Medical trainees from Cuba waiting for the ‘call’ from Minister Westford

Dear Editor,

We were required to abandon a world-renowned medical training ground and head to the homeland, but what for? Six years of medical training in Cuba have all boiled down to this most important year of internship in preparation for the July 2012 Medical Licensing Exam – but now what? Our Cuban and other international peers will all have begun their internship on August 29 in medical schools all throughout the socialist archipelago. Their medical knowledge will be consolidated and their practical skills will be perfected – but what about us?

What about the 20 Guyanese students who once made up that exceptional batch of future professionals? We are here breathing in the rubbish scented air and absorbing the growing political tension through our pores, while awaiting ‘the call‘ from Minister Jennifer Westford. This ‘call‘ is nothing more or less than a basic orientation as to our internship commencement date, rotation and location. Would she please delegate this responsibility to her next in command if her schedule is too eventful.

It is highly disrespectful of the authorities who are accountable in this matter to simply go into silent mode. We will not echo our disapproval of completing medical training in Guyana  published in our first letter a few months ago in your newspaper, but we will state that this lengthy wait where no information has been forthcoming is not conducive to the cementing of our medical knowledge.

Our medical licensing exam has been programmed for July 2012; the said exam will be sat on an identical day and and at the same hour as our fellows in Cuba. What is in no doubt is that the Cuban examination board will not postpone an exam to be taken by more than 10 000 Cuban and international future doctors just to accommodate 20 Guyanese who have begun their classes late.

We are extremely concerned about not completing all the objectives of our syllabus on time for July 2012. Independent study while waiting for ‘the call‘ is highly recommended, but is futile since the textbooks promised by our government have not yet appeared. Will Minister Westford please meet with us so we can carry on with our studies; we ask her to please show us some compassion and contact us asap. Out-of-town students will need to seek lodging, and supplies will need to be bought, expenses which must be covered by our families. This, we may mention seems to be a breach of contract, since we signed up for complete student housing and stipend until the conclusion of our medical training. We ask to be treated us as the adults and respectable Guyanese that we are. We want to learn in order to serve our beautiful Guyana.

Yours faithfully,
(Name and address provided)

Editor’s note
We are sending a copy of this letter to Minister Jennifer Westford for any comment she might wish to make.

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