Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
HE DID not disclose her name, but Karl Samuda, the member of parliament for North Central St Andrew, opened the eyes of parliamentarians to the plight of a scholar in his constituency, who he said risks falling through social cracks if help does not reach her.
"She is 17 years old, she is coming from the community adjacent to Cassava Piece in my constituency, where some of the most humble people live," Samuda said as he told legislators about his poor, yet gifted scholar.
"She went to the Queen's School and she graduated with honours. She got 10 subjects, nine of which were by distinction," he continued.
According to the MP, the young lady secured distinctions in English, mathematics, biology and physics.
"She applied to the University of the West Indies medical school and was admitted. That is were the problem began," Samuda said.
Advancing his case for the state to establish a fund and assist needy Jamaicans who demonstrate academic brilliance, Samuda said he is going to help the teen through medical school, even as he warned of the implications of not helping others in a similar situation.
"If you use that example and assume that she does not get the help and support, let me tell you what will happen," Samuda said as he proceeded to lecture fellow legislators.
"In five years you revisit and she will probably have three children, two of the babyfathers have been shot and killed. She has no job and the children are suffering, themselves now to become wards of the State, all because there is no provision to support the most gifted of our children," the MP said.
Samuda, who had risen to contribute to the debate on the Parenting Commission Support Act, ended his intervention amid a chorus of crosstalk from the government benches.
However, that was not before telling the House that money being spent on crash work could have been better spent educating persons like his 17-year-old.
"Instead of being preoccupied with providing work to clean drains and to bush embankments and open lots and to do all the routine maintenance that costs hundreds of millions of dollars ... the greatest infrastructure this country has is its human resources, and I have often said that what we need to do is to set aside funding for the most gifted among our children who can't get the opportunity to maximise their potential," Samuda said.