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Hon Ralph T. O’Neal wants more ‘help’ for students studying abroad

Opposition Leader Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE (right) has expressed serious concern about the hardships being faced by local students studying oversea. At the time Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (2nd from right) had spoken of the need to prepare persons for certain positions in the territory. Photo: VINO
According to Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE, the monies given to student as scholarship funds are inadequate in most instances. Photo: VINO
According to Hon Ralph T. O'Neal OBE, the monies given to student as scholarship funds are inadequate in most instances. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - “We've got to be careful with children going abroad to study and have parents who don’t know where their next payment coming from… We have to be very careful and make sure that they are properly attended to,” warned Leader of the Opposition and one of the most senior legislators in the Territory, Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE (R9) as he expressed serious concern for the hardships being faced by local students studying overseas.

Hon O’Neal shared those sentiments during the Virgin Islands Party’s (VIP) radio programme 'Let's Talk' on January 7, 2015 on ZBVI 780 AM on which a number of issues were raised.

The plight of persons studying in the USA and UK in particular is made known many times to this news site, especially during interviews for our weekly “Young Professional” articles. Youths have often indicated that despite being given government scholarships to further their studies overseas they are unable to go through with the scholarship as the funds allotted are way too low compared to the real cost of studying abroad.

In most cases youths are forced to enter the work industry in the hope that they will work and save to eventually accumulate sufficient funds to move on to study but in many cases they report that they only get jobs that do not pay much and as such saving becomes very challenging and time for the utilising of the scholarship expires.

It was at the stage where senior member of the VIP Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) was discussing the issue of getting persons prepared to take up certain positions in the territory when Hon O’Neal interjected to speak of the hardships students studying overseas are faced with.

“I am in full agreement that we must get our people prepared and ready but the education for our students who go abroad is very expensive,” said Hon O’Neal.

He recalled many years ago when he had made a trip to England where he had met with students from the Virgin Islands (VI). It was then he had found out that the law and medical courses were very expensive.

“And as a result I had to agree that these children need additional help to go through college. And it was the same thing that was happening in the United States,” said Hon O’Neal.

He pondered to know if persons in authority have been getting letters from students abroad asking for financial help, despite the fact that they are on scholarship, to pay for their tutoring as they also have to pay for boarding, lodging and other things, which Hon O’Neal said is very expensive.

“Somewhere we should look into it because the children may go to some other place that you don’t know about and may not be getting the best quality [education] and therefore their education may not be right up to date. It needs looking into very carefully.”

He said there was a time when Canada had given the VI some scholarships and the VI government had gone to the extent of sending an officer on the ground to ensure persons on the scholarship were getting the best possible treatment.

Speaking in a national address in November 2014, Chairman of the Virgin Islands Party (VIP) Honourable Julian Fraser RA (R3) said young people are facing a future of hardship "but the NDP continues to tell us the economy is booming, with resorts, hotels, and marinas, laying off scores of people each month, even as trust companies downsize and relocate."

"The economy is not booming, when you visit places like the Stickett in Long Look, Scatliffe Alley in Road Town, parts of Purcell, Little Apple Bay, Baugher's Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Huntums Gut, Bell View and Parham Town. For what will you discover? You will witness too many of our young people, without jobs or proper education, sitting around all day in hopeless despair," he had said.

Hon Fraser called it very painful to him and said it is a social tragedy.

"Add to this the fact, that too many of our youth leave colleges and universities each year and return home with no career prospects," Hon Fraser had said.

