OF AIMU AND DR. RAJ
of Kumar and Paule. These and the other similar equivocations obliged one to lose all confidence in the testimony of Dr. Raj.
A CNN clip presented on the show minced no words in placing Dr. Raj at the center of a scandal involving the stifling of the academic dreams of a young Indian woman bent on medical aspirations, at the hands of AIMU. During a brief stint in St. Lucia she became quickly disillusioned by how far the institution had fallen short of its online promises. Back in India, she complained to reporters of the lack of basic facilities, stating: “They told me they had laboratories and a library. The library did not have a single book and the labs were not working.”
An interesting unfolding in the interview was Raj’s corroboration that an unnamed man who came into St. Lucia as a dependent of a female student of AIMU was one of the individuals charged in the fraudulence of the Lambirds Academy. Expectedly, Dr. Raj denied any association with the stated individual and blamed Kumar and Paule for that individual’s association with AIMU.
Another highlight of the show was the disclosure by Dr. Raj, upon questioning, that our current Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony was at one time in the employ of AIMU (ironically as a lecturer on “legal ethics”). This was later supplemented by the display of a listing of the AIMU faculty containing the name of the Prime Minister (under the title of “Extraordinary Professor”). The question which came to the fore in the mind of most viewers was undoubtedly whether he was employed in the stated capacity while Leader of the Opposition or as Prime Minister. But this would be beside the point for, as Leader of the Opposition or Prime Minister, I cannot help but muse upon why a figure of Dr. Anthony’s intellect and political influence could have been persuaded into such a shady situation. It intimates of a certain amount of negligence and possible “willful blindness.” Doubtless our prime minister will clear the fog of doubt and suspicion.
The announcement by a caller that St. Lucian students had received government scholarships to study at AIMU was another jaw-dropping moment on the show. If this is indeed true, it may be as good a place as any to start investigating the government’s possible involvement in or facilitation of the AIMU scandal.
Yet another issue, which produced more questions than answers, was that of accreditation which Dr. Raj, with the backing of Mr. Wayne, identified as an issue affecting medical schools across the Caribbean. However, one did not leave the show with a clear understanding of the accreditation status of AIMU, with Dr. Raj calling the accreditation process complicated (and perhaps rightfully so). Be that as it may, the strange case of AIMU and Dr. Raj appears to go way beyond accreditation and seems ensconced in the zone of fraudulence. With allegations of human trafficking, money laundering, fraud, dubious accreditation and wholesale corruption in the air, the value of the certificates conferred by AIMU is an unnerving issue in itself. It is profoundly demoralizing that one would invest five years of time and money in an education to be garlanded in the end by a document worth no more than the paper on which it is printed.
One caller invoked the constitutional reform as a way out of our predicament (of which the AIMU and Lambirds scandals are but instantiations). Though the caller sounded refreshingly informed, it appears to me that the term “constitutional reform” has degenerated into a quasiintellectual catchphrase and apparent panacea of our various ailments.
Constitutional reform means very little if St. Lucian citizens are not ready to challenge conspicuous violations of the existing constitution. What is the Grynberg Affair but a flagrant assault on the constitution?— an event that the population seemed more devoted to forget than address. That such an event as the AIMU controversy could have been unfolding for so long without as much as a squeak required more than the shortcomings of the constitution or the prowess of the AIMU administration. It necessitated the tacit (and perhaps explicit) endorsement of the entire governmental apparatus (fattened into complacency by decades of remarkable tolerance on the part of the St. Lucian public).
Furthermore, the fact that only two police officers were assigned to the investigation of the Lambirds case raises the question of whether it is not a ploy on the part of government officials to stall the investigations of the scandal, with the tenable consequence that the student witnesses depart and the Lambirds affair join the motley crew of vaguely remembered strange happenings on the island of St. Lucia.
The reader need not be swayed to divine in the Lambirds and AIMU scandals—far from isolated events—trademark symptoms of an admixture of systemic incompetence, negligence and corruption. One caller asked perhaps the most consequential question of the night: what will be the finale of the Lambirds and AIMU scandals? Will it be the usual talk followed by amnesia? Or will we give up the sheepish docility and boundless tolerance for the cluelessness and unscrupulousness which masquerades as governance in this country?