Government’s intervention to assist the students at Washington University of Barbados (WUB) was necessary to avert a humanitarian crisis, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Sunday.
The mainly young Indian students were left stranded without food, electricity, water and money while chief executive officer of the St Philip-based institution Rao Venkata Gopi remains in custody facing multiple counts of fraud.
Gopi, who is currently on remand at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, is also wanted by the law back in his native India.
Mottley said the entire episode has left Barbados “with a bill to being able to ensure that we do not have a humanitarian crisis on our hands.”
The Prime Minister’s comments were made during an address the nation.
“Because these children who been left out to sea, and I call them children because in many instances they are 18, 19 and 20,” Prime Minister Mottley said.
“Young people, who are thousands of miles away from their home have at least to be treated like the human beings they are and to ensure that they’re given access to shelter and to food and to the basic necessities of life while we sort out what is to happen with them, whether to be transferred to existing schools nationally or whether to return home to their countries depending on their indicative preferences.”
Last week, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir Hilary Beckles said the scandal surrounding WUB, an unaccredited, private medical school that hasn’t lasted two years, is an embarrassment to higher education.
Sir Hilary said his heart goes out to the students.