September 23, 2005
A dream come true

by Dr. Franklyn James

I always dreamt of being a medical doctor as a child growing up, but knew it was always going to be difficult for me to realize my dream. The availability of scholarships in the area of medicine was limited, the competition for these scholarships was intense and my parents did not have the resources to put me through medical school. {{more}}

Since the 1979 elections I had become attracted to the politics of the United People’s Movement. I became closely associated with the party in the 1980`s. And in 1985, with the help of persons like Renwick Rose; Adrian Saunders and Arthur Bobb, I obtained a scholarship to study medicine in the Republic of Cuba.

It was not always smooth sailing, but I always remembered my father’s saying: “Nothing good comes easy”. Studying in the Spanish language was always going to be a challenge, but I soon found out that a lot of scientific terms in both English and Spanish were similar.

Studying in the Republic of Cuba brought me face to face with persons from all continents. Living among and interacting with persons of diverse cultures was a tremendous learning experience for me. I learned to be tolerant, even of the most repugnant and obnoxious of characters. Learning Spanish opened up a whole new sphere of interaction for me. The significance of which is being borne out by our ever-increasing relations with our Latin American neighbours.

Some may find this strange, but the most significant part of my studies in Cuba was my exposure to political philosophy and political economy. This has given me a more profound and broader understanding of the world around us, and of the dynamics and dialectics of the relations between man/woman and his/her environment. I also learned that one need not possess a lot to give much.

Cuba, with the little it possesses, has been able to give much and continues to give to its third world colleagues.

Cuba has been and still is one of the major players in the practice of Third World solidarity. It is remarkable how Cuba, with all it problems can still give so selflessly to others.

It has shown us that a lot of persons only need the right opportunities in order to excel.

One important issue about the SVG-Cuban Scholarship Programme, is that a large number of scholarships are offered in areas that are critical to the development of our country. The opportunities offered in areas such as dentistry, medicine, engineering, veterinary medicine, architecture, computer science, and information technology have enabled us to fill a significant void in the intellectual landscape of SVG.

It is important that we applaud the initiative taken by persons like Renwick Rose, Ralph Gonsalves, Adrian Saunders and others in seeking educational opportunities in Cuba for young Vincentians.