While the attorney of a former scholarship winner, who was ordered to repay tuition fees to the government, yesterday chose to stay silent on the issue, the State's attorney says the former scholar knew fully well what he was doing when he accepted the money.
The local courts ordered Dr Ryan Wellington to repay over $3M in tuition fees and interest accrued to the State. This after he refused to return home and work for the stipulated five year period for the government, after completing medical studies in Dublin, Ireland. Dr Wellington, who now lives and works in Australia, cannot be reached by the State.
Wellington's attorney Ravi Heffes-Doon yesterday said, "I don't think I can give a comment at this time." State counsel Lesley-Ann Lucky-Samaroo, also contacted for comment, said Dr Wellington's board and school fees amounted to $1.7 million while the balance was interest accumulated after he failed to return home and work for the Government.
He took it as a grant as opposed to a loan, she said. The fund was supposed to be a revolving one and if people don't come back, the Government would not have gotten any benefit from having invested tax payers' funds towards a person's education.
"Wellington's sister was a scholar so he well knew what he was doing when he took the money from Government in 2004. The Government not only gave him tuition fees but they also gave him a monthly stipend for living in Dublin, none of which he has repaid," Lucky-Samaroo said.
She added that the State has had no luck in reaching Dr Wellington in Australia and will seek assistance from the Australian High Commission to contact him and/or his employers.