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JIS News

Four Jamaican students will have the opportunity to pursue medical degrees in Cuba this September, under the Jamaica/Cuba Bilateral Scholarship Programme.

Toni Ann Nelson, Janelle Tennant, Mikhail Burke and Oraine Lynch are this year’s recipients of full seven-year scholarships under the programme.

They were chosen from among 14 candidates following a rigorous selection process.

Speaking at the official presentation ceremony, held on June 7 at the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in Kingston, State Minister for Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Hon. Julian Robinson, thanked the Cuban Government for its continued “generous assistance” to Jamaica.

He implored the students “to never ever forget” that they are the beneficiaries of the sacrifice of many Cubans, pointing out that the value of a seven-year scholarship to each student is “probably over $20 million”.

He said that, with the benefit they have received, they have a responsibility to make a contribution to the society.

“That is the primary reason why the selection process is as rigorous as it is to ensure that those of you who benefit recognise the benefit and commit to coming back here to strengthen our society,” he said.

Cuban Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Yuri Gala Lopez,said that despite economic challenges, “the country is pleased to have kept the programme going.”

The Ambassador noted that currently, more than 29,000 young persons from 115 countries are studying in Cuba as part of the country’s scholarship programme.

“Of that total, close to 19,000 are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Over 55,000 youngsters from 134 countries have graduated in Cuban universities under the scholarship programme since its inception about four or five decades ago,” Ambassador Lopez said.

In the case of Jamaica, more than 200 Jamaican young people are studying in Cuban universities. Most of them are pursuing medicine, with about 70 slated to graduate in July.

Responding on behalf of the recipients, Miss Nelson, expressed gratitude for the assistance from the Cuban Government.

“At the end of our study, when we return, we will be able to positively contribute to the health care system of Jamaica, whether it be through volunteering, improving primary health care or going in remote areas and serving impoverished and immobile people,” she pledged.

The course of study will last for seven years, with the first year dedicated to the study of the Spanish language. The scholarship covers tuition, accommodation, meals, clothing allowance, study materials and medical care.

Jamaica/Cuba Bilateral Scholarship Programme is administered by the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in conjunction with the Scholarship Unit of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service.

Contact: Alecia Smith-Edwards