Nandranie Kissoon, the alleged mastermind of a massive fraud operated under cover of the Inter-American Nursing School, remained in police custody up to late yesterday afternoon and is expected to be levelled with a series of charges.
Kissoon yesterday refunded monies to some of the young students who were duped by the fake school. However, students explained that the woman only repaid those students whom she owed less than $20,000 and still has hundreds of thousands of dollars for many others. “Those of us who she owes large sums of money were told to wait until she dealt with the smaller cases and now we hear that she doesn’t have money to pay the rest of us,” an upset student, who declined to be named, told Stabroek News yesterday afternoon.
Approximately 40 students were standing in groups outside the Brickdam Police Station shortly after 4 pm yesterday. Some expressed anger while others, in a good-natured manner, just muttered that they wanted their money.
In an invited comment yesterday, Minister of Health Dr. Leslie Ramsammy told Stabroek News that prior to his appointment, Kissoon had paraded under the alias of Dr Nevita Basdeo the owner of a laboratory called Instant Lab; another fake establishment. After he was appointed as Minister, Ramsammy said, the Health Ministry began making enquiries about the laboratory and the woman left Guyana. A few years later, the minister said, she again surfaced. This time, she posed as a biomedical engineer, enquiries were again made about her activities and she disappeared.
The minister explained that students visited him yesterday and Monday to express their woes. He said he informed the students that there was nothing the Health Ministry could do. However, according to Ramsammy, the ministry will meet the students to discuss how they can apply for its nursing programme. Meanwhile, he has spoken to Minister of Labour Manzoor Nadir about some of the students gaining assistance through the Youth Empowerment Programme. Ramsammy said he learnt from the students that Kissoon claimed she had an “agreement” with three private hospitals and the Ministry of Health. Kissoon told the students that her nursing school was recognized in New Jersey, United States.
Stabroek News learnt from students that the woman also used the following names: Nalini Budram, Nikita Basdeo, Donna Gomes, Nanda Kissoon, Nandranie Drepaul, Bibi and Ms. Singh.
Based on students’ reports the school was established some time in early August last year and all the courses were expected to run for a six-month period. Many students said they learnt of the school via television and newspaper advertisements.
At a press conference last Saturday, Ramsammy had threatened to go to the police over the unaccredited nursing school. The school operated from a building at Cummings Street, Georgetown and not Alexander St and North Road as previously stated. He had described the school as “a skilful little operation” that is posing as legitimate and duping young people across the country.
The minister had stated that the Inter-American Nursing School falls outside the regulation of the Ministry of Health. No nursing school bearing the name of Inter-American Nursing School has ever been accredited by the Ministry of Health, he had said, therefore courses being offered at the institution cannot be recognised.
A number of students said they had paid for and done courses at the fake school, only to be turned away when they approached the Nursing School of Guyana with certificates that proved to be worthless. The qualifications are also not valid for entry into the programme at the University of Guyana. In the wake of a string of complaints, Ramsammy decided to go public.