Opposition Leader Mia Mottley has called on Minister of Education Ronald Jones to speak with more clarity on the issue of Cuban-trained doctors practising in Barbados.
Mottley made this call today in the House of Assembly while speaking on the Caribbean Accreditation Authority Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (Incorporation) Bill, 2016 which seeks to ensure that medical students and other health professionals are properly trained and qualified.
Expressing concern that after being trained in Cuba as medical doctors many Barbadians are not allowed to practise at home, the
St Michael North East MP argued that Barbados could not continue to send Barbadians to Cuba to receive excellent medical training and then prevent them from practising in here.
The Opposition Leader told fellow parliamentarians that the parents of the students have no clarity as to why these Cuban trained doctors could not practise medicine in the land of their birth.
She added that parents were questioning why lawmakers could not make it possible for their children to practise at home.
She cited a case where the niece of her chief canvasser attended medical school in Cuba but upon her return could not practise her profession in Barbados and therefore was forced to reside overseas.
“She went to Jamaica and practise in Clarendon and Spanish Town, but still could not come home to Barbados to practise her profession.
“Even when her aunt was not well she could not return to Barbados to practise. Luckily for her, she met and married a Mexican in Cuba and is now practising in Mexico.”
The St Michael North East MP contended that it could not be beyond the capacity of the legislature to get it right because Cuban-trained doctors had a competitive advantage over graduates who only knew medicine in English.
She argued that it was also cheaper to have medical students educated in Cuba than in Barbados because Government did not have to pay either the economic or the tuition costs.
According to Mottley, the Cubans have told policymakers in Barbados that this was one of the areas of endeavour they can help Barbados.
“We are lawmakers, let us get it right and if it is necessary to set up a small committee of parliamentarians, and if it is necessary to draft the legislation, a private members Bill and that is easier for Government, let us do it. [But] you cannot have 20 or 22 students studying medicine in Cuba who anticipate to return and practise medicine, but then have their hopes dashed.”