Government defends AUA (American University of Antigua College of Medicine) from bad press. That was the top story on Caribarena.com on Thursday.
The article was, essentially, a press release from government that took issue with what it called “an unauthored and misleading article” in the March 2 edition of this newspaper.
In that story, the newspaper noted that doctors, including people resident here, who graduate from AUA are not licensed to practice here because AUA is not accredited by the National Accreditation Board of Antigua & Barbuda (NABAB).
An impeccable source close to the NABAB, who requested anonymity for fear of the very same backlash which has materialised, said a charter purportedly issued in 2003 is “questionable.”
We are reliably informed that the story set off a flurry of phone calls, the nature of which readers can imagine. These prompted the chief servant to declare that AUA is too important to Antigua & Barbuda for anything, including the facts, to sully the relationship.
Next thing we knew, a press release was generated, claiming that the charter given to AUA in 2003 is, in fact, in order; that the AUA School of Nursing is also accredited; and the other schools, the School of Medicine and the Veterinary School, are currently being processed.
The press statement went on to state that “the government of Antigua & Barbuda stands by the American University of Antigua, which is registered and licensed by the State of New York.”
And, in a curious twist, Executive Director of NABAB Glenford Joseph essentially sidelined his board, stating that AUA was in operation five years before NABAB came into being.
Now, anybody who needs bifocals to read between the lines is not interested in the truth.
The truth is that we stand by our article. Our well-placed sources cannot openly, for fear of backlash, tell us that the process is under way in earnest. The truth is that Antiguan-born doctors who attend other reputable and accredited offshore schools, not just AUA, have not been licensed by the authorities in Antigua & Barbuda.
We have no aught with AUA, and anyone who inferred that from the article could pick their category: doltish, mischievous or conniving.
The red herring across the trail won’t stop us from asking if AUA’s import to the country makes it the only offshore school that is accredited by the local authorities.
We wonder about the students who study at other offshore schools, even the ones in the region which, like AUA, are registered and licensed by the State of New York.
If the OBSERVER story served to put a fire in somebody’s tail to do the right thing, then the story served its purpose.
Anyone who has been following developments have heard of the seemingly insurmountable hurdles people who attend offshore schools are facing with regards to getting licensed in Antigua & Barbuda.
And the authorities should know that their efforts are best spent walking the talk instead of just talking, twisting and spinning the truth.
Not surprising to us, following the publication of the government-issued press release, members of the Antigua & Barbuda Nursing Council (ABNC) raised concern about the veracity of the official communiqué.
In the end, their press release simply said, “The Council would like to air its utter disgust with ABNAB for totally ignoring the professional body that is responsible for regulating nursing as well as the nursing profession as a discipline, by not involving it in the registration process, especially as it related to the training of nursing.
“The Council believes that ABNAB has violated its own regulation which stipulates that the board will consult with various professional disciplines in decision-making, and the Council is therefore perturbed about this development.”
Now, we know that some people like to spin, and some will, of necessity spin this. But sober heads interested in truth will bear in mind that one plus one plus one equals three, not accreditation.
And in this sum, the OBSERVER story came first, followed by the government press release; then the ABNC had their say.
For those having problems with the math, we refer them to Thursday’s editorial, Of boards and party supporters. They will find helpful side work there.
In that editorial we noted that board members serve at the pleasure of the administration, and if the administration says red is blue, who is a party faithful to say otherwise.
As for Caribareana.com, they proved that they were about as interested in the truth as Satan.
When our new media producer tried to post our story and response to their site, they failed, up to this day, to approve or publish her comments.