy as they are not fulfilling their part of the agreement.
“While I am not absolutely certain of the figure, from approximately forty students who graduated last May, to this date, only four have been heard from,” Montoute said.
He added that he is remaining optimistic that the others will make contact with the bank as soon as possible to begin their repayment of the loan and fulfill their ‘bond agreement’ to the island.
Last semester, just over 400 St. Lucian students were enrolled at GSU.