Two government Ministers on Wednesday claimed ignorance when asked about plans by the government to bar persons with outstanding student debts from leaving the country until they make the necessary arrangements to have the monies repaid.
Citizenship Minister Winston Felix and Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge claimed that they were unaware that those discussions were taking place within the government or that there were any plans to that effect.
Only last week, Finance Minister Winston Jordan said that those discussions had taken place at Cabinet where both Felix and Greenidge sit as members.
Jordan had said that while no decision had been taken to have the passport of debtors stamped, an agreement was reached on placing the information regarding students with outstanding debts at ports of entry and exit to ensure compliance with repayment.
“I have heard that very statement, I have read it in the papers but in terms of execution that statement has not reached me. So I am waiting to see what the Minister really intends when he says so,” Felix said.
Felix was at the time responding to questions within the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Relations.
Jordan’s exact words were “while the Cabinet did not agree or had a proposal put about stamping passports, all information on recalcitrant borrowers will eventually be put at all immigration points and we will set up a desk at the same time for those who would be stopped from travelling to make the necessary arrangement for payment of the loan or debt prior to departure.”
Minister Greenidge also said that he was unaware of such discussions. “I am not aware that Cabinet took any decision of banning anyone… but if that is the case none of the Ministers here were responsible for making that statement,” he added.
Chairperson of the Committee and Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira asked that the government correct those statements if it was a misrepresentation.
She said it had created confusion and fear among current and past students of the University of Guyana with outstanding debt.