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By Solomon Charles Kelly

On Thursday, scholarships for two graduates to attend their preferred institution of higher learning were given to them. The scholarships are the result of an alliance between the Medical University of the Americas (MUA) and the Nevis Island Administration (NIA). The two proud recipients are Miss Shanai Liburd and Miss Racquela Burke.

Ms. Shelisa Martin-Clarke, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, presided over the ceremony, and Jahnel Nesbitt, the Minister for Gender Affairs, gave the graduates their awards.

“It is a pleasure and honour to be here today to celebrate our MUA scholarship recipients. Congratulations to both of you, it was a competitive process of many qualified individuals, but you both emerged as the top of the group. This is something good because it gives you the opportunity to be able to come back, and I will emphasize that, to return to Nevis and contribute to the development of our beloved community. This is a Public Private partnership, and it’s geared towards helping to uplift both the individual and the island of Nevis. We would have seen a number of priority areas, particularly in relation to health. 

“Nutrition and dietetics, as well as counseling, are very important priority areas where we are shortstaffed at the moment. I want to wish you the best and encourage you to, when you get out there, put your best foot forward; Embrace the environment and the academic, professional, and social opportunities while   there. Build networks, gather skills, and return to Nevis to contribute even more to the Nevisian public. Congratulations once again.”

Burke expressed her sincere gratitude to everyone who contributed to the process in accepting her award. 

“I want to thank the NIA along with the MUA for their partnership in allowing us to attain a higher level of education, free of cost. That is something that we are truly grateful for, especially in these times. I look forward to coming back and contributing to Nevis to make it better, and I want to thank everyone who had a part to play in bringing me to this point.”

Burke will be pursuing a degree in counselling at the Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica.

After receiving her award, Shanai Liburd spoke with The Observer while still grinning widely in shock at the entire situation. 

“To me, winning this scholarship means a tremendous amount and I am super grateful to be a recipient; I know that it will be a step towards achieving my goals. If I hadn’t won the scholarship I would be looking towards obtaining a student loan, and now, thankfully, I don’t have to do that. After studying I plan to return home and contribute to my island; I’m interested in pursuing clinical nutrition at the hospital. I found out about the scholarship through social media and past recipients promoting the ceremony and award, so to anyone else looking at pursuing a path into higher education, I say go for it. If you’re passionate about it, and you’re passionate about educating others then don’t let anything hold you back. It was hard, but when I doubted that I’d make it, I trusted God and that’s what got me through. I’d like to remind people to have that same trust and don’t be afraid to follow your dreams!”

Every year, the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) and the Medical University of the Americas (MUA) work together to provide a once-in-a-lifetime academic opportunity to a select group of candidates. Two graduates who meet the strict requirements are given full scholarships worth up to $22,500, and they can be sure that they will have four years of study without worrying about money. The lengthy application process necessitates the submission of ten distinct documents, including references, an acceptance letter, a criminal history check, and a 1,000 word essay on the applicant’s future objectives.

There are, of course, conditions that must be agreed to beforehand upon the successful production of those documents.The scholarship recipients must attend either the University of the West Indies, the MUA, or another four-year institution with a US campus in order to keep their awards, and they must maintain a 3.0 GPA.

The recipients must maintain a 3.0 grade point average in order to retain their scholarship, and they must study at either the University of the West Indies, the MUA, or another four year long USA-based institution.

They must consent to a service commitment to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis for a period of up to five years, and they must agree to return to the Federation within a year of finishing their field of study. The scholarship agreement between the MUA and the NIA was established in 1998, and the formal process and disbursement began in 2011 after the formation of committee.

 The committee is made up of representatives from the health, education, human resources, and private sectors. Since then, 5 men and 17 women have received the award out of the 22 (currently 24) recipients.Five men and 17 women have since received the award, making a total of 22 (now 24) recipients. b 








The scholarship acts as an investment into the individual; it provides them with an opportunity for a bright future and asks only that they briefly offer their services to the benefit the whole federation, in return.

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