Nepalese students who are here awaiting the outcome of a protracted court case against men whom they say lured them here with false promises of an education and jobs in the United States, are appealing to new Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, to intervene so that they can get justice.
One of the students, Bikash Bhurtel, who told the Times that he was speaking on behalf of the others, congratulated Chastanet on his win.
Bhurtel recalled that before becoming Prime Minister, Chastanet had visited the students when they were housed at the Pastoral Centre at Marisule, to hear their concerns.
He told the Times that most of the Nepalese students have now returned home.
Bhurtel disclosed that about twenty of them are now living at the Hillside Plaza guest house in La Clary.
He said the Nepalese students hope that Chastanet will help them get justice.
Bhurtel himself revealed that he has been in Saint Lucia for more than a year.
The Nepalese national said that these days, he and the other students are in the dark about the case in which the CEO of Lambirds Academy, Iftekar Shams and others are before the courts in relation to charges that they lured the Nepalese students here with false promises.
The students claim that after each paying huge sums of money which they had borrowed from persons back home to come here to get Hospitality Study degrees, they realized that Lambirds Academy, which boasted a campus in the North of Saint Lucia, had ripped them off.
Bhurtel told the Times that officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and the police used to visit the remaining Nepalese students to update them on the progress of the case.
“These days we have not seen them so we don’t really know what is going on,” he lamented.
Bhurtel observed that the government gives food and accommodation to the students.
However he explained that it is not all for a set of young people who think it is time for them to do something for themselves and their families.
“We cannot go back without anything because we borrowed a lot of money,” he stated.
Bhurtel said the remaining students do not have their passports or visas.
He explained that the Nepalese students had visas of one year’s duration, which have now expired.
According to him, the authorities have all the passports in their possession.
The Nepalese national said the students are not allowed to work.
“Being honest some are working but where we work 11 -12 hours, we are getting paid twenty-five to thirty dollars per day,” he said.
He asserted that although the students had asked officials of the former administration to allow them to work and assurances were given, no documentation was ever received.
“They just said you can work here, but when we used to go and look for work people said you don’t have a work permit and it would be a risk to hire us,” Bhurtel said.
The Nepalese students want back the money they paid Lambirds Academy.