A recent bi-lateral philanthropic move saw Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Dr. Godwin Friday the Vincentian Opposition Leader partnering to help alleviate some of the immediate living resource needs of Vincentians currently studying in Jamaica.
The outreach project, we were told, was acted upon after Sujae Boswell – a Youth Advisor to the Government of Jamaica and Chancellor Hall Chairman at the UWI – interceded on the affected students’ behalf. In an exclusive interview Boswell explained, “it is understandably a difficult time for us all and it is important that we stand together in solidarity.
The Vincentian Student’s Association has been publicly advocating on behalf of their students and so I was moved to act.
“The impacts of COVID-19 have been profound. I noted, with great worry, the situation which Vincentian students are facing here and so I made requests of my contacts from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and we were able to secure support from Dr. Godwin Friday who jumped onboard without any hesitation. PM Holness also came onboard to support.”
The care packages were distributed via the Jamaican chapter of the Vincentian Students’ Association on Monday to, “all who needed.”
The NDP President and Prime Ministerial contender is exceptionally tight lipped about the donations. To date, the only public mention of this generosity is on the VINSAJA instagram page even as Dr. Friday proposed a fundraiser intended to further help the overseas-based students, live via Facebook stream early Monday evening.
Speaking with Colin Graham, host of the NDP Monday Night Live broadcast, Dr. Friday noted budgetary constraints for most students would mean making serious money management decisions so that their sparse resources may stretch further. He said, “I have a son who’s at university as well… you’re getting down to the end of the term, you hardly have money to buy groceries….
“If we can use this platform here to help raise funds – if that’s the only way to do it then naturally we should do so. I don’t believe in having the students there and they become pawns or part of some political drama. The thing is just get them home and if this platform can help, at least to raise the level of awareness about it but also to raise funds; other persons have talked about ways in which they would be willing to assist them, I would be quite willing to assist in that regard.”
The Northern Grenadines MP was mindful that he may just step on a few toes should the NDP roll out this proposal. He told viewers and subscribers, “the students would have to request that they want to do it and the parents – I don’t want to infringe on anybody’s rights or feelings or anything of that sort.
They want assistance and the students have called out for assistance, those in Cuba similarly, because they are running out of supplies and we should do all that we can to assist them. And I would like to able to be of assistance in that regard.”