13 Responses to “Hon Ralph T. O’Neal wants more ‘help’ for students studying abroad”

  • Vote VIP (21/01/2015, 09:17) Like (12) Dislike (6) Reply
    Yes people, vote Fraser and VIP. Fraser will lower all taxes, give out more contracts, help the poor, pay medical bills, give out land, help with building houses. Yes people you heard it right! We will cut taxes, fees, we will cut the revenue from the Government but we will still pay out more money than NDP is doing now. Isn't that great? Isn't that wonderful? VOTE VIP ALL THE WAY!
  • @ Vote VIP (21/01/2015, 09:44) Like (5) Dislike (5) Reply
    You have zero understanding of economics- Fraser will do all those things yes- and it will generate growth in the economy- that is the real way to obtain government revenues- not by NDP PONZI Schemes- if you want to see the result of FRASERNOMICS- go pay a visit to a guy named BARACK OBAMA-
  • ooooo (21/01/2015, 09:57) Like (22) Dislike (2) Reply
    solution....get rid of myron and the NDP
  • Well (21/01/2015, 10:24) Like (17) Dislike (5) Reply
    No offense, but the government cant be all things to all people, If you know that the government is offering a scholarship for a certain amount it is your responsibility to secure the balance if it is not enough.
    • @ Well (21/01/2015, 12:04) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
      how all of a suddent the NDP know this now eh?
    • hush- u to ignorant (21/01/2015, 16:05) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
      you don't kno if these students that get scholarships have parents some have only one parent. they would be attending college in the bvi first before heading off. HOW IN THE WORLD WOULD THEY SAFE ENOUGH MONEY FOR ALL OF THESE EXPENSES!!! HUSH AND SIMMER U SELF. many people are struggling in the BVI to make their children have a better living.
  • teach john (21/01/2015, 12:29) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Let this be an issue of justice rather than an issue of politics, where the intellectual class see this as an avenue for top jobs for their children when they return from college
  • student (21/01/2015, 16:01) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    it is true about the students going away for school with not enough money. some can not eat and some do not know how they are going to pay for housing. rent in the uk is almost $2000.00 in some places. at the university flats. that's why many would go away for one term and return because they cant pay to survive overseas.. at least the government should cover for housing. someplace to live is every important. and this discourage other from going away to study because they have seen their friends struggle.
  • equinox (21/01/2015, 19:19) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    fellow bvilanders let us put aside our petty differences to do what is right for our country. Our people are suffering between the constant power outages, the constant water cut offs, the high prices for rent and food, the raised rates for public services like passports and departure taxes i ask what has ndp done to deserve to stay in power. In my opinion nothing the one question we should ask ourselves is are we better off than 4 years ago and in my opinion the answer is no it is much worse. They had an opportunity to fix many of the problems the old regime neglected and they either ignored them to pursue flashy big budget projects that do little to improve the everyday lives of the ordinary people or failed to live up to their promises, the bvi needs a change of leadership to whom I don't know but anything would be better than what we have now, don't just vote party vote for people who will make a difference even if it means a split party government maybe then we can finally get the things done that we need not the things that look good.
  • Mom of a student (22/01/2015, 17:06) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    I must say, as much as I am thankful for the scholarship assistance, it is definitely not enough to cover tuition, books, housing, food and other basic needs of a student. I have a child on the scholarship program, and I have to dig in my pockets to get at least 50% of the funds to cover her expenses. So what's the point of her excelling in school to obtain a scholarship, if at the end of the day I am contributing just as much as the Government to fund her education, and upon her completion she has to come back and be committed to Government for at least 5 years? I would really like to see Government re-evaluate the cost of studying abroad and increase the scholarship fund. It may not benefit my child, but other kids and parents will appreciate the increased help.
    • WTF (22/01/2015, 17:54) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      If you get 50% assistance you don't think that is a great help? She is your child and you don't think you have any responsibility at all for her education? The government scholarship programme is abused, people who can afford to pay line up to get full scholarship for their children, and don't want to contribute a penny. Bunch of Parasites.
  • WTF (22/01/2015, 17:48) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    There are parents of students studying abroad, who can afford but will not even offer to buy their children books. Even though some parents have high paying jobs, the column on the scholarship application that ask for salary information, they leave it blank . When asked how much they can contribute, the answer is NONE. The officer to no avail can get the salary information to complete the application, but the application is approved with out it. You know why? Because of who you are, Who you know and plain ole POLITICS. People here believes that government is totally responsible to pay for everything they need in life. Pathetic.

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