As Registrar of The University of Guyana, I wish to respond to and clarify a number of issues initially raised in a published article entitled, ‘Guyanese robbed of opportunity to study at Leeds University’ dated September 1, 2017 which was recently recirculated in various social media outlets during the period commencing September 14, 2017 and subjected to comments in letters to the editor, specifically in the Kaieteur News of September 17, 2017.
It is indeed unfortunate that the university administration was not approached by the Guyana Times or the Kaieteur News, to clarify some of the allegations and conclusions arrived at in the article or letter prior to publication. In this regard, it behooves me to provide both context and the facts in the referenced matter. Ever since my appointment as Registrar of the University of Guyana in 2015, the Registry adopted as its mission “Transforming the Registry into a student focused and student friendly environment”. In this regard, there was the commencement of the provision of service to the general public and students between 7:00 h and 19:00 h Monday to Friday, and 8:30 h to noon on Saturdays. Additionally, applications for transcripts are duly processed, verified and dispatched within a 48-hour period in accordance with receipt of full information and prescribed payments.
For some strange reason, after a complete year, the article has re-appeared, with some publishing opinions, not consistent with the facts and without the benefit of total information. Allow me the opportunity therefore to provide some background and factual context on this matter as follows:
- At 11:40 h on Monday, September 11, 2017, I received an email from former student, Renita Chanderballi, seeking, inter alia, my “urgent assistance” in transmitting a transcript that was requested less than a week ago (September 6, 2017) to be sent to Leeds University.
- At 6:20 h on September 12, 2017, I acknowledged the email of the previous day and promised Ms Chanderballi that I will “…ascertain the facts in the matter…” and revert to her later that same day.
- On September 12, 2017 at 17:46 h, the Assistant Registrar for Examinations dispatched an email to Ms Chanderballi advising her, inter alia, “…that the transcript was uplifted by FedEx today…” and further suggested that she should track the delivery with the tracking number which she had in her possession.
- Ms Chanderballi immediately acknowledged receipt of the email from the Assistant Registrar for Examinations and conveyed her thanks “… for the quick response today and for preparing my transcript free of cost… and that it was much appreciated…”
It is indeed unfortunate and perhaps injudicious that, for reasons best known to them, some media operatives came to conclusions and passed judgement, without the benefit of the facts. Indeed, it has been established that contrary to erroneous reporting as specifically reflected in a letter written by Mr Freddie Kissoon and published in the Kaieteur News on September 17, 2017; the student is currently attending Leeds University and we wish our alumna, as we wish all other alumni the best. We are happy to have been able to provide her the foundation for getting into Leeds.
In this regard, it is my considered opinion that given the recent facts in this matter, there should be a full retraction and unqualified apology by all media houses that recently published unsubstantiated articles and letters on this matter in their respective newspapers without the benefit of complete information. Indeed, the university administration has not been informed by either Leeds University or Ms Chanderballi that there has been any negative impact on her scholarship.
Finally, it is my respectful view that while the public has a right to information, there must be a corresponding duty to be responsible by the provision of information that is informed by the best evidence in which there is little or no element of self-interest, lack of information and bias.
C Nigel Gravesande
The University of Guyana