You are bonded
IF you have received a scholarship to complete career training, you might have been bonded to work in the island for a number of years.
The bonding policy of the Government of Jamaica applies to those who have received assistance through the Government for training to pursue undergraduate, postgraduate or other training, whether local or overseas.
As outlined on the scholarship information page of the Ministry of Finance website,
, such person will sign agreements which oblige them to give service on completion of the award.
This loan is to be discharged through the serving of a bond. The amount for which the borrower will be bonded covers the actual cost of the training to Government.
Persons will be bonded to work in the civil service in particular, public bodies in general or to accept employment elsewhere in Jamaica as specified in the particular letter of award.
Once an individual who receives an award begins the course of training, the cost of the training is regarded as a loan and the individual as a borrower.
The bond is an agreement for service and persons who fail to comply will be deemed to have forfeited the agreement and are required to repay amounts in full or in part with interest as applicable.
The interest rate on defaulted agreements will be calculated annually and applied to the balance at simple interest. Failure to serve can also result in legal action to recover costs.
The determining factor for the period of service will be the cost of the training and the terms outlined in in sections 5.2 to 5.8 of the GOJ's bonding policy (see website).
For loan amounts below $300,000, there is no bond. But, for $300,000 to $499,999, two years of service are required; and for $500,000 to $999,999, the requirement will be three years' service.
For scholarships costing between $1 million and $2 million, four years of service are required. For awards totalling $2 million and over, five years of service will be required.
The good news for scholarship applicants is that internship and job-related training are regarded as service under the bond.
This period of service, however, is to be credited only if the officer serves an additional period of not less than one year after the internship/training period.
Individuals who resume duties in the summer, while on the course of training will have these periods credited as service towards the bond.
Borrowers whose obligation is to serve in the country are required to advise the relevant government entity of their place of employment. Should the borrower change jobs during the period of the bond, the relevant government entity must also be advised of the change.
The bond policy notes that where a borrower intends to remain overseas or marries an individual who is obligated to serve in a country other than Jamaica, the borrower has an obligation to inform the Government of Jamaica and will also be required to repay any moneys expended.
Interest rate on loans will be calculated on the average commercial lending rate at the time of signing the loan agreement at simple interest.
Interest rates applicable to loans in foreign currency should be at the prevailing US$ lending rate in Jamaica at the time of signing the loan agreement.
The loan will have been deemed to be discharged when the borrower completes the period of obligatory service, or completes repayment of a forfeited agreement, if the borrower dies, or if the borrower is terminated on the basis of reorganisation or redundancy